Safety, like all organizational priorities, must be planned. This is a legal expectation for employers and is codified into law under the OSH Act or Occupational Health and Safety law.
Among other formal minimum safety and health standards, employers are required under the OSHA General Duty Clause to: “provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious injury or death”. This requires an effective safety management system. In safety, this is the American National Standards Institutes “ANSI Z 10” Safety Management System standard. Similar to other management processes, it centers around 3 main elements that form a cycle of continuous improvement (e.g., Plan, Do, Check and Act).
When assessing your level of safety, compliance or risk, ask the question “Am I a Bull, Gambler or Ostrich”?
Bulls are proactive and have a comprehensive plan with two-way communication that includes assessment, prevention, controls and training. The attitude for Bulls is “don’t let it happen”!
Gamblers usually have formal written plans that are not followed, top-down support (for legal reasons)and usually only when legally required. The attitude is “it can’t happen again”!
Ostriches true to their name bury their heads in the sand. At the ostrich level, you generally find no formal program. Everyone is on the honor system. There is limited documentation and disjointed communication between leadership and employees. The attitude reflects “it will never happen to us!”
Which one are you?