Safetip #76: Encourage Workers to Report Safety & Health Concerns

April 26, 2017

This week’s Safetip is about worker participation in a safety and health program, and encouraging workers to provide input.

OSHA makes available Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs that provide a framework for addressing workplace safety and health issues. There are also separate recommended practices for the construction industry, but there are a lot of similarities between the two documents.

Worker Participation Improves a Safety and Health Program

One of the core elements of OSHA’s recommended practices is worker participation. To be effective, a safety and health program needs the meaningful participation of workers, who also have much to gain from a successful program, OSHA says.

Workers are often best positioned to identify safety and health concerns, such as workplace hazards, unsafe conditions, near misses, and actual incidents. By encouraging reporting and following up promptly on all reports, employers can address issues before an injury or illness occurs. Here are the five steps outlined by OSHA to encourage workers to report safety and health concerns:

1) Establish a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, close calls/near misses, hazards, and other safety and health concerns, and respond to reports promptly. Include an option for anonymous reporting to reduce fear of reprisal.

2) Report back to workers routinely and frequently about action taken in response to their concerns and suggestions.

3) Emphasize that management will use reported information only to improve workplace safety and health, and that no worker will experience retaliation for bringing such information to management’s attention.

4) Empower all workers to initiate or request a temporary suspension or shutdown of any work activity or operation they believe to be unsafe.

5) Involve workers in finding solutions to reported issues.

Mobility Encourages Workers to Report Issues

One effective way to encourage workers to report issues is by using . By making it very easy and convenient for workers to report issues through their smartphones, tablets or smartwatches, organizations can increase worker participation in a safety and health program. Workers can improve the program by reporting observations, at-risk and unsafe behaviors and conditions, and near misses that may reveal workplace hazards, all with just a few taps using a . Mobile devices can also be used to capture and report incidents, and to receive safety alerts in real time.

Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a new Safetip!

View the recording of our webinar “From Compliance to Pro-Active Safety with Mobility” to learn how Lendlease, a global leader in construction and real estate, is leveraging mobility to encourage workers to report observations.

Webinar: From Compliance to Pro-Active Safety with Mobility