OSHA launches ‘Safe and Sound’ campaign to stem workplace fatalities
OSHA has launched what it’s calling its "Safe and Sound Campaign," urging Kansas employers, among others, to review and improve safety and health programs to help protect workers and reduce workplace injuries and deaths.
The "Safe and Sound" initiative was created in response to a recent rise in worksite fatalities in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The agency cited confined space entry, trenching and excavating, and being struck by motor vehicles as the main causes for the increased number of fatalities.
OSHA noted that companies nationwide spend $1 billion per week on worker's compensation.
"Workplace safety and health incidents hurt workers and their families, and they cost businesses' capital better invested in growing their business and creating jobs," said Kim Stille, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "By identifying and controlling job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, businesses can improve their safety and health programs, save money and improve competitiveness."
OSHA said it has initiated 12 fatality inspections in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska since Oct. 1, 2016 – up from seven for the same period from Oct. 1, 2015 to Feb. 1, 2016.
The agency said effective safety programs share three core elements:
- Management leadership. Top management commits to establishing, maintaining and improving the program continually, and provides any necessary resources.
- Worker participation. Employers invite workers to identify solutions. Improved worker engagement can lead to better productivity, higher job satisfaction and worker retention – lowering turnover and recruitment costs.
- A systematic "find and fix" approach. Employers and workers examine their workplaces, proactively and routinely, to identify and address hazards before they can cause injury or illness.
Employers seeking to create a safety and health program should know that the process doesn't have to be complicated or demand outside consultants be employed; there are some simple, do-it-yourself steps to get started. OSHA's "Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs" page offers practical advice on how any organization can integrate safety and health programs.
"We don't want businesses, especially small ones, to believe they cannot afford to protect their workers. OSHA provides good safety information and will work with employers to help them comply with safety and health standards," Stille said.