The accountability for workplace safety and health falls on the management. Thus, those who are held accountable are the ones who are responsible for all aspects of the safety and health program. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not cite workers or the safety and health professional. It cites the company, and the representatives of the company are the management team.
It is interesting to note that nearly 50 employees are injured every minute of a 40-hour workweek and almost 17 employees die each day in the United States. OSHA states that almost one-third of all serious injuries and illnesses stem from overexertion or repetitive trauma, which are expensive injuries. It is important that management views safety and health as an ethical and moral obligation as well as a monetary obligation. Research studies indicate that companies can expect a $4 to $6 return for every dollar invested in safety and health. This is why development of programs and commitment to managing safety and health demonstrates that this not only is a long-term commitment to do the right thing to protect workers from injury and illness. It also proves to be good for the company's bottom line.
Some factors the managers should undertake to demonstrate their commitment to the company's occupational safety and health effort are as follows:
- • Communicating with everyone including other peers, supervisor, and employees
- • Making decisions and problem solving regarding safety and health
- • Disseminating information on hazards, rules, and compliance to maintain a safe workplace
- • Inspecting and maintaining a safe workplace for all employees
- • Abiding by and enforcing safety and health rules and regulations
- • Staying updated on emerging safety and health issues
- • Demonstrating openly by deeds and actions support for safety and health
- • Using the appropriate resources to provide a safe and healthy workplace
In summation, these are ways management's commitment is effectively conveyed:
- • Inspecting facilities, machinery, and safety equipment to identify and correct potential hazards, and to ensure safety regulation compliance.
- • Interpreting safety regulations for others interested in industrial safety such as safety engineers, labor representatives, and safety inspectors.
- • Maintaining and applying knowledge of current policies, regulations, and industrial processes.
- • Maintaining liaisons with outside organizations such as fire departments, mutual aid societies, and rescue teams, so that emergency responses can be facilitated.
- • Report or review findings from accident investigations, facility inspections, or environmental testing.
Reese, C.D. Accident/Incident Prevention Techniques (Second Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012. Reese, C.D. Occupational Health and Safety Management (Third Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016. Reese, C.D. and J.V. Eidson. Handbook of OSHA Construction Safety & Health (Second Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC/Lewis Publishers, 2006.