Steps for developing a safety program plan and managerial-related deficiencies leading to accidents

An organization contemplating on introducing a safety program can develop its plan by following the seven steps shown in Fig. 11.1 [3, 7].

Steps for developing a safety program plan

Figure 11.1 Steps for developing a safety program plan.

Step 1 is concerned with writing and announcing the policy regarding the control of hazards within the organization/company and designating accountability and authority for fully implementing it. Step 2 is concerned with appointing a safety chief for looking after safety-related matters. Step 3 is concerned with conducting analysis of the operational records of injuries, property damage, and work-related illnesses.

Step 4 is concerned with determining the scope and seriousness of operational hazards. More clearly, the step is concerned with determining the quality of the existing physical safeguards, time estimates and budgets for conducting the corrective measures, the nature and severity of inherent operating hazards, the required corrective measures, etc.

Step 5 is concerned with selecting and scheduling communication methods for purposes such as informing general management the safety progress of the organization and associated requirements, worker safety training, and interest maintenance. Step 6 is concerned with developing a schedule for periodic reviews of the facilities and program. Finally, step 7 is concerned with developing short-range and long-range objectives for the safety program.

Past experiences over the years clearly indicate that many accidents take place due to various types of management deficiencies. On the other hand, as per Fortune magazine, many executives still believe that careless workers/employees are really to be blamed for the workplace accidents' occurrence [10]. However, the actual findings do not support the beliefs of these executives. For example, a survey conducted in 1967 of industrial injuries in the state of Pennsylvania reported that only about 26% were due to workers' carelessness [11].

Eight immediate causes for various accidents due to management-related deficiencies are as follows [12]:

  • Immediate accident cause I: Improper use of equipment, tools, and facilities. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor training of workers and poorly established operational procedures.
  • Immediate accident cause II: Job not understood. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poorly written operational procedures and poor employee selection and placement.
  • Immediate accident cause III: Lack of awareness of hazards involved. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor worker training, poor worker safety consciousness, and poor safety rules and measures.
  • Immediate accident cause IV: Failure to follow prescribed procedures correctly. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor enforcement to follow correct procedures and poor supervisory safety indoctrination.
  • Immediate accident cause V: Defective or unsafe facilities and equipment. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor supervisory safety indoctrination, poor employee safety indoctrination, and poor maintenance and repair system.
  • Immediate accident cause VI: Lack of proper procedures. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor supervisory proficiency; poor planning, layout, and design; and poor operational procedures.
  • Immediate accident cause VII: Lack of proper equipment, tools, and facilities. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor supervisory safety indoctrination and poor planning, layout, and design.

• Immediate accident cause VIII: Poor housekeeping. In this case, possible management deficiencies are poor supervisory training and poor planning and layout.

Product safety management program and organization tasks

The main objective of a product safety management (PSM) program is to minimize an organization's/company's exposure to product liability litigation and related problems. Thus, the key for minimizing liability exposure is to establish and properly maintain a comprehensive safety management program. Generally, a PSM program has at least three functional elements, as shown in Fig. 11.2 [2, 7]. These elements are PSM program committee, coordinator, and auditor. The committee is formed for dealing with issues concerned with product safety.

As the committee has members from all major units within the organi-zation/company, it provides the PSM coordinator a broad base of expertise to call upon and encourages broad-based support among all involved units.

The coordinator is concerned with coordinating and facilitating the involvement of various units within the company/organization including the marketing, design, manufacturing, accounting, and service. In the success or failure of a PSM program, the level of authority of the coordinator plays a crucial factor. Past experiences over the years clearly indicate that the higher the level of authority, the greater the chances the program will succeed.

The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that the PSM coordinator should have authority for undertaking actions such as assisting in developing PSM program-related policy; performing PSM program audits; coordinating all program-related documents; making recommendations for product recalls, special analysis, product redesign, and field modifications; facilitating communication among all parties

Functional elements of a PSM program

Figure 11.2 Functional elements of a PSM program.

involved with the program; performing complaint, incident, or accident analysis; establishing and maintaining relationships with agencies/ organizations having product safety-related missions; and developing a product safety information database for use by all parties involved in the program [2, 7,13].

Finally, the auditor is concerned with evaluating the overall organization and units within it in regard to safety. Nonetheless, the auditor's specific duties include highlighting deficiencies in management commitment, reviewing documentation of measures taken for rectifying product shortcomings, bringing deficiencies to management attention and making appropriate corresponding recommendations, and observing the corrective measures put in place after the identification of product deficiencies [2, 7].

A product safety organization conducts various types of tasks concerning product safety. Some of these tasks are as follows [7,14]:

  • • Review governmental and non-governmental product safety-related requirements.
  • • Develop safety criteria based on applicable governmental and voluntary standards for use by company, sub-contractor, and vendor design professionals.
  • • Prepare the product safety directives and the program.
  • • Review product test reports for determining deficiencies or trends in regard to safety.
  • • Review warning labels that are to be placed on product in regard to safety factors such as meeting legal requirements, adequacy, and compatibility to warnings in the instruction manuals.
  • • Take part in reviewing accident-related claims or recall actions by government bodies and recommend remedial measures for justifiable claims or recalls.
  • • Review the product for determining whether the potential hazards have been controlled or eradicated altogether.
  • • Provide assistance to designers in choosing alternative means for controlling or eradicating hazards or other safety problems in initial designs.
  • • Develop mechanisms by which the safety program can be monitored properly.
  • • Review hazard and mishaps in existing similar products for avoiding their repetition in the new products.
  • • Review safety-related customer complaints and field reports.
  • • Review proposed product operations and maintenance documents in regard to safety.
  • • Determine whether items such as monitoring and warning devices, protective equipment, or emergency equipment are required for the product.
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