Let 2013 Be the Year That Gets Your Head in the Safety Game

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It is almost a new year and a great time to get your head in the safety game. Using the holiday as a trigger to prompt safety meetings and create dialog to understand your successes and failures and ultimately chart your safety course is a good way to start the New Year. Triggers are used for many activities, safety not excluded; for example, we use the changing of the clocks as a trigger to replace batteries in smoke alarms in residential homes. Take the opportunity of the change into 2013 as a time to run through a six-point check list and have meetings to set the course for your organization for the year ahead.

The Six-Point New Year Safety Checklist

The focus of this effort is to get the organization engaged with electrical safety at the beginning of the year, sparking team energy that will start your year off in the right direction. Your organization is not just the CEO, the safety committee, management, or the employees. Your organization is everyone. Everyone has a role to play. The six points are not meant to dig into details and implementation – that is left to your team since everyone has a role to play in these details. How you are or will address each of these items in your organization is the discussion that needs to happen with your team. Your direction/action will not be the same as others. Every organization and their circumstances will be unique. The implementation plan should be written down for years to come. This gets more and more important as the size of the organization increases and there are more individuals to communicate with and track.

I have placed the following suggested points in a specific order as they build on each other. This list should prompt you and your team to dig deeper in one or more meetings. Because your team should already be doing the right things from a safety perspective, the following should be able to get the entire team moving rather quickly.

Annual Performance Review

This is your report card that shows how well your plan worked last year. Reviewing this data as a team should help identify concerns and issues that need to be addressed. Take this time to possibly set goals and consider the IEC-CNA Safety Award program as a goal for your organization. Key statistics like total hours worked, number of injuries, number of cases with days away from work, and other recordable data points are just a few that should be collected over time. Some organizations elect to record “near misses” as a way to identify  areas where improvements can be made.

A good start  is to reference  the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) form  300, 
"OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” which is a free  download on OSHA’s website. This document provides guidance on what data to track and includes:

•  Total number of deaths;

•  Total number of cases with days away from work;

•  Total  number  of  cases with job transfer or restriction;

•  Total number of other recordable cases;

•  Total number of days away from work;

•  Total number of days of job transfer or restriction;

and

•  Number of injuries, skin disorders, respiratory conditions, poisonings, hearing loss and all other illnesses.

This document provides a lot more guidance and is a key input to the IEC-CNA Safety Award program.

You will also need to get beyond the numbers to identify the areas of concern and identify improvements that can be made. This is where the near miss data and background around each event can come in handy. Some organizations elect