Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. Safety Policy
Purpose: To promote safe and healthful working conditions and is based on clearly stated goals and objectives for meeting those goals. The safety program must describe:
How managers, supervisors, and employees are responsible for implementing the program and how continued participation of management will be established, measured, and maintained;
The methods used to identify, analyze, and control new or existing hazards, conditions and operations;
How the plan will be communicated to all affected employees so that they are informed of work-related hazards and controls;
How work place accidents will be investigated and corrective action implemented; and
How safe work practices and rules will be enforced.
Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. will conduct and document a review of the work place accident and injury reduction program at least annually and document how procedures set forth in the program are met.
Goals and objectives: Central to this safety program is the goals and objectives this organization has set for its overall safety and health program. Goals establish the direction for the program and state what the organization wants to achieve through the program. The best goals are generally challenging to reach or complete, but are also possible to achieve. They should be specific to the organization or facility. Objectives are the specific actions that will be taken to attempt to achieve the goals. The best objectives are those that can either be measured or demonstrated.
Ideally, safety and health programs should correspond with and become part of the organization’s overall mission or business plan. Every employee should know what the goals of the organization’s safety program are and how they are to be achieved.
Some examples of goals and objectives are:
Goal: We will reduce our injury and illness rate.
We will address all employee safety issues in a timely manner, i.e., hazards that potentially pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury will be initially addressed within one shift and other hazards will be initially addressed within one week.
We will perform a monthly safety inspection and will take corrective action or begin investigating long-term solutions for all hazards identified during the inspection within one week.
We will investigate all accidents and near-miss events and will take corrective action to prevent a recurrence.
Goal: We will establish and maintain a company culture that is committed to workplace safety and health.
We will conduct regular safety meetings on a quarterly basis to inform employees about specific workplace safety and health issues, and to build an overall awareness of employee safety and health.
We will actively enforce all safety rules throughout the company.
Roles and Responsibilities: This safety program describes how everyone in the organization, whether management, supervisor, or employee, is responsible for making the program work. These duties should be clearly laid out. Everyone in the organization should be able to explain what his or her role is in creating a safer, healthier workplace. Employees should feel they have some ownership and responsibility for creating a safe workplace. They should also be provided with the training, equipment, resources and assistance to carry out their roles. Employees and supervisors need to know where to go to get assistance to resolve issues of safety and health, and to get their concerns addressed and questions answered. Most importantly, they need to know how to correct safety and health hazards in the workplace as the hazards are identified.
Some examples of assigned responsibilities are:
For everyone in the organization—
All employees, including supervisors and managers, must follow all safety rules at all times.
Employees must promptly report any safety and health hazards they observe to their supervisor or safety committee representative.
An employee’s first priority is to perform each job task safely. If an employee is unsure how to perform the task safely, he or she must consult with their supervisor.
Employees must wear personal protective equipment as required for their protection and maintain the equipment in a sanitary manner.
Employees must report all accidents, including near misses, to their supervisor immediately upon occurrence.
Supervisors must discuss any current safety issues with their employees.
Supervisors should address all safety concerns raised by staff by initially investigating the issue, determining if the concern is valid and taking appropriate corrective action whenever necessary. Corrective action can include ordering new equipment, issuing maintenance work orders or consulting with the safety director, the safety committee or upper management.
Immediately upon learning of an accident or near miss, the supervisor must initiate an investigation and submit the completed accident investigation report to the safety director.
Supervisors will actively and positively participate in all safety committee inspections of their assigned areas.
For safety directors—
The safety director will serve as the lead person in the organization for safety and health issues and will also serve as chairperson of the safety committee
The safety director must review all accident investigation reports with the safety committee and take appropriate action to prevent recurrence.
The safety director will conduct, in cooperation with the supervisor, all safety training required by regulation or identified by management/supervisors or the safety committee as a need to assure a safe workplace.
The safety director will recommend improvements in physical plant, machinery, equipment, raw materials and personal protective equipment to management, supervisors, and the safety committee.
For safety committees---
The safety committee will conduct a meeting twice a year or as needed and have area inspections to review accident reports, identify hazards and address any and all safety concerns raised by employees, supervisors, or the safety director.
The safety committee will review the safety program at least annually and make recommendations concerning updates and revisions to the program to senior management and the safety director.
There will be five committee members, one from the technology area (Adam), one from the construction area (Thomas), one from the office area (Veronica), the safety director, (Debbie), and the manager (Rod). Safety committee members each represent their particular work area and therefore, should address all safety concerns brought to them by their coworkers. These concerns should be handled by initially investigating the issue with the supervisor to determine if the concern is valid and then, as necessary and appropriate, bring the issue to the safety director or the full safety committee.
The manager will communicate to all employees and supervisors the importance of worker safety and health throughout the organization.
The manager shall review all safety concerns brought forward by the safety director, supervisors, or employees and take appropriate action.
The manager shall review the safety program and any recommended revisions from the safety committee at least annually, make the appropriate revisions and work with the safety director, the safety committee, and supervisors to communicate the revisions throughout the organization.
Management participation and commitment is crucial to the success of the safety program. Management must not only establish the program and communicate it to everyone in the organization, but also provide the resources to improve safety and health throughout the entire organization. This includes providing employees and supervisors with the authority to identify and correct hazards, the budget to purchase new equipment or make repairs, the training necessary to work safely and to recognize hazards, and the systems to get repairs made, materials ordered and other improvements accomplished. Management also establishes the importance of the safety program, both by the priority they give workplace safety and health issues and by the example they set by initiating safety and health improvements, correcting hazards, enforcing safety rules, rewarding excellent performance in safety and health, and by following all safety rules.
This is also known as the “Employees Right to Know Act”. This standard has three basic points that need to be followed in the workplace. The first is labeling of hazardous chemicals. The second is keeping and maintaining MSDSs for use by employees. The third is the way you educate your employees on this standard. Satisfying this third requirement, Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. will have their safety coordinator come in every two years and do training on the hazards of various chemicals. Each time a new employee is hired they receive information in their handbook as to where the MSDSs are located.
General identification, analysis, & control—
Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. has a safety director and committee within the company who can go around once every month or as often as possible & identify, analyze, and control workplace hazards. This includes both hazards that currently exist in the workplace and those that may occur due to future changes, such as the introduction of new equipment, processes or materials, or the revision of existing procedures. The safety director and committee can identify and bring attention to changes or improvements that may need to be made within the company.
A written safety and health program is just words on paper if management and employees are not aware of it and understand it. Employees cannot follow safety rules; identify hazards, use correct work procedures or protective equipment, or work to achieve goals if they do not have the necessary knowledge to do so. Furthermore, if employees are afraid to discuss safety and health concerns with management or have no clear method of reporting their concerns to management, safety and health hazards can go undetected. Uncorrected hazards can adversely affect employee morale and productivity, even if an accident, injury or illness does not occur as a result.
While communication regarding safety and health issues should be a continual process, there are times when it is especially critical, including the beginning of an employee’s new job assignment, whenever material, process or procedural changes are implemented, and whenever the employer notices deficiencies in safe work practices.
Communication can take several forms. One of the most commonly used methods is training; safety training should go beyond the minimum required by OSHA regulations, such as Employee Right-To-Know. Supervisors should receive at least as much safety and health training as their employees, if not more.
The design of a training segment should be based on clearly stated goals and objectives. The goals and objectives should reflect the knowledge and skills employees need to do their jobs safely and be as specific as possible. Training content should be directly applicable to the hazards, procedures and equipment the employees encounter on the job. Employees are more receptive to training if they see how they can apply the training to their work. Training content must cover emergency procedures as well as normal day-to-day activities.
Not only should supervisors be required to attend training, they should be encouraged to reinforce the training in the workplace. Supervisors can observe and coach their employees by correcting unsafe work practices as they occur and positively reinforcing the use of safe work practices as well. Employees can be encouraged to work with each other to reinforce workplace safety. This is especially important when more experienced employees are working with new ones. Senior employees should teach newer employees safe work practices rather than risky short cuts.
Other methods of communicating job safety and health information include posters, employee handbooks, handout materials, including one-page fact sheets or booklets, computer-based learning and safety promotional activities. If posters are used, they should have a clear message and be located in areas where employees are likely to see them. Relying on written materials only, can be ineffective for several reasons. Many working adults lack basic reading skills or sets aside reading material that they save “for later, when they have time.”
One of the strongest methods of communication is by example. Managers and supervisors must model their behavior for employees by working safely and following all safety and health rules.
Effective communication flows in two directions. Employees must feel free to discuss their safety concerns with their supervisors without fear of retaliation. They should know the proper procedures for reporting safety and health hazards in the workplace to get the hazards corrected or to get their questions answered. Supervisors should know who to contact for assistance in addressing safety issues and have authority to take appropriate corrective action. Top management should work to make sure communication is occurring on all levels of the organization.
Accident investigation is a key component of a safety and health program. The goal of an accident investigation should be hazard identification and prevention. It should not be to affix blame.
All events that cause injuries or property damage should be examined. All near misses, those events where injury or property damage does not occur, but could have if conditions were different, should also be investigated. The incident investigation should be started as soon as possible.
Accident investigations should be a team effort, with the safety director, committee members, and if needed, the supervisor. At least one member of the team should be familiar with the process or equipment involved in the incident. The safety director and committee should have details on the accident so they know what they are dealing with. The goal is to identify the causes of the accident and Investigators need to ask questions, such as:
Who was involved in the event?
Who witnessed the event?
What was abnormal or different before the accident occurred?
When did each event in the incident occur?
Where did the hazard first occur?
How and why did an event take place?
The investigation process may include accident site examination; witness interviews; documentation; review of operating procedures, process information, maintenance records and job hazard analyses; and development of a sequence of events leading up to the accident. Each contributing factor should be traced back to its root cause. A written report that describes the accident, its causes and recommendations for corrective action and prevention should be prepared and presented to management.
Emergency response to the accident should also be reviewed. Among the factors to be considered are whether each employee responded to the emergency situation appropriately, whether first aid was administered to sick or injured employees in an adequate and timely manner, and whether the emergency response team’s personal protective equipment and other necessary equipment was available in a usable condition for immediate use during the emergency.
The ultimate goal of the investigation is to determine the basic and root causes, and to determine appropriate corrective action so the incident does not happen again. To simply attribute an accident to “employee error,” without further consideration of the basic causes, deprives the organization of the opportunity to take real preventive action. Possible use of engineering controls, improved work practices and administrative controls should be considered to help employees do their jobs safely. Management practices should also be considered as a possible basic factor. If there is managerial or supervisory pressure to increase production or cut costs, employees may take unsafe shortcuts in work procedures or necessary preventive maintenance may be delayed or skipped.
Enforcement of safety and health programs:
Responsibility for safety and health exists at all levels in an organization. Managers, supervisors and employees should all know what their duties are to create a safe and healthful workplace and follow all safety rules. All employees must know and understand what they need to do and not to do to make the workplace safer for themselves and their coworkers. They must be trained on safe work practices and proper use of engineering controls and personal protective equipment. Employees should be coached to correct unsafe behavior and disciplined if violations continue. Safety procedures should become a key part of the daily routine.
Safety rules need to be enforced. Supervisors must monitor employees to assure engineering controls and personal protective equipment are correctly used and procedures are correctly followed. Supervisors should be trained to reinforce positive behavior, yet correct negative actions and attitudes. OSHA has long held the belief that safe work practices are not effective if their use is not enforced and, typically, holds the employer responsible if the organization does not enforce its own rules. This is sometimes difficult to do. Many supervisors do not like to discipline employees, especially if the employees are generally good workers. Others do not feel upper management backs them when they take disciplinary action against employees. Still others feel intimidated by an organization’s grievance process. Upper management should support and encourage supervisor and safety director attempts to fairly and equally enforce rules. If workplace rules are not enforced, they cease to have meaning.
Enforcement of safe work practices should be fair, consistent throughout the organization and based on established policy. Management and supervision should be conscious of the examples they set for the workplace and should obey the same rules as the rest of the workforce.
Not only should negative behavior be discouraged, but positive behavior should be reinforced as well. Exceptional performance or efforts in workplace safety and health should be recognized by the organization.
The safety program requires the employer to review the entire program at least annually and document the findings. Program review is vital, because it serves as a check to see if Kennebec Telephone Co, Inc. is making progress towards its goal of creating a safer, healthier workplace for all employees.
The second reason for conducting a review or audit of the workplace safety and health program is to determine whether the procedures used in the facility are consistent with those described in the program and if they are effective. For example, if the audit shows there are injuries and illnesses occurring from hazards that have not been identified or controlled through the methods described in the safety and health program, the auditor needs to determine if the methods are being used in the facility correctly and as described in the program. If the methods are not being used or are used incorrectly, the auditor needs to further review the techniques and, perhaps, modify them or adopt new ones.
The primary focus of the evaluation effort should be whether Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. has made progress in achieving the safety program’s goals and objectives within the past year and, if so, whether the progress made actually improved worker safety and health. If an organization has achieved the goals and objectives described in its safety and health program, it should set new goals and objectives for the coming year to motivate managers and employees to work to further improve safety and health on the job. The organization, its management and its employees should continually work to improve workplace safety, just as they do to improve quality, cost effectiveness and other facets of the business.
If Kennebec Telephone is not meeting its objectives, especially the ones established specifically for the previous year, the organization needs to determine why. Perhaps the organization is improving and moving toward its goal, but just has not reached it yet. Time lines should be established or reestablished for each of the objectives and the overall goals. If progress is not being made or is being made too slowly, the goals and objectives need to be examined. It may be that the goals and objectives are not clear or measurable. Objectives should be clear, concise, and capable of being measured or demonstrated. It is also possible the objectives do not support the overall goal or goals of the program. This means meeting the objectives will not help the organization reach its goals or positively impact workplace safety and health conditions. New objectives should be created that act as steps toward achieving the greater goals. It may also indicate there are serious problems with the overall safety and health program that need to be addressed.
The first step in a program evaluation should be a review of the documentation created during the past year, relevant to Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc.’s safety and health program. One of the first documents that should be reviewed is the facility’s Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, also known as the OSHA 300 log. The log and the accompanying First Report of Injury forms should be examined for trends, such as similar injuries to those workers with similar job duties, similar causes of injuries and illnesses, or departments with higher than average injury rates. Accident investigation reports should also be reviewed. If similar accidents or near misses continue to occur in the facility, perhaps the root causes of the events are not being determined during the investigation or corrective action is not being implemented. Reports from the safety director, inspections or walkarounds should be reviewed as well. If the hazards causing injury or illness in the workplace are not being identified through these inspections, then efforts should be made to assist the individuals to improve the process. Possibilities include additional training about hazard recognition.
Employee and supervisor interviews are the next step. These can be formally conducted or simply a casual conversation as part of an inspection or walkaround. Informal interviews with employees, in the form of casual conversation, can be conducted as part of these walkarounds. Simple observation by management can be an important evaluation tool. By walking around the facility, one can pick up clues about whether the safety and health program is working.
After the evaluation process is completed, the safety program and other safety and health programs should be updated to correct shortfalls, to assure the written programs reflect the real procedures used in the organization and to set new goals for the organization to achieve. The safety director will take responsibility for making the changes to the program and implement a due date to assure the program is updated in a timely manner. Finally, changes to the program, goals and procedures need to be communicated to everyone in the organization.
While Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. requires that its safety program be reviewed at least annually, ideally the program should be continually referred to, reviewed and updated as necessary. This keeps the program fresh, accurate and an integral part of the organization.