Prep for 2018
Now is a great time to reflect on 2017 and to start planning for 2018. Start by evaluating your existing safety and health programs for effectiveness.
In Minnesota, many employers are required by Minnesota OSHA to have a written workplace accident and injury reduction (AWAIR) program, also known as a loss prevention or safety and health program.
In other states not regulated by a state-level OSHA, employers are not required to have an AWAIR program, but having a written loss prevention program is a good idea.
Other written programs are required by federal OSHA for all states, such as a written Hazard Communications program, a Respiratory Protection program and Lockout/tagout program, for example.
In our opinion, the Minnesota AWAIR program acts as an umbrella for all of your other written safety and health programs. The AWAIR program can help guide your overall safety and health efforts.
An effective AWAIR program must include:
- Active, visible leadership. Define how managers, supervisors and employees are responsible for implementing the program and how continued participation of management will be established, measured and controlled. Helpful Tip: Update responsibilities for management, supervisors, safety director, and employees of your organization within your AWAIR program.
- Regular inspections and evaluations. Outline the methods used to identify, analyze and control new or existing hazards, conditions and operations. Helpful Tip: iAuditor, inspection checklists, safety committee walkthroughs, outside consultants are a few good tools to use to help identify, analyze, and control existing hazards.
- Organized communication. Summarize how the plan will be communicated to all affected employees so they are informed of work-related hazards and controls. Helpful Tip: Training is considered by MN OSHA to be one of the most commonly used methods of communication. Other methods may include posters, handbooks, handouts, etc. Make sure your communication methods are outlined in your AWAIR program and that you are documenting.
- Effective investigations and corrective actions. Outline how workplace accidents will be investigated and corrective action implemented. Helpful Tip: Document. Document. Document. One tool might be MMA’s Accident Investigation Form which can be used for gathering the facts about the accident to identify root cause. Remember accident investigation should be a tool used for prevention, not blame.
- Consistent enforcement. Define and communicate how safe work practices and rules will be enforced. Helpful Tip: Enforcement of your safety rules should be fair and consistent throughout the organization. Management and supervision need to set the example and follow all of the rules. Make sure you are outlining your progressive disciplinary procedures in your AWAIR program.
Your AWAIR program must also include updated goals and objectives for your organization. These should be evaluated and updated annually.
Areas that need to be considered as you begin to evaluate your written safety programs include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in volume of work being performed
- Any new chemicals that were introduced
- Any new processes or tasks that employees were not doing last year
- Any new equipment or machines that were added
- Any new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements that have changed
To evaluate your AWAIR program in even more details, use MMA’s AWAIR Written Program Evaluation Checklist as your guide.
If you find yourself short on time or in need of assistance evaluating your health and safety programs, please contact your local Marsh & McLennan representative.