Issue 112 - June 2021
Employee Participation in Safety – Improving Results
Active employee participation is critical to the success of a safety program. Enhancing employee participation in safety at all levels of an organization is considered a best practice by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, OSHA reports that high worker participation in safety helps to improve morale, lower absenteeism, and increase productivity while at the same time reducing injury risks. Further, this effort can increase employee acceptance of future changes in workplace safety and health policies. From this, we can clearly see the importance of actively involving all levels of your agency in ongoing safety efforts, including training, program development, job hazard analysis, compliance requirements, and safety committee participation.
California JPIA members can strive toward high worker participation in their safety program by implementing the communication strategies outlined in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The following table illustrates important aspects of your agency’s IIPP, and connects them to the activity designed to achieve high employee participation:
|Safety Program Activity||Enhancing Employee Participation|
|Safety Program Development||Safety policies are developed and managed by a team that includes employees. Recurring reviews involve employees.|
|Incident Reporting||Employees know reporting procedures and are comfortable reporting concerns to the agency’s management.|
|Hazard Identification||Management gets information regarding employee safety directly from employees. Methods include anonymous reporting, comment boxes, discussion groups, and employee-driven inspections.|
|Hazard Correction||Employees are allowed to help find solutions to safety issues. Management ensures that suggestions are presented to the workforce for additional input.|
|Communication & Collaboration||Training opportunities, safety committees with employee participation, employees assist in developing safety metrics.|
|Other||Employees are given the time and resources needed to participate.|
When implementing safety program initiatives, the California JPIA encourages its members to utilize strategies that enhance the involvement of employees from throughout the organization. While leadership sets the tone and expectations for safety performance, field-level employees are often the first to know about existing hazards or challenges to safety in their daily work activities. As a result, they can provide valuable insight and unique perspectives that frequently result in more effective loss mitigation strategies. Bridging this potential gap and enhancing participation in safety program activities can benefit both employees and the employer. For assistance in developing your agency’s safety program, please contact your regional Risk Manager.
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