This guide provides recommendations and links to safety management tools. It's intended to assist you with making safety and claims management improvements identified in the Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26). So, we've organized it using the same 10 categories as the SH-26. At the end of the guide, you'll also find links to other resources available through our Division of Safety & Hygiene. Although the information and resources provided are rather extensive, this guide is not meant to be all-inclusive. So, do not limit yourself to those resources listed. Also, be advised that implementation of any of the tools and resources does not guarantee compliance with federal and state regulations.
A. Management commitment: The level of commitment management demonstrates to the safety and health process; the systems that control the safety culture; safety policy and procedures; and active management participation
• Develop and communicate a written management policy that establishes clear priority for safety and health. This will ensure all personnel understand the importance of safety and health protection in relation to other organizational values such as production, quality and customer service.
• Provide active and visible top management leadership in the planning and evaluation of safety and health performance. Management must create an environment that ensures it provides all workers with high quality safety and health protection. Management must lead by example so that all employees understand that management's commitment is serious.
• Establish and communicate safety and health goals and supporting objectives. Clearly understood goals for the safety and health program, and objectives for meeting those goals will help all members of the organization understand the desired outcomes and the measures planned for achieving them. Goals should be clear, measurable and achievable within a specified time period. Include both results-oriented and activity-oriented goals.
• Establish an action plan designed to accomplish the organization's safety and health objectives. The action plan should list all safety and health actions you want to accomplish over the planning period. It should have assigned responsibilities and target completion dates. Communicating and/or posting the action plan will foster greater understanding and buy-in from all employees.
• Conduct an annual audit of the organizational safety- and health-management systems to highlight the accomplishments and identify the system deficiencies needing improvement. The audit also should attempt to identify the underlying reasons for any deficiencies. This gives management and staff the opportunity to discuss these issues. Ideally, the audit will correlate successes and failures over the past year with outcome results. Results could include injuries and illnesses to determine if you should continue, revise or eliminate current safety-management activities. Results also can help managers determine if they should initiate new actions and/or objectives.
B. Accountability: The process used to assign safety and health management responsibilities and to evaluate, recognize and reward performance
• Assign, document and communicate responsibility for all aspects of the safety and health program. This will ensure managers, supervisors and employees in all parts of the organization know who is responsible. Specifying safety and health responsibilities for people at all levels helps everyone to understand their roles and how they fit into the overall process.
• Ensure all individuals with assigned safety and health responsibilities receive the necessary training and possess the knowledge to perform all assigned tasks effectively. It's often necessary to provide managers and supervisors with training on specific safety management skills and techniques for performing assigned tasks in an effective and timely manner. This may require individualized skills assessment and development of an improvement plan.
• Ensure all individuals with assigned safety and health responsibilities have the needed level of authority to fulfill their responsibilities. In particular, it's important to determine if the assigned individual needs to make operational decisions. This may include work stoppage, making purchases or enforcing policies and procedures. This also ensures you provide these individuals with the necessary level of authority.
• Hold managers, supervisors and employees accountable for fulfilling their safety- and health-program responsibilities. Include specific safety and health measures in each individual's performance review.
• Consider developing safety-related recognition/reward systems to show appreciation for accomplishments. Design these systems carefully, so they do not discourage hazard or injury reporting. Properly designed systems also ensure recognition or rewards do not create animosity or become viewed as an entitlement.
Link to sample safety incentive program
C. Employee participation: The extent to which employees participate in and are encouraged to be involved in the safety and health of the workplace
• Create an effective process to solicit input from employees via one-on-one or group discussion, open-door policies and suggestion systems. Include feedback to the employee that you received the message and how you used it.
• Provide opportunities for employees to participate on safety and health committees and teams. Develop specified roles and responsibilities for committees or teams. Focus on specific safety and health needs and activities. It's usually helpful to develop a team charter and have regularly scheduled meetings with an established agenda. Also, follow an action plan format to document activities. Create opportunities and encourage employees to:
o Actively participate in hazard identification, prevention and control activities;
o Safety and health training of co-workers;
o Evaluating safety and health performance.
Employees can become engaged in the safety and health process in a number of ways, which increases their knowledge and skills, and makes them feel more integral to the operations. It also helps to gain their buy-in and support for the decisions you make and the policy issues that affect their safety and health.
• Consider administering an employee survey to gauge the level of knowledge, interest and participation in the safety process. Surveys can help to get a pulse on how well the organization is communicating with employees and supporting the safety process, and where improvements may need to be made.
D. Safety culture: The organizational climate, values, management style and social norms related to safety and health
• Create organizational policies that promote the performance of safety and health responsibilities. Use positive feedback and recognition to motivate performance of assigned tasks and safety and health activities. These can include employee participation, adherence to safety rules and reporting hazards.
• Consider administering an organizational safety-perception survey. A survey of the perceptions of people at all levels in the organization helps to show strengths and weaknesses in the current systems, structures and processes. It also uncovers perception gaps between management, supervisors and employees. The results can aid in the development of an improvement plan.
• Analyze leading indicators such as facility safety inspections to identify trends and develop improvements before injuries occur. Knowing the types of hazards you repeatedly find, or which location hazards are more likely to appear, makes it easier to prioritize corrective actions and prevent accidents.
• Analyze trailing indicators such as workplace injury/illness data and trends to identify common causes and contributing factors. Use the information gathered to identify improvement opportunities and incorporate them into the action plan.
• Review all safety programs, at least annually, to evaluate their success in meeting the goals and objectives. This allows you to identify deficiencies. You can then revise the programs and/or the objectives when they do not meet the goal. Continuous improvement is the key to safety success!
E. Hazard prevention and control: The process to identify and correct unsafe acts and unsafe conditions
• Ensure all OSHA-required programs are in place and that the organization is in compliance with all OSHA-required standards. Keep in mind these are minimum requirements and organizations need to go beyond these to truly achieve a safe and healthy workplace.
• Establish procedures to ensure engineering controls are in place and used where feasible to eliminate and control all current and potential hazards. An engineering control is any change in facilities, equipment, tools or process that eliminates or reduces a hazard. Such changes are usually physical changes involving some level of planning or design.
• Ensure effective safety and health rules, policies and work practices are in place. To be effective, you must document and communicate a rule, policy or practice. In addition, you must make certain that staff clearly understand and that you consistently enforce a rule, policy or practice.
• Make sure you provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure employees maintain and use it. Base the determination of appropriate PPE on the results of a PPE Hazard Assessment as required by OSHA. Use PPE as an interim step until you can implement proper engineering controls or as a last line of defense when engineering controls are not feasible.
• Develop and implement an effective safety-and-health audit process that you perform regularly. Routine safety and health inspections will help identify new, recurring or previously missed hazards and failures in hazard controls. Frequency and particulars of inspections may vary depending on the nature of the operations. They should cover each machine, process and work area on-site. Periodic audits by external safety and health professionals such as BWC safety and health consultants are also recommended to help identify hazards that internal personnel may have overlooked.
• Create and implement an effective hazard-reporting system. Encourage employees to notify management of any unsafe acts, unsafe conditions or other safety concerns or suggestions. Employee insight and experience related to the safety and health hazards in their work areas and tasks can be very valuable. Encourage employees to report those hazards and concerns. Establish formal, informal and anonymous channels to facilitate communication of hazards. Taking their concerns seriously and addressing them promptly without any fear of reprisal will help to encourage employees to use the systems developed for this purpose.
• Implement an effective procedure for documenting hazard correction. Correct as quickly and as practicable identified hazards or safety system deficiencies. For each identified hazard, specify the corrective action to take, the person(s) responsible and the target date to implement the correction. Follow-up should ensure you correct the hazard, you created no new hazards and you document completion.
• Develop effective preventive maintenance systems. Proactive facility and equipment maintenance will help to keep equipment in safe operating condition. This requires establishing maintenance responsibilities, schedules and priorities.
• Develop a system for reviewing all new equipment, materials, and new or modified processes. This will ensure you take into account safety and health considerations. Use a new equipment or process sign-off sheet to document you have thoroughly reviewed and used the new equipment to anticipate and eliminate potential hazards prior to implementation, start-up or use. Train employees on all new equipment or processes, and complete an operator's sign-off sheet.
F. Safety and health training and education: The process of making sure that safety education and training is provided to people at all levels and that skills are assessed to ensure understanding
• Integrate relevant safety and health training into management training. Managers need to appreciate the value of safety and the positive effects that it has on morale, attendance, productivity, employee recruitment and retention. It's also important they have a clear understanding of what they need to do to demonstrate leadership and commitment to employee safety and health.
• Provide supervisors with the knowledge and skills to manage safety and provide effective safety and health training. Supervisors need to understand all of the specific hazards in their area of responsibility and how to avoid them. They also need to have the soft skills to make sure they manage safety effectively. Provide ongoing skills development training to assist supervisors with this tremendous responsibility.
• Identify all safety and health training that you need to provide for people in each job classification, and how, when and by whom the training needs to be conducted. Develop a list of all the relevant safety and health training topics for each position. You can use this list to document when and by whom each employee has received the appropriate training. This can be as simple as a check list kept in the worker's file or an online program that provides reminders of who should receive training and when. Provide relevant safety and health training as part of the employee orientation program. Orientation should cover the organization's:
o Safety and health policy;
o General safety and health rules;
o A description of the various hazards and how to avoid them;
o What to do in the event of an emergency.
Provide re-orientation when an employee changes job duties, if the change involves new hazards, protections or emergency procedures.
• Make sure employees in all job functions receive specific safety and health training. Employees need to understand the hazards to which they may be exposed, and how to recognize and protect themselves and others from exposure to hazards.
• Analyze safety audits, safety observation reports and other hazard identification tools to determine where to provide training. You can use data from facility inspections and other hazard assessment activities to identify areas where employees are likely to encounter hazards. You can then develop training to help employees recognize and avoid these hazards.
• Get employees involved in the identification of safety training needs and in the development and delivery of training. Employees can provide valuable input as to what types of safety and health training that needs emphasized. In addition, they can often provide suggestions on how to best convey the information to their co-workers.
• Conduct a safety training evaluation to make sure employees are meeting the objectives, and that you are soliciting and prioritizing follow-up issues. Safety training sessions are an ideal time to gather concerns and suggestions from employees to ensure you can apply safety training principles effectively.
• Consider requiring employees to demonstrate the use of safety principles they've learned. This verifies understanding and competence. Instructing workers on safe job procedures does not always ensure understanding. By requiring employees to demonstrate the procedures, the trainer can feel confident the employees understood the concepts and skills.
• Periodically observe employees to verify they understood the concepts taught during the safety training, and they are using safe work practices. This helps to verify employees are retaining the information and consistently following procedures. This also gives the supervisor an opportunity to provide coaching in areas that need attention and to provide positive reinforcement for using safe techniques.
G. Accident analysis: The methods of gathering and analyzing accident information and accident facts, determining root causes and identifying safety improvements to prevent future accidents
• Develop a written accident-analysis process. Provide training so everyone understands their responsibilities and how the process works. The accident-analysis process should specify the forms employees need to complete. It also should indicate who's responsible for completing accident reports and accident analysis. Also, provide training to designated personnel on effective root cause analysis techniques, interviewing skills, problem solving and solution development.
• Develop a comprehensive accident-analysis form (Sample Form 1) (Sample Form 2) to ensure investigators gather all pertinent information. A well-designed accident-analysis form will help to make sure investigators capture all relevant information. Prompt, thorough completion will help to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information.
• Make sure the accident-analysis process requires investigators to identify all the factors that contributed to the accident, incident or near miss and to determine the root causes that need addressed. Addressing the root causes is the most effective way to ensure corrective actions will minimize recurrence of the incident.
• Make certain to route accident investigations and follow-up action plans to top management for review and sign-off. This provides management with a thorough understanding of what happened, why it happened and what action you will take to prevent it from happening in the future. It also helps to foster accountability for completion of injury prevention activities.
• Analyze workplace injury/illness data to determine where you may need to place additional emphasis. Injury and illness data help to identify trends so you can address common causes and contributing factors.
H. Workers' compensation claims management: The management process for ensuring timely filing of claims, care for the injured workers and minimizing the financial impact of claims on the organization
• Develop a clear and efficient process for reporting injuries/illnesses, obtaining medical treatment and filing the claim. Communicate this process to all employees. A documented injury-reporting process helps to reduce confusion as to how employees should report injuries, what forms they need to fill out and what steps to take. Communicate the reporting and follow-up process to all employees upon hire and on a regular basis.
• Designate claims-management duties to appropriate personnel. Claims-management responsibilities should include things like communication with health-care providers, completion of forms and making follow-up contacts with injured workers while they are off work.
• Provide individuals who are responsible for workers' compensation claims management with knowledge about the various BWC rating programs, discount programs and claims-management strategies. Thorough knowledge and usage of these BWC resources can help you develop effective claims-management strategies and control costs.
• Meet regularly with BWC, the managed care organization (MCO) and third-party administrator (TPA) to evaluate:
o All open claims;
o Identify claims needing case management and rehabilitation services;
o Develop next steps to maximize return to work outcomes.
You also may want to develop a claims-management log to keep track of the status of claims needing special attention.
I. Return-to-work practices: The management process for ensuring a safe, efficient return-to-work by injured workers to help reduce the financial burdens on the employee and the employer
• Develop policies and procedures for bringing injured workers back to work in a safe and timely manner. Communicate these policies and procedures to all managers, supervisors, employees and local health-care providers. Documenting policies, procedures and protocols for transitional work, full return to work and follow-up helps everyone to understand the process and their specific responsibilities. You can use BWC's transitional work services to help develop policies, procedures and functional job analyses for the various jobs that workers perform.
• Assign responsibilities for the return-to-work process elements and documentation needs associated with communicating with injured workers, BWC, the MCO, the TPA and medical providers. Collaborate with treating physicians and case managers. Use strategies such as job modifications, assistive devices and flexible work scheduling to facilitate placement of injured workers based on their restrictions, capabilities and functional capacities.
• Develop packets that contain detailed instructions and the necessary forms that the injured workers need to take to the health-care provider when seeking treatment for work-related injuries. For example, the packets should contain a job description, functional job analysis, a letter to inform the health-care provider that you have a transitional work program and a Physician's Report of Work Ability (MEDCO-14).
• Develop functional job analyses that provide an accurate inventory of the physical task requirements of each job. Send these to the medical provider for return-to-work determination when injuries occur. Job demands are often identified in a functional job analysis.
• Establish a good working relationship with the medical providers in your community. This will enable them to understand your process and your needs, and expectations regarding documentation of medical treatment and return to work. Encourage medical providers (physicians, therapists, rehabilitation specialists) to tour facilities and observe the jobs that workers perform. This will allow them to make informed decisions and help the injured worker return to work in a safe and timely manner.
• Meet regularly with representatives from BWC, the TPA and the MCO to discuss the status of all claims where injured workers have not returned to work. Establish goals and next steps that address any physical and psychological barriers to bringing injured workers back to full duty.
• Develop a process for making the necessary job accommodations and ergonomics modifications to help facilitate return to work. Update the functional job analyses as soon as possible after making any changes to the jobs. Share them with the health-care providers.
Additional resources for return to work
• Job Accommodation Network
J. Employee health promotion (wellness): The organization's efforts to encourage personal health improvement and health maintenance among its employees
• Develop a health and wellness program that outlines employer supported opportunities, which promote a healthy lifestyle. Enlist employee suggestions to identify the types of health and wellness opportunities they desire. Communicate and encourage employee participation in health and wellness offerings. Use creativity to keep it FUN! Consider using BWC's Workplace Wellness Grant Program to help offset some of the costs involved with starting a wellness program.
• Demonstrate top management support and active participation in health and wellness programs and activities. The best way to show support is by providing the necessary financial resources and time for participation in the various elements of the wellness program. Top management also should make it a point to attend and participate in the wellness program events and activities.
• Encourage employees to gain a better understanding of their personal health risk factors and how to address them. Health risk assessments and biometric measures provide a means of quantifying and prioritizing health risks so management can develop an individualized improvement plan.
• Consider offering monetary or material incentives to encourage employee participation in the wellness program and the various activities. A great way to encourage participation in the wellness program is by offering financial or material incentives.
• Provide low-cost/no-cost preventive care services and resources for health maintenance and health improvement. Examples include:
o Health coaching;
o Disease-management programs;
o Diet and nutrition counseling;
o Stress-management programs;
o Discounted gym membership or physical fitness class enrollment;
o Smoking cessation assistance and weight loss programs.
• Regularly communicate the personal and organizational benefits of the wellness program. Do this by asking employees who have reached or are in the process of reaching their health-improvement goals to provide testimonials. You can do this by showing trends in the organization's aggregated health data, health-care utilization costs and workers' compensation costs with employees. It's also important to show how a healthy workforce helps the organization to improve productivity, increase customer satisfaction, reduce absenteeism, etc.
• Implement a drug-free workplace program as part of your safety, health and wellness process. Addressing the safety and health risks associated with drug and alcohol use and abuse is critical to the success of your business. It's also the right thing to do for your employees. BWC offers a Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP to help you integrate a drug-free workplace program into your safety and health process.
Additional resources for wellness
• Wellness Council of America (WELCOA)
• Total Worker Health program, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
• Healthy Ohio