Written by Steve Hudgik
Safety management is a professional, systematic, comprehensive approach to identifying, eliminating, reducing and controlling health and safety hazards in the workplace. Safety management may be based in a safety department, but safety management includes everyone in the workplace. It is an integral part of the workplace culture and the way people do their jobs.
The goal of safety management is to eliminate all injuries, fatalities and negative health effects from the workplace.
Many definitions of safety management focus on reducing risk as much as is practical. This is a realistic definition because it is a fact that it is impossible to eliminate all hazards and risk from the workplace. However, ultimately the goal is to keep people safe and healthy, and that means the ultimate goal of safety management is to do just that, prevent all workplace injuries, fatalities and negative health effects.
There are legal reasons for having an effective safety management system. OSHA does not specify that a safety management system is required, but meeting the legislative requirements will require one form or another of safety management. The form which safety management takes will vary depending on the type and size of the business.
For example, Oregon OSHA requires: "If you're an employer in Oregon, your business must have a safety committee or hold safety meetings unless you're a sole owner and only employee of a corporation." This puts a minimum requirement for having a form of safety management in companies with as few as two employees.
In addition to the legislative requirements there is also an ethical requirement for safety management. What this means is that to knowingly have an unsafe workplace, or to be intentionally not be paying attention to safety, then you as the owner or manager are ethically responsible when employees are injured or killed.
A third reason for safety management is that it benefits the bottom line. Having a safe workplace is not an additional cost, it is an investment that pays dividends through reduced costs related to accidents, injuries and fatalities. The money intelligently spent on safety has a good ROI.
Looking at the broad scope of effective safety management there are five key elements:
Some of the key functions of safety management include:
Safety management happens in all organizations. The question is, how effective is your safety management? Are you meeting your legislative and ethical responsibilities, as well as your responsibility to have a profitable company. All of these require effective safety management that works to eliminate injuries, fatalities and negative health effects.
One of the most effective tools for improving communication and safety are safety signs and labels. They clearly communicate important safety information at the location where it is needed. The most effective tool for making safety signs and labels is a DuraLabel printer and supplies. DuraLabel is the only brand that makes tough-tested supplies that are so good that they give you a five year warranty on the vinyl signs and labels you make. No other brand has that kind of warranty.
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