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How to Establish a Safety Program for Your Business

Engineer team employee plan meeting. Plant staff worker safety technician group planning process discussion with white board present workflow.

Every business owner is responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. To achieve this, every business should implement a safety program that helps them identify, correct, and prevent safety problems. An effective safety program will help the company reduce the frequency and severity of on–the–job injuries and illnesses.

Safety programs have seven basic parts:

  1. A Safety Manual
    Your company’s safety manual should be specific to your operations and industry. It should contain relevant safety procedures, be easy to maintain and organize, and be accessible to all your employees.

  2. A Corporate Policy Statement
    This statement, issued by a senior leader, should emphasize the high priority of safety in the business’s objectives. Keep it on record in your business’s safety manual, and communicate it to employees through memos, announcements, and signs.

  3. Safety Rules and Regulations
    Assemble and publish the safety rules and applicable federal/state regulations to carry out a task. Through these rules, specify expectations for how to behave when facing a hazard. Encourage employee input and involvement in developing new rules, through an employee safety committee. Enforce the safety rules with fair and consistent discipline.
    Additional Reading: 5 Keys to a Successful Healthcare Workplace Safety Program 

  4. Safety Records
    Keep incident reports and all records relating to the safety program in one secure location. Records should include training activity, safety inspections, permits, personal protection equipment, Safety Data Sheets, and regulatory paperwork such as OSHA logs and accident reports. Employee medical records and personally identifiable information should be kept in a separate location that is not easily accessible.

  5. An Employee Safety Committee
    A safety committee supports the company’s general safety policy by performing facility inspections, strategizing methods to correct unsafe conditions, and communicating with members of the organization. Appoint a chairperson who leads the committee, hold monthly meetings, record and publish meeting minutes, and involve employees in the committee.
    Additional Reading: Checklist for Establishing Safety Committees for Higher Education Administration 

  6. Safety Communications
    Improve your employees’ safety awareness by involving them in the loss prevention process. For example, maintain a safety–focused bulletin board, send a safety newsletter out, and encourage committee members to discuss safety issues with other employees. Invite workers to submit health–related concerns to management and the safety committee.

  7. Safety Meetings
    Increase involvement in safety issues by having supervisors meet with their direct reports on the topic of health and safety matters. These meetings can revolve around the safety committee’s meeting report, monthly safety themes, or training videos. The supervisor can then advocate for their team by bringing employees’ safety concerns to the committee.

These basic elements of a safety program feed into a culture of safety, where supervisors and employees are eager to participate in safety training and everyone treats safety as a core job responsibility.

For additional information about developing a safety program, see OSHA’s Small Business Safety and Health Handbook.

NJM Insurance Group is a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid–Atlantic region dedicated to workplace safety and loss prevention. NJM Business Insurance policyholders can access a library of loss prevention resources, including a complete Safety Program Guide. For more information on NJM’s business insurance products, contact your agent or call 1–800–232–6600.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.