Importance of Safety Program
An effective safety program is important to an organization for several reasons:
- Accidents, injured employees and lost time are direct and indirect costs to the organization. An effective safety program can decrease costs, increase productivity and improve the bottom-line.
- It is a positive message to employees that their well-being is important, creates good morale and a positive culture.
 Best Practices
General best practices for all organizations, especially small organizations:
- Top management and supervisors must “walk the talk” and set the example.
- The safety message and priority needs to come from the top all the way down thru the organization and become part of the organization culture.
- The optimum time to hold weekly safety meetings is Monday morning at the first of the week so the safety message is with everyone all week.
- To increase effectiveness and relavancy of safety meetings hold them on the job site, keep them short and sweet.
- Management needs to setup a system to followup on every accident or near miss; an AAR system works.
- Track safety religiously; publicize at all opportunities to all members of the company the safety information reports. This proves it is a priority and makes it top of the mind.
- Make safety a conscious part of the company culture.
- Self-insure for workmens compensation – If the company has the financial capacity to self-insure this should be evaluated. A self-insured company gains or losses directly from the effectiveness of its safety program, culture and experience.
- Utilize your insurance company as a resource to improve your safety program. They have experts and see what works and doesn't work in many companies.
- Educate managers that have budget or P&L responsibility about the role of safety; costs; profits and bottom-line impact.
 Industry Specific Safety Best Practices
Specific best practices for each type of company, organization and job site will vary for a manufacturer, commercial fishermen, farmer, laboratory, large vehicle operator or an office environment.
- Miners Safety best practices developed by a volunteer group of stakeholders convened by the Mining Healthy and Safety Administration
 Best Practices in Large Organizations
- 'Driving Toward ‘0’ – Best Practices in Corporate Safety and Health”, The Conference Board, 2003. This research is based on an in depth survey of 68 leading companies and identifies 23 best practices. The project was funded by OSHA. Four company case studies are profiled - Alcoa, Baxter, Kodak and Motorola. Downloadable copy of the report
- DuPont STOP (Safety Training Observation Program) is a highly regarded safety program and company record. Their essential elements for safety management are:
- Leadership Elements
- Strong management commitment.
- Safety policies and principles.
- Challenging goals and plans.
- High standards of performance.
- Organizational Elements
- Supportive safety personnel.
- Safety as line-organization responsibility.
- Integrated organization for safety.
- Progressive motivation.
- Operational Elements
- Effective communication.
- Continuous safety training and development.
- Injury and incident investigations and reports.
- Effective audits and re-evaluation.
- Leadership Elements
The author of this article is Terry Gardiner.
Terry Gardiner is the founder and President of Silver Lining Seafoods and NorQuest Seafoods - a medium size Alaska seafood processing companies; and currently Board member of the Anvil Corporation, an employee owned company specializing in oil and gas engineering.
His co-operative experiences include member director of the Commercial Fishermen Co-operative association; creation of legislation for the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and advisor to the US Dept of Health and Social Services for the state Health CO-OPs.
Terry served ten years as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives -several legislative committee chairmanships, Speaker of the House, Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Code Commission and board member on various state and federal boards and commissions.
Terry authored the leadership book, "Six-Word Lessons to Build Effective Leaders: 100 Lessons to Equip Your People to Create Winning Organizations".