Safety Program Development Guides

Guides and discussion for developing topic specific workplace safety management programs. The first step in developing specific safety programs is to understand specific concepts and applications that OSHA regulations have on your workplace.

Establishing Safety Responsibilities

Every level in the company has responsibilities for safety. With responsibility comes the need for accountability. OSHA holds company management accountable and management must hold managers, supervisors and employees accountable

Responsibilities must be well defined and not overlapped. In the general sense, responsibilities include making decisions, implementing policy, monitoring effectiveness, providing feedback and doing things correctly and when required. For a person to fulfill their responsibilities, they must have the performance authority and capabilities.

When assigning responsibilities for safety program actions, ensure that they are assigned to the correct person and correct level of management. Specific responsibilities need to be provided in writing in the most simple, direct language possible so each person knows what part they play.

Sufficient authority is needed for carrying out responsibilities. It does no good, for example, to assign forklift operators the responsibilities of taking unsafe equipment out-of-service if the real decision is made by their supervisor

Ability of a person to carry out responsibilities must also be considered. This goes beyond simply seeing that they have been adequately trained. Ability also means a person has the skills for evaluation of circumstances, decision making and people skills for implementation of required. Action.

Responsibilities for each level of your organization are needed for each written program. These responsibilities should be as behaviorally descriptive and specific as possible. Assign responsibilities to the lowest level possible consistent with authority and ability. Also ensure that the level of responsibility is assigned where it can be most effective and successfully completed.

General management responsibilities

General management refers to the highest level of company operations. Responsibilities are to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. To this end, general management has the responsibility for:
• Assignment of personnel and resources
• Development of programs and procedures
• Safety program audits and corrective actions

Department & Facility Manager

Department & Facility Manager responsibilities should include specific actions for safety programs that apply to the hazards in their departments. These include:
• Providing adequate and effective training
• Accident and incident investigation
• Providing required personal protective equipment
• Evaluating supervisor performance
• Periodic facility inspections
• Employee involvement
• Correction of specific audit & inspection discrepancies

Safety Manager

Safety Manager responsibilities should include:
• Advising general management on effective means of establishing, monitoring and improving workplace safety
• Proving department/facility managers with resources and information covering their responsibilities
• Providing management with regulatory requirements and implementation solutions
• Development of programs, record keeping, training, audit, and inspection procedures and documents
• Coordination of Safety & Health programs
• Auditing Safety & Health programs
• Providing procedures for Job Hazard Analysis
• Promoting safety awareness
• Overseeing safety record keeping

Safety Committee

Safety Committee responsibilities should include:
• Being an on-the-floor safety asset to managers & supervisors
• Providing job specific safety recommendation
• Assisting in workplace inspections


Supervisor responsibilities should include:
• Monitoring and enforcing safety procedures
• Immediate correction of unsafe acts or conditions
• Providing job specific safety training
• Initial investigation of accidents & incidents
• Ensuring equipment and tools are in safe condition
• Work area safety checks


Employee safety responsibilities should include:
• Following specific safety rules & procedures
• Reporting of unsafe acts or conditions
• Operation of only equipment & tools for which they have been trained and specifically authorized to use.
• Immediate reporting of any accidents, injuries or illnesses

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