A guest blog by Rob Lint, Health and Safety Coordinator at Chem Link, a SOPREMA Group Company
When I read safety blogs and articles the most common thing companies talk about is how safety is their number one priority. If you think about it, shouldn’t we strive for something stronger than just a priority? The problem with priorities is that at some point they change, what is your top priority now, may not be tomorrow. To view safety as the number one priority sounds ok, until something else comes along that requires your attention. Safety programs should be built into your founding concepts and should be seen as a way of life, not just a priority. I would like to share the secret to building a strong and effective safety program. This method could be applied to any process improvement or program your company may be working on.
Documentation, documentation, documentation! This is what you hear from all speakers at safety trainings and conferences. Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “Why documentation?” This is because documentation is the foundation to a strong and effective safety program. I am going to share with you, the three types of documentation needed to build any program. This method starts with a simple triangle.
Make a triangle with your hand. Your triangle is supported by three sides that enclose the foundation and link the legs together. The center of the triangle is labeled Documentation. Look at your left finger. This leg of the triangle is identified as “The Assessment.” The Assessment engages employees to be involved and uses everyone’s input to asses any safety concerns you have in the company. This leg, will allow you to develop and document a calibrated plan. Your right finger is labeled as “The Written Plan.” You are able to pull the documentation from The Assessment to build your safety program. Look down to your thumbs. This final leg of the triangle is known as “Training.” This is an important leg in the triangle. Training will hold employees accountable and engages them to help improve the program.
If you haven’t already, please put your hand down. It is time to see how strong and effective this program is. Wait a week or two then apply the triangle again.
- Step 1: The Assessment, how effective was the training? Interact with your employees and document the pros and cons of the initial plan implementation.
- Step 2: The Written Plan make any required adjustments and document any changes made.
- Step 3: Train or retrain your employees and document the records. The final key step to a strong and effective safety program is to apply the triangle annually.
Application of the triangle may be necessary more frequently, especially after the initial launch. This will help you identify any deficiencies or deviations within your program. It is important to document everything and keep your employees engaged. You will find they are going to be your best resource.