Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs. In addition, it offers ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe. Last year, more than 5,300 businesses helped to raise awareness about workers’ health and safety. All organizations looking for an opportunity to highlight their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. (Sign up here) Further, participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.
Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness. This naturally improves sustainability and the bottom line. Serious job-related injuries or illnesses don’t just hurt workers and their families but can hurt businesses in a variety of ways. However, implementing a safety and health program can improve businesses’ safety and health performance, save money, and improve competitiveness.
Safety and health programs help businesses:
- Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
- Improve compliance with laws and regulations
- Reduce costs, including reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
- Engage workers
- Enhance social responsibility goals
- Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations
At the core of every effective safety and health program is a systematic process for identifying and minimizing workplace hazards. Traditional approaches to finding and fixing workplace hazards are often reactive. Therefore, actions are often taken only after a worker is injured or becomes sick. Often the injury is followed by a new standard or regulation. Other times an outside inspection finds a problem that must be fixed.
Finding and fixing hazards using a proactive approach is far more effective. Dangers can be addressed before they cause injury or illness. Workplaces are constantly changing as new technologies, processes, materials, and workers are introduced. Using a systematic approach, businesses can safely manage emerging hazards that could lead to injury or illness.
Workers often know the most about potential hazards associated with their jobs. Therefore, the most effective safety and health programs rely on workers’ collective experience and insight in order to find solutions to workplace safety and health challenges. Workers are more invested when they are involved in finding solutions.
Workers can participate in many ways, including:
- Developing the initial program design.
- Reporting incidents (including near misses) so they can be investigated.
- Analyzing hazards associated with routine and nonroutine jobs, tasks, and processes.
- Defining and documenting safe work practices.
- Conducting site inspections and incident investigations.
- Training current coworkers and new hires.
- Evaluating program performance and identifying ways to improve it.
Participating in Safe + Sound week can be just the beginning. Safe + Sound is a year-round campaign to encourage every workplace to have a safety and health program. Soon we will share some challenges intended to keep the momentum going.
Making sure all employees have a safe workplace is the goal.