Injury prevention basics: Identify, control hazards
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a fact sheet that outlines the basics of an injury and illness prevention program. According to OSHA, the major elements of an effective program include:
- Establish clear safety and health goals for the program and define the actions needed to achieve those goals.
- Designate one or more individuals with overall responsibility for implementing and maintaining the program.
- Provide sufficient resources to ensure effective program implementation.
- Consult with workers in developing and implementing the program and involve them in updating and evaluating the program.
- Include workers in workplace inspections and incident investigations.
- Encourage workers to report concerns, such as hazards, injuries, illnesses and near misses.
- Protect the rights of workers who participate in the program.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
- Identify, assess and document workplace hazards by soliciting input from workers, inspecting the workplace and reviewing available information on hazards.
- Investigate injuries and illnesses to identify hazards that may have caused them.
- Inform workers of the hazards in the workplace.
Hazard Prevention and Control
- Establish and implement a plan to prioritize and control hazards identified in the workplace.
- Provide interim controls to protect workers from any hazards that cannot be controlled immediately.
- Verify that all control measures are implemented and are effective.
- Discuss the hazard control plan with affected workers.
Education and Training
• Provide education and training to workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand to ensure that they know:
− Procedures for reporting injuries, illnesses and safety and health concerns.
− How to recognize hazards.
− Ways to eliminate, control or reduce hazards.
− Elements of the program.
− How to participate in the program.
• Conduct refresher education and training programs periodically.
Program Evaluation and Improvement
- Conduct a periodic review of the program to determine if it has been implemented as designed and is making progress towards achieving its goals.
- Modify the program, as necessary, to correct deficiencies.
- Continuously look for ways to improve the program.
[Editor’s note: Information on Injury and Illness Prevention Programs is available at www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/.]