Safetip #78: Safety & Health Management System Surveys

May 10, 2017
By Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

This week’s Safetip is about conducting surveys to assess your safety and health management system, and covering the basics during a survey.

Assess Perceptions of Safety & Health at Work

Surveys that assess your safety and health management system allow you to see how safety and health are perceived in your organization. These perceptions can provide valuable opportunities for improvement. According to a BLR article, in addition to assessing your processes and programs, you should also develop company- or site-specific questions that capture management and employee perceptions. Your safety committee can be used to develop and analyze the survey.

Cover the Basics

When developing the survey, be sure to cover the basics. Michigan OSHA makes available a Microsoft Excel-based safety and health management system perception survey that includes 80 individual items to score. The file also includes a spreadsheet that calculates automatically the total percentage score by using a system where a maximum of 5 points are given for each item.

Here’s a sample of important items on Michigan OSHA’s survey:

1) Top Management Commitment

  • A written policy that sets a high priority for safety and health exists.
  • The workplace safety and health policy is supported by management.
  • Managers participate in the safety and health training of employees.
  • Management insists on compliance as demonstrated by effective enforcement of safety and health policies and rules.
  • Each assignment of safety and health responsibility is clearly communicated.
  • Supervisors know whether employees are meeting their safety and health responsibilities.

2) Employee Involvement

  • There is a process designed to involve employees in safety and health issues.
  • The workplace safety and health policy is effectively communicated to employees.
  • Employees use the hazard reporting system.
  • Injury/Illness data analyses are reported to employees.
  • Hazard control procedures are communicated to potentially affected employees.

3) Safety and Health Training

  • An organized safety and health training program exists.
  • Employee training covers hazards of the workplace.
  • New employee orientation includes applicable safety and health information.
  • Employees demonstrate understanding of safety and health policies, rules, and procedures.
  • Supervisors are effectively trained on all applicable hazards.
  • Supervisors are trained on all site-specific preventative measures and controls relevant to their needs and supervisory responsibilities.

4) Hazard Prevention and Control

  • A comprehensive baseline hazard survey has been conducted within the past five years.
  • Effective job hazard analysis (JHA) is performed, as needed.
  • Effective safety and health inspections are performed regularly.
  • Effective surveillance of established hazard controls is conducted.
  • An effective hazard reporting system exists.
  • Change analysis is performed whenever a change in facilities, equipment, materials or processes occurs.
  • Hazards are eliminated or controlled promptly.
  • An early return-to-work program is in place at the facility.

5) Worksite Analysis

  • Incidents/Accidents are investigated for root-cause.
  • Investigations are conducted, not to find fault, but to improve systems.
  • Investigators are trained in procedures and root-cause analysis.
  • Analysis involves all interested parties.
  • Workplace injury/illness data are effectively analyzed.
  • Hazard controls are monitored to assure continued effectiveness.
  • A review of the overall safety and health management system is conducted at least annually.

You can use Michigan OSHA’s survey, or develop your own survey by selecting individual items that you find relevant to your needs.

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