1. Safety is going paperless.
Safety has always been a paper-based process involving ineffective and slow procedures that can waste time and money. However, beginning in January of 2017, OSHA is requiring that the majority of businesses begin submitting their incident data electronically. Not only that, OSHA will also make the data publically accessible on their website. Now is the time for organizations to overhaul their safety program and say goodbye to paper and hello to real-time safety reporting.
2. Safety has gotten serious.
A lot has changed in the industry, but if anything will get your safety director’s attention, it will be the recent increase of OSHA penalties. Previously, failing to report an OSHA reportable incident (loss of eye, amputation, hospitalization) within 24 hours would have resulted in a maximum fine of $1,000, not including reductions for small businesses and other allowances. However, today the penalty maximum is $5,000. Plus, the new policy permits area OSHA directors to even boost the fine up to $7,000 to achieve the “necessary deterrent effect” for reporting violations. If this sounds like bad news to you then it might be time to improve your reporting strategies.
3. Safety is a science.
In a recent study done by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), a group of researchers concluded that when companies used preventative analytics in their EHS program, they achieved incredible results. Companies dropped their lost-time incident rates by up to 97% within one year of using a preventative analytics system. Not only that, by understanding the actual root causes of incidents, companies are able to prevent incidents before they even happen, saving lives and your company’s bottom line.
4. It’s safe to be safe.
Whistleblower protections have increased significantly in recent years. Starting August 2016, an employer accused of harassing an employee for reporting incidents or concerns will now be investigated by a local OSHA officer. If the employer is found guilty, they can be forced to remove discipline from an employee’s record, pay an employee back pay, and even reinstate said employee to their previously held position. OSHA has made it clear that they will not tolerate harassment of employees when it comes to concerns about worker wellbeing.
5. Safety is its own industry.
The EHS industry is a $12 billion industry today in the U.S.. Historically, safe meant wearing the proper protective equipment. However, in the last decade it has evolved to entail more than hardhats, reflective vests, eye protection and fall protection. Safety programs everywhere have started using technology to improve safety. Software companies, consultants and tech firms have changed the way we approach EHS with automated manufacturing processes and real-time reporting. As the industry continues to evolve and improve, the concept of “zero workplace injuries” becomes more realistic.
6. Safety is a process.
Today’s safety programs are more than just warning labels and posters, it’s an ongoing commitment to improvement and worker engagement. Studies show that by getting your employees involved in the EHS program, you will significantly reduce your incident rate. By constantly adapting and analyzing safety data, companies can reap enormous benefits in all aspects of business. Being proactive when it comes to workplace safety is essential to accountability.
by Jonathan Monnette