OSHA requires your Safety Program to be specific to your business. That means your program must address all hazards in your workplace and accurately document your policies and procedures. You are also expected to train your employees on the hazards associated with their job duties. Whether you already have a program in place that you think needs revision or you want to determine what programs you need to have in place, the below tools can guide you through a risk assessment.

Identify

To help you to identify the hazards in your workplace that need to be addressed, answer the questions below. Before you start, tour your facility and observe employees at work to ensure that you have identified all of the risks associated with your operations. A hazard assessment checklist may assist with this.

After identifying hazards and potential areas that need improvement, click on each of the below questions that apply to your company to determine what types of safety programs you should have in place. Each explanation includes links to more information and resources you can use. Atlas also gives you free access to resources in GoSafe that can help you develop your safety program.

In certain states, you are required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP). Even if you don’t have ten employees or you live in a state that doesn’t require an IIPP, it is a good idea to have one.

This written program is the backbone of your entire safety program. It summarizes everything from who is responsible for safety and what that entails, to the work practices you have in place to ensure that employees work safely, and how the company ensures these guidelines are followed.

These are the eight required elements of an IIPP:

  1. Name one person who is responsible for safety
  2. Identify the safety rules one must follow to avoid injury and enforce those rules
  3. Allow for two-way communication of safety concerns
    • Manager to Employee
    • Employee to Manager, anonymously if needed
  4. Inspect your worksite on a regular basis and document the inspections (Hazard Assessment)
  5. Take corrective action to address safety issues and document those actions
  6. Take corrective action to address safety issues and document those actions.
  7. Train your employees – the more dangerous the job is, the more training you should provide
  8. Maintain required safety and health records (OSHA 300, for example)

To learn more about IIPP’s, check out “What is an IIPP and how does it work?” If you are ready to develop a program, take a look at Atlas’ IIPP program template or build your own with help from OSHA’s IIPP Creation eTool. Templates are also available in GoSafe and Atlas’ Industry Safety Kits.

You are likely required to have a Hazard Communication Program. The need for a formal program is much greater for a business using hazardous chemicals than for an office; however, OSHA states that employees have the right to know and understand the hazards related to any chemicals they use at work.

A Hazard Communication Program explains how you notify your employees of the various hazards associated with the chemicals used in the workplace. It requires you to have a chemical list and maintain safety data sheets (SDS) for each chemical and to make this information available to employees. You also must train your employees regarding their exposures at hire, if the employee changes jobs or if any new chemicals are brought into the workplace. For more information about Hazard Communication, including the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) update, visit Fed OSHA. Oregon OSHA has a PowerPoint presentation in English and Spanish that can be modified for your employees. Templates are also available. GoSafe provides a written program template, PowerPoint presentation and training outlines. There are also videos and online training programs available in GoSafe.

Eighty degrees is the new trigger for needing a Heat Illness Prevention Plan and additional requirements for high heat are triggered when temperatures reach 95 degrees. The basic tenets for heat illness are the provision of water, rest and shade. Employees and supervisors must be trained on methods to prevent heat illness and identify the signs and symptoms of heat illness. You should also have a plan in place for emergencies. OSHA has developed many resources for Heat Illness Prevention including training for employees and training for the trainer.

Although many resources are directed towards construction and agricultural workers, don’t disregard this information just because you are in a different industry. Fatalities due to heat illness have occurred in other industries and also are not limited to persons working outside. If your workplace gets hot enough to exceed the eighty-degree threshold, you need to address this hazard.

Other educational resources are available from the Water, Rest, Shade campaign and from GoSafe. To develop your written program, Cal OSHA has developed a sample that can get you started. Because the body’s ability to manage heat is affected by other factors like humidity and acclimatization, OSHA has developed a heat index for reference and a Heat Safety app for smartphones.

You should have a formal Forklift Program that addresses forklift training and certification. You should also post rules for the safe operation of the forklift, often referred to as a Powered Industrial Truck (PIT).

All forklift training must be documented and should be repeated if there is an accident, if an employee is not following the rules or if there are any changes to the workplace. A competent person must evaluate each operator prior to using the forklift and reevaluate them every three years.

Forklifts should be inspected on a regular basis. It’s easiest to incorporate this at the start of each shift. Forklift maintenance should also be documented. GoSafe has some excellent resources for forklift operation including sample checklists and training on different topics. OSHA also offers some resources and training outlines.

If employees operate their own vehicles for business, they are considered a representative of your company while driving. To protect your reputation, you should ensure that the employee has a valid drivers’ license. It is in your best interest to obtain proof that they have insurance on their vehicle. To take it a step beyond that, you might have basic standards that the vehicle and or insurance must meet, including passing an inspection or setting minimum limits of insurance above the state requirements. You are encouraged to speak with your broker or agent about this exposure for more customized recommendations, including whether you need to carry insurance to protect your company.

If employees operate company vehicles for business, you should have a Fleet Program in place. This formalizes any driver safety standards that you might have, including who is authorized to operate company vehicles. The program should include a policy regarding the use of cell phones and hands-free devices, as well as, a requirement to inspect vehicles on a regular basis. Vehicle maintenance should be documented. For more information regarding Fleet Safety Programs, check out GoSafe and this Fact Sheet from Cal OSHA..

The need for a Fall Prevention Plan varies depending on whether you work in construction or general industry and is based on the distance to the surface below and/or exposure to dangerous equipment below the work area.

Because of the frequency and severity of injuries from falls, OSHA pays close attention to this exposure and has developed some great resources for training employees including their Fall Prevention Campaign which provides toolbox talks on Aerial Devices and Elevating Equipment, Fall Protection, Roofing, Ladder Safety and a Scaffold eTool. Requirements are more stringent in general industry with a plan required if employees work at heights of 4 feet or higher.

Requirements for construction require planning, proper equipment and knowledgeable employees. The federal requirement requires fall protection at heights of 6 feet. Some states, like California, have different triggers. Always consider your state requirements when developing your safety plan; however, remember that ultimately, as the employer, you are responsible for your employee’s safety.

Fall Protection Plans must be designed by a competent person and should be specific to each work site, even jobsites, and include a fall rescue plan. Some resources are available online including a template for a plan for Residential Construction. Resources are also available in GoSafe.

Employees who service and repair machines and equipment can be injured when that equipment is accidentally activated or if it has stored energy that releases during service. A Lock Out Tag Out Program is intended to protect employees from potential injury due to energy. By following lock out tag out procedures, the likelihood of a machine accidentally being activated while under repair is reduced.

Lock Out Tag Out procedures are specific to each company and each piece of equipment. Employee training must be in place for affected employees. There are two levels of training since some employees must lock out equipment while others merely need to be aware of what the locks and tags mean so as not to interfere with the procedure. Resources are available in GoSafe and from OSHA.

A Blood Borne Pathogens (BBP) Program is important to any job in the healthcare industry, including home health care workers, but it is also part of a variety of industries that might not have considered this an exposure. Think education, plumbing, and hospitality. If there is any chance that an employee could come into contact with bodily fluids, whether from changing diapers or due to the possibility that a used syringe could be found, this program should be in place and employees should be trained.

In the medical field, the term Universal Precautions is often used to reference practices also used for BBP. The purpose of both is to ensure that people are protected from illnesses that can be found in bodily fluids.

As part of a BBP Program, employees must be offered the Hepatitis B Vaccine, although they may decline it. Employees should know what to do if there is an exposure to bodily fluids and the equipment to handle this must be available.

A sample program is available from OSHA. Training and a program template are also available in GoSafe.

If your employees are required to use a respirator, a Respiratory Protection Plan is required. A written program has several components including medical evaluations and annual fit testing. The employer is also required to select the proper respiratory protection.

If employees use a respirator only on a voluntary basis, the requirements are slightly different; however, a written program and a medical evaluation are still required.

Employees must be trained on the proper use, storage and maintenance of respirators. California’s Department of OSHA has compiled some good resources available for the use of respirators. GoSafe has a template and training available.

If the work area is not intended for continuous occupancy and the means of exit or entry are restricted, but an employee can fit into the space to do work, it meets the requirements for a confined space. If employees are advised not to enter this area, but subcontractors or vendors are brought on site who do have to enter it, you still need to address this exposure including notifying the outside company.

If, in addition to the three elements of a confined space, the space also involves a chemical, atmospheric, mechanical or other hazard, it may be considered a permit-required confined space. Permit-required confined space entry requires the use of an attendant to monitor the work in the confined space and prevent entry by other persons or accidental startup of equipment. It also requires a plan for rescue. It is important to note that entry into the confined space may not be possible depending on the hazard creating the need for rescue. This must be factored into the rescue plan.

There are significant exposures created by working in confined spaces including, but not limited to, asphyxiation, entrapment, engulfment, electrocution or exposure to unguarded machinery. Each space must be evaluated to identify the potential hazards and address them prior to entry. Depending on the space, there may be a need to monitor the air quality, to ensure no flammable gases are present, to ensure the employee cannot become entrapped or engulfed by grain, sand or some other material, or to check or monitor for other potential health hazards. Lock Out Tag Out may need to be implemented for entry into some spaces.

Confined space is another exposure that requires specific planning for the company and for each individual space. The space should be evaluated by a knowledgeable and competent person. Employees must receive training and the program must be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Extensive resources are available in GoSafe.

You may need to implement a Hearing Conservation Program. The purpose of a hearing conservation program is to prevent hearing loss, which usually occurs gradually over time without anyone realizing an injury is occurring. While hearing can be damaged suddenly, most industrial hearing loss takes place due to long term exposure.

Once hearing is lost, the damage cannot be corrected. Hearing loss is incredibly common in certain industries; it is also preventable with administrative and engineering controls, personal protective equipment and employee training.

OSHA requires that an employer take action if sound levels meet or exceed the action level of 85 decibels on average over an 8-hour period. The action level is based both on how loud the noise is and how the length of exposure to that level of sound. For example, a louder sound level exposure can be sustained for a shorter time period before action must be taken.

To determine if the action level is exceeded, a noise survey is often completed. Signs that your workplace likely needs a hearing conservation plan include employees complaining of ringing or humming in their ears or temporary hearing loss when leaving work and the need to shout or speak loudly to be heard in the workplace. If you have noticed any of these signs, take action.

If you need a Hearing Conservation Program, the following elements are required:

  1. Monitor noise exposure levels
  2. Implement controls to reduce sound levels when possible (engineering, administrative or work practices)
  3. Provide hearing protection when controls are not adequate or feasible
  4. Train employees
  5. Provide baseline and conduct annual audiometric testing of affected employees
  6. Set procedures to prevent further occupational hearing loss when/if it has been identified
  7. Maintain records

In addition to preventing hearing loss, you may find that addressing noise levels prevents accidents. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the likelihood of accidents can be increased by noise when it:

  1. Impedes hearing or understanding of either speech or signals
  2. Is so loud that workers can’t hear approaching equipment or back up alarms
  3. Becomes a distraction
  4. Increases stress levels

Click here to view a loudness comparison chart.

Assess

Once you have identified the hazards that exist in your workplace, you must assess them to determine the best way to address them. These are your basic options:

You will also need to develop appropriate safety programs to address your hazards. This is where Atlas can help. For Falls Lake, StarStone and Accredited policyholders, we provide free access to online resources for safety.

GoSafe offers safety program templates, outlines for employee training, PowerPoint presentations, streaming videos, and an HR Library. GoSafe also includes Training Track which helps with scheduling and monitoring training, and documentation. Each template can be customized to address your operations and the safety guidelines that you want to have in place.

Your GoSafe username and password were automatically sent to you by email when your policy was issued. If you are not able to locate this email, please request assistance from .

Implement

Now that you know what your hazards are and you’ve developed your programs, you need to implement your programs and Atlas is here to help. For Falls Lake, StarStone and Accredited policyholders, we provide free access to online resources for safety.

GoSafe offers safety program templates, outlines for employee training, PowerPoint presentations, streaming videos, and a HR and Benefits Library. GoSafe also includes Training Track which helps with scheduling and monitoring training, and documentation.

Atlas also built industry safety kits in GoSafe that organize program templates, training topics and other resources applicable to different industries including artisan contractors, automotive services, healthcare, hospitality, landscape and agriculture, manufacturing, property management, restaurant, and transportation and parcel delivery. For quick access to the training applicable to your industry and the program templates, review the safety kits under Atlas General Insurance Content in the Risk Management Library in GoSafe.

To fully implement your programs, you must provide employee training on each program that applies. Resources to train on each program are available in GoSafe and in the Safety Kits, if you need them. All training can be customized to reflect your company’s policies.

Your GoSafe username and password were automatically sent to you by email when your policy was issued. If you are not able to locate this email, please request assistance from .

Maintain

Review and monitor your programs, claims and operations on a regular basis. When you identify new hazards or things that aren’t working as planned, make corrections and retrain your employees.

Regular employee training is a must to maintain a good safety foundation. Your managers are a vital component of a solid safety culture and must be on board. Expect to have to enforce safety rules on a regular basis. As your safety culture improves, this will happen less and less.

Atlas also built industry safety kits in GoSafe that organize program templates, training topics and other resources applicable to different industries including artisan contractors, automotive services, healthcare, hospitality, landscape and agriculture, manufacturing, property management, restaurant, and transportation and parcel delivery. For quick access to the training applicable to your industry and the program templates, review the safety kits under Atlas General Insurance Content in the Risk Management Library in GoSafe.

Safety reminders and retraining will help your entire team stay on track. Conduct regularly scheduled safety training meetings addressing a variety of applicable topics. Topics can be found in GoSafe using the search feature or check out Atlas’ handy Safety Kits located under Atlas General Insurance Content in the Risk Management Library in GoSafe.

GoSafe is a great resource for safety training topics and it’s free to our policyholders! Your GoSafe username and password were automatically sent to you by email when your policy was issued. If you are not able to locate this email, please request assistance from .

Loss Control Services

In some cases, a Loss Control consultant may contact you to follow up on safety concerns or ask to review your operations and tour your facility.

It is our goal to assist you with creating and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees. We are available to answer questions about safety programs and OSHA requirements and we may be able to direct you to helpful resources. Please contact us if you need assistance.