The importance of a documented Safety Plan

Benefits of a Good documented safety plan.Protects the employees’ well-being
Reduces the amount of money paid out in:
Health insurance benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits and wages for temporary help.

Saves cost of:
  • Lost-work hours (days away from work or restricted hours or job transfer),
  • Time spent in orienting temporary help
  • Programs and services that may suffer due to fewer employees

Safety can never be managed on a campaign basis. Effective safety management must be ongoing. The effort devoted to safety gives a good return, not only in terms of a reduction in the cost of medical and workers’ compensation, but also in greater productivity, improved product, better employee relations, and an overall operation improvement.

If safety goals are not set at zero, an employer sends a message to employees that severe and disabling incidents are acceptable.

One must understand that the safety culture must be viewed similar to a quality program. The zero incidents concept must be agreed upon and understood by management first. Management leaders that demonstrate a personal commitment and genuine interest to safety can have a substantial impact on any organization.

This coupled with employee participation and management support is one of the key success factors in any safety program.

  • If you take a look at safety management principles, they show us that about 96% of all incidents are caused by unsafe acts of people or unsafe conditions. So in times past the worker was always blamed for accidents
  • If you relate these two theories together and think about what has been stated, management has control of employee actions and thus control of the entire safety system.
  • Clearly, management controls the purse strings.

    If you have ever studied the successes of Dr. Deming, you will find that some of his philosophies can be adapted to safety quite well. According to Dr. Edward Deming, 94% of the problems in business are due to lack of management commitment.

    * We must adopt a safety culture that fits the needs of the organization. YOU’RE ORGANIZATION

    Allow for continuous improvement

    We should continually be updating and adding to our safety plan based on incident investigations, inspections, safety committee recommendations, etc.

    • Hold monthly meetings
    • Hold monthly workplace safety inspections
    • Run quarterly loss analysis-review injury and illness records
    • Make advisory recommendations to your companies managers
    • May include specific safety programs such as:
    • Back injury prevention
    • Hazard communications
    • Fleet safety
    • Emergency response
Review of Accident/Incident investigation reports

Programs should be reviewed at least yearly by committee to ensure quality and effectiveness and compliance with all codes.

Worksite Analysis

  • Analyze all workplace conditions to identify and eliminate existing or potential hazards.
  • An outline of the procedure for reporting hazards
  • Perform analysis on a regular and timely basis.
  • Make certain all employees know and understand current hazard analysis for all jobs and processes.
  • Focus workplace design on all physical aspects of the work environment, including the following:
    Size and arrangement of work space Physical demands of the tasks to be performed Design of tools and other devices people use
  • The fundamental goal of a workplace design is to improve people’s ability to be productive, without error or accident, for extended time periods. Proper workplace design improves both safety and productivity.
  • We want to eliminate hazards during the design or planning stages of a project
  • Review incident causes, inspection results to help identify trends
  • Knowledge of Emergency Response Plans and procedures and participation in drills

Employee Safety Training Records are among the first things that an OSHA inspector wants to see when an OSHA compliance audit is performed at your company. Proper documentation provides legal protection and also prevents the accidents from happening in the first place.  


Documenting Safety training should happen as soon as you hire an employee. Documenting new hire orientations and worker training is the beginning of having a good documented safety program.


Make sure every employee you hire receives a physical copy of your written safety plan. If you anticipate there will be workers whose first language isn’t English, have someone draft a copy of the plan in another language as well. Having your workers fully comprehend your written plan doesn’t just save you from legal issues but protects your workers lives as well.

When you have a written program in place, it can help prevent drug and alcohol use on the jobsite as well. Have your employees sign a document that says they won’t be under the influence while on the job.

Part of your Safety Program should include pre-drug/alcohol screens, regular and random checks.

Doing a pre-health screen will also show if there are pre-existing illnesses or injuries.

Log your employees hours on the type of work he or she performs for advancement and employee review. Set standards and time frame for Apprenticeship Hours and other skill levels they may achieve.  

When and if a request comes for you to show your records to OSHA, you want to be able to reach into your files and bring forth a folder bulging with meeting sign-in sheets, which include: 

  • Company Safety Training Manual
  • Safety Meeting Documents…including:
  • a) Date of the meeting
  • b) Topics discussed
  • c) Names of all attendees printed and signed.
  • Accident investigation forms,
  • Hazard communication documentation
  • Initial training verification,
  • Hands-on/field training verification,
  • Equipment inspections,
  • Job site hazard assessments
  • Employee skills and safety evaluations
  • Re-training verification

Other important forms to include are:

  • Accident Investigation & Reporting Form
  • Employee Training Verification for Each Chapter
  • Employee Training Verification for Field Use Training
  • Employee Evaluations for Safety
  • Site Inspection Form (Job Hazard Analysis)
  • Equipment Inspection Forms
  • Safety Meeting Attendance Forms

A copy of the topic sheet discussed at the meeting should also be stapled to the attendance record. If your training record is substantial in size and if a cursory examination of attendance records and topic sheets indicates that real training pertinent to your operation has occurred, you win! OSHA Compliance Officers like to see thick training record folders!

At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety and Security.

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Jeffrey Scott
This month we interview Jeffrey Scott from Wisconsin, who comes from a family of window cleaners.