WHAT DOES IT TAKE to set up an Occupational Health & Safety Program, and WHO NEEDS ONE?
Well, the first question is harder to answer than the second one. The short answer is : Everyone needs one.
All companies in Canada need to document their preventative work to stop work place injuries and accidents. Granted, some work places are more hazardous than others, but everyone needs to have a Work Place Safety Program. By law.
Simple? Not really!
Anyone who has ever looked into starting a work place safety program knows that the process is far from simple. The legal language is complicated, the terms are confusing and the requirements seem to be written for the largest of giants...:
"These rules couldn´t possibly apply to my company?"
Could they? Well, they do. But you need to understand the term "reasonably practicable" .
What that means, is that yes, you need to have a program, and yes it all seems vast and time consuming - but; when you break it down, SAFETY IS MOSTLY COMMON SENSE.
Well, practically speaking, there´s a bit more to it than that, but the Spirit of Safety ISCommon Sense.
No one wants to get hurt. No one really wants their workers to get hurt. Sometimes we take
shortcuts - for whatever reason, sometimes we need to, sometimes we just want to "get ér done" and go home.
A WORK PLACE SAFETY PROGRAM is about documenting those times when things went wrong, and to learn from it.
It is also about thinking about what you are doing - before things go wrong.
Write it down. Formalize your desire to do things better, and put it into a format where an auditor or a WCB case worker can see: Yes, this company has done their due diligence, this employer has done what is Reasonably Practicable to prevent an accident from happening again.
A successful Safety Program is not about hounding your employees with useless forms that take
up a bunch of valuable time but add no safety whatsoever. That´s an Unsuccessful Safety Program!
A Successful Safety Program consists of reasonable discussions between owners, managers and all employees about what parts of a job or a work place could be hazardous, developing some guidelines for how to do the work, documenting that everyone has indeed taken part of the information, and making sure everyone is doing things the way you all agreed to do them.
Simple ? - Actually, so far, Yes!
A Successful Work Place Safety Program isn´t just for people working in the mining industry, firefighters or constructions workers - they need it especially bad, and they probably already have it - but everyone, even me, sitting on this chair typing, needs to think about what they are doing before they do it. All companies need some form of Work Place Safety Program. By law!
A chemical spill doesn´t just happen in harbours or in chemical factories - your office printer contains thousands of harmful chemicals that can be released in your work place if the ink is improperly handled. Does that mean you need to wear a gas mask at work, or fill out a Field Level Hazard Assessment every time you use the photo copier? Of course not. But when you change that ink cartridge, or fix that broken power cable inside the photo copier, you may need to stop and think about what you are doing. Perhaps you need a Safe Work Procedure to fall back on to do the work?
Now you are starting to understand the terminology.
Does your job involve driving? Then you need some Safety Work
Procedures around that!
Does your job involve lifting heavy objects? Then you need some Safe Job Procedures about how to properly lift!
Does your job involve working more than 12 feet above ground? Then you may need Fall Protection - A harness, lanyards and scaffolding hooks to catch you - and of course training to know how to use them.
If you have read this far, and you´re still with me, I don´t need to tell you that the list goes on and on. But it´s not the end of the world! You can do this!
A Safety Program isn´t just about protecting the workers - A Safety Program is just as much about legally protecting YOU as an employer.
When shit hits the fan, you better make sure you have done your Due Diligence, or that "stupid employee" could cost your your business. Or at least, a lot of valuable time and resources.
Every job has hazards. Some more, some less. Some involve Imminent Danger, some are more long term. But all jobs involve some danger, and it is your job to analyze which, and to develop a program to avoid them. The Safety Program we can help you with, but you have to take the first step.
This is exactly what a Work Place Safety Program should be all about:
Everyone - Not just the owner or the boss, but all employees at a work place need getting together to think, discuss and analyze what hazards exist, and how to deal with them. That is regardless of if your job is to climb a 1000 foot telecom tower, or sitting on a chair all day.
All jobs come with their own hazards, and as a Business Owner, perhaps dealing with a worker making an injury claim to WCB, it is your job to prove that you have though the work and its hazards through,before you send your guys or girls out to do it.
Simple? Yes - that part is actually quite simple. It may take you some time to figure all your hazards out, you may need to get some help to write it all down. The rest, the complicated OH&S terms, the legal language, those parts you can comfortably contract out.
The actual admin and training work, you can leave to an OH&S Professional or NCSO (National Construction Safety Officer) who has taken the courses, and who can help you design your program, write your Safety Manual and perhaps get your company to SECOR or COR status.
However - no one, other than you as a Business Owner, along with all of your Valued Employees - can do the ground work which is simply asking yourselves: What are we doing, and how should we do it - Efficiently and Safely?
At BT Video Productions Ltd, not only are we well equipped and understand the process you need to create your Work Place Safety Program through our studies at the Alberta Construction Safety Society, we can also produce your Safety Training videos with a unique understanding not only for general work place hazards, but for Fire Safety as well.
Safety Certificates and Courses:
As NCSO - National Construction Safety Officer, we have certificates in these important Safety Courses: