This compilation represents a framework for modeling an effective health and safety program or a basis for performing
gap analysis on your existing approach. These elements are
compatible with the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP)
required in some states.
1. Hazard Recognition, Evaluation, and Control
This element is key to any health and safety program. When asked, most
people on the street would say is this is what a safety program is all about.
This involves proactive hazard recognition in terms of environment (the
surroundings of the workers), the people actually doing the work, equip-ment/materials used in the work process, and processes/practices themselves. A formal “Job Hazard Analysis” assists with the process and is integral to many of the other elements listed below. In the lab, as part of the
Chemical Hygiene Plan, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a product of this element. Once hazards have been identified and prioritized they
must be controlled. The generally accepted hierarchy of controls is elimi-nation/substitution, engineering controls, personal protective equipment,
and administrative controls.
2. Workplace Design and Engineering
We often see failure in this aspect when we are called in to solve a problem.
Designing safety into a workplace is as important as designing in efficiency
(and these often go hand in hand). Some of this is already done by building
code (e.g., electrical standards, fire suppression, and egress requirements)
but other aspects must be consciously addressed such as ergonomics,
ventilation, and noise requirements for the anticipated work at hand,
equipment and machine safeguarding, materials handling and storage,
use of automated processes, and added reserve capacity.
3. Safety Performance Management
This can be thought of as the measurable actions of employees in relation to safety in their work. Performance measurement should reflect how
workers (management and workers alike) are actually doing compared to
applicable regulatory requirements and identified corporate goals. This
should include a system of accountability for meeting those standards
within their control.
4. Regulatory Compliance Management
Animal care facilities must meet OSHA, EPA, DOT, and often accreditation
agency specific standards. Non-compliance can have serious ramifications
in terms of financial liability (penalties and fines), institutional reputation,
and in some cases the ability to continue operations. It is very important to
have a mechanism for staying informed and complying with existing regulations and standards. It is also very important to keep abreast of new or
evolving regulations that will impact your operations. A self-assessment or
assessment conducted by an outside party is a good tool for determining
level of compliance.
5. Occupational Health
The nature and scope of an occupational health program can vary widely
from company to company. Often in animal care settings one might expect pre-employment health evaluations, periodic medical surveillance,
injury protocols (including first aid and bite/scratch procedures) and maintenance of medical records, and coordination with the departments when
work related health and safety issues arise. One might typically find coordination of respiratory protection and hearing conservation programs within the Occupational Health component of a program.
6. Information Collection
Information is the lifeblood for proper decision making. Equally important
7. Employee Involvement
to collection of information is its subsequent management. We have seen
situations where important information had been collected but never an-
alyzed nor distributed to those with a need. Much of the safety and health
information collected must be managed properly to maintain regulatory
Employee involvement in all aspects of a safety and health program benefits both the employees and management. The front line employees have
experienced and seen issues and problems that might not otherwise be
recognized by management. It also serves as a bridge of understanding for
actions taken by the employer in terms of health and safety.
8. Motivation, Behavior, and Attitudes
The goal of this element is to change behavior and attitude to promote a
safer and healthier workplace. It places great value on visible management
leadership and support for changing unsafe behaviors, attitudes, and work
processes. One additional key component is the reinforcement of the desired behaviors through positive recognition.
9. Training and Orientation
Training can assume a variety of forms from classroom style to hands-on,
from general concepts to task specific. Besides the need for safety training
from a regulatory standpoint it is critical that employees know what to do
to perform their jobs correctly and safely.
10. Organizational Communications
Communication within the organization keeps employees informed of new
and existing policies, procedures, lessons learned, and missions. Likewise it
provides avenues from the front line to upper management for consideration
in the development and revision of those polices. The flow of information in
both directions is critical for an effective health and safety program.
11. Management and Control of External Exposures
This might be considered incident or emergency planning. Plans need to
be developed for emergencies such as severe weather, incidents stemming
from contractor or “neighborhood incidents,” and manmade issues such as
protestors or activists.
12. Environmental Management
Environmental management is a broad and complex enough issue that it
requires a program of its own. Often there is overlap of duties and as such,
environmental management is grouped under the health and safety program umbrella. Issues from proper permitting to preventing potential environmental liability are considered in this element.
13. Workplace Planning and Staffing
In providing an effective safety and health program effective human resource management is critical. It includes development of accurate job
descriptions to take into consideration job duties (such as respirator use or
hearing protection use, manual material handling, exposure to allergens)
that may trigger the need for pre-employment evaluations and medical
surveillance. Limiting exposures by administrative controls or other safety
considerations (e.g. tasks requiring two people) and development of safety
rules would both be considered in this element.
14. Assessments, Audits, and Evaluations
This final set of tools provides a measure for how an organization is doing
in terms of health and safety. These are used to monitor compliance, behaviors, and provide a yardstick for discerning progress. A variety of tools
are required to address these needs. These can be performed by in-house
staff, committees, as part of a job task, or with outside consultants. The assessment results serve as a springboard for improvement.
14 Essential Elements for a Succesful Health & Safety Program