It’s Time to Update Your Safety Program

It’s Time to Update Your Safety Program

Did you know that OSHA requires you to review and update your safety program at least once every year?  This includes documenting which employees participated in training sessions.  January is the perfect time to review your safety program—and make sure it is up-to-date.

Who Needs a Safety Program?

Any company that has hazards—such as electrical, chemical, airborne, or bloodborne—is required by OSHA to create a safety plan.  The safety plan must be updated once per year.
“Today, every business in the world has hazards,” said Tom Smith, Director of Safety Consulting and Training for IBT, and a specialist on OSHA training requirements.  He frequently conducts safety training for IBT customers, and provides consultation on their safety programs, helping them to identify gaps in their safety measures and making their training more interactive.
“At a minimum, all employees need to be aware of the hazards and how to deal with them,” Smith said.

Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Updates Safety Programs Regularly

Maria Butkovich, Safety Health and Environmental Engineer for Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company, has worked with Smith’s team since 2002.  They routinely hire IBT to do safety compliance audits, employee training, occupational exposure monitoring, and general safety program review.
Butkovich said that the training and consulting they have received from Smith’s team has helped them to reduce their overall number of injuries and incidents.
“Getting our safety training and safety program consultation from IBT has been a huge help for us,” Butkovich said.  “It has really improved the safety performance and compliance in our plant in Kansas City, and has made everyone more knowledgeable.”

Immediate Payback

Smith said that the regulations work. “Work environments are much safer overall today than they were before OSHA,” he said. “Companies with safety programs have fewer illnesses and injuries.” In fact, in the four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed into law, workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses have been reduced by more than 60%.
However, many company owners hesitate to start an official safety program, fearing it will be a large expense that won’t bring a good return.  In reality, Smith said, owners see payback almost immediately.
“Businesses that maintain an updated safety program not only have lower worker’s comp rates, they also have a lower risk of lawsuits and fines from OSHA,” he said.

Popular Safety Training

Smith said that the most popular safety hazard training requested from IBT includes:

  • Respiratory Protection
  • Hazard Communication
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Arc Flash Hazard
  • Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Updating Your Safety Program

Smith also recommends updating your safety program after the New Year’s holiday every January.  He suggests that companies ask themselves 4 questions:

  • Is management committed to a safe and healthy work environment?  If not, then what needs to be done?
  • Have any new hazards arisen at your worksite in the past year?  Have you added these to your safety program?
  • Do your employees follow OSHA’s recommended hierarchy of:  engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment?
  • Does your training program follow OSHA’s 7-step training model?

“The bottom line is, OSHA can issue a citation and a fine you if you do not have documented safety training for your employees,” Smith said.  “Both the hassle and expense can be eliminated by an effective review of your safety program.”

For more information contact Tom Smith at (816) 699-3968 or tsmith@ibtinc.com.

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