A safety and health program, integrated into an overall management system, has been shown to reduce injuries and illnesses and improve businesses. At the core of every effective safety and health program is a systematic process for finding and fixing workplace hazards. While there are different approaches, in general, effective safety and health programs are comprised of the following core elements:
- Management Leadership. Management commits to establishing, maintaining, and continually improving the program, and provides any necessary resources.
- Worker Participation. Effective programs involve workers in identifying solutions. Improved worker engagement is linked to better productivity, higher job satisfaction, and better worker retention.
- Hazard Identification and Assessment. Effective programs are centered around a proactive, ongoing process of finding and assessing hazards.
- Hazard Prevention and Control. Effective controls protect workers from workplace hazards; help avoid injuries, illnesses, and incidents; minimize or eliminate safety and health risks; and help employers provide workers with safe and healthful working conditions.
- Education and Training. Education and training are important tools for informing workers and managers about workplace hazards and controls so they can work more safely and be more productive.
- Program Evaluation and Improvement. Periodically step back and assess what is working and what is not, and whether the program is on track to achieve its goals. Sharing the results of monitoring and evaluation within the workplace, and celebrating successes, will help drive further improvement.
- Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors, and Staffing Agencies. In situations involving independent contractors, staffing agencies, or other multiple employers, safety is enhanced if employers establish mechanisms to coordinate their efforts and communicate effectively to afford all workers high levels of protection against hazards.
Initiating a safety and health program doesn't have to be complicated or require outside consultants; there are some simple, do-it-yourself tools to help get started. To learn more about how to integrate safety and health programs in your organization, visit OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs page.
Effective management of worker safety and health is a decisive factor in reducing the extent and the severity of work-related injuries and illnesses. Effective management addresses all work-related hazards, including hazards that could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices.
OSHA's experience with the Voluntary Protection Program indicates that effectively managing safety and health programs improves employee morale and productivity and significantly reduces workers' compensation costs and other less obvious costs of work-related injuries and illnesses.