August 2, 2021
Creating the right safety program for your company
Workplace safety is an important issue for every business. In 2019, there were 608 workplace fatalities in Texas, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. Accidents and illnesses lead to higher costs, lower productivity and reduced job satisfaction. But by learning how to create an effective safety program, companies can minimize accident-related costs and get their employees home safe every day.
As the state’s number one workers’ comp provider, Texas Mutual Insurance Company knows the importance of having a safety program that fits the way you work. The following information is a guide to understanding, planning and creating a custom safety program that protects your employees and your business.
What is a safety plan?
A safety plan is a written document detailing your company’s safety policies and procedures. The plan should include a description of potential hazards, list any training required for specific job tasks, explain the procedure for addressing questions or concerns, and specify your company’s enforcement policies.
What is a safety program?
A safety program provides training, resources and proactive strategies that create a safer workplace and help employees avoid injuries. The program puts into action policies and procedures recommended in your safety plan and provides an ongoing system of evaluation and enforcement.
What is a safety policy?
A safety policy is a statement reflecting your company’s commitment to maintaining a safe work environment and protecting your team. Your safety policy sets the tone for your safety program, asserts your goals and creates an expectation of responsibility and accountability for a safe workplace.
4 Steps to Creating a Safety Program
Step 1: Develop a Safety Plan
The first step is to develop your written safety plan. Begin by touring your facility and performing a critical evaluation — identify risks, assess your need for safety equipment and catalog all job tasks within your organization. You should also research any previous accidents at your company and look for patterns. Remember, this is your safety plan so it should be customized to meet the unique needs of your operation. If you’re unfamiliar with safety planning, consider bringing in a safety consultant or hiring an outside firm to evaluate your workplace and make recommendations. Additional actions to ensure the success of your safety program include:
- Getting input on safety measures from your management team.
- Surveying employees about safety concerns and areas of need.
- Creating and issuing a safety policy statement explaining your company’s commitment to protecting workers.
- Choosing a safety manager with the authority to implement your plan and enforce your policies.
Your final plan is the foundation of your safety program providing guidelines for your employees and a checklist of actions your company should take to create a safer workplace.
Step 2: Launch Your Safety Program
Now that you have a documented plan, you can begin implementing your safety program. In this stage, you’ll purchase necessary safety equipment, make any needed upgrades to your facility and implement safety training. Since your employees will gauge the company’s commitment to the program based on the behavior of managers and supervisors, it’s important that your management team buys into the program from the very start. Get them involved. Managers should wear required safety equipment, comply with policies specified in your plan and be capable of explaining safety procedures to workers. Be clear about your goals and make sure your employees are fully informed about company safety policies. To raise awareness throughout your facility, you should:
- Provide employees with a copy of your safety policies and procedures.
- Hold an employee meeting introducing your safety manager and explaining your expectations.
- Announce the launch of your safety program through your company’s newsletter, intranet or internal messaging system.
- Display signs and awareness materials reminding employees of proper procedures and emphasizing your commitment to safety.
Step 3: Train Your Personnel
No matter what kind of work your company does, a robust employee training program is essential to preventing accidents. Your training program should be comprehensive, covering every aspect of your operation. All company personnel should be involved — including managers, office staff, machine operators, laborers and drivers — and training should be directly related to the different types of work being performed. Train your managers and supervisors first to ensure that employees are performing tasks correctly. Most importantly, make safety training an ongoing part of your operation, not something only provided to new hires. Safety techniques and technologies are constantly changing and regular training not only keeps safety top of mind, but helps ensure your workers are up-to-date. To maximize the effectiveness of your program, you should:
- Teach workers to develop a prevention-first mindset.
- Provide training on health protocols and virus prevention strategies.
- Utilize proven training resources.
- Ensure training is understandable and in a language suited to your workforce.
Step 4: Analyze your program.
Implementing your safety program is part of the solution, but there’s more to do. Equally important is your commitment to evaluating and analyzing your results. Check your data — are you reducing accidents? Are your employees following the safety procedures? Are there hazards you still need to address? By investigating, inspecting and getting feedback from your workers, you’ll be able to adapt training and procedures to better meet the needs of your company. To make sure your safety program is as effective as possible, you should:
- Keep complete and accurate records.
- Conduct regular inspections.
- Seek out input from employees and supervisors on a regular basis.
- Investigate all complaints or reported problems.
At Texas Mutual, we’re committed to helping policyholders build strong, safe businesses and establish a productive safety culture in the workplace. Our safety group members receive customized safety resources, and our safety services professionals can help you customize a safety program to your unique needs. Policyholders have year-round access to a wide range of training materials, including Toolbox Talks, a monthly guide featuring sharable information that can be covered in your regular employee safety meeting.
Helping companies create stronger safety programs is just one of the many ways Texas Mutual is changing the way workers’ comp works for you. To learn more about workers’ comp and find additional safety resources available to our policyholders, visit our workers’ comp basics page.