June 12–18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held off its inaugural Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event similar to the successful National Safety Stand Down week each May. OSHA intends events like these to raise awareness of safety and health issues and programs to help employers and employees create and maintain a safe workplace.
According to OSHA, an investment in proactive measures to promote safety can improve a company's profitability by preventing costly accidents before they happen. This makes an effective safety culture a core issue for business operations as well as promise to fulfill to workers to go home safe and sound at the end of every shift or work day.
"These types of outreach programs that engage employers are a great way for OSHA make a positive impression on safety in the workplace," said Wesley Wheeler, NECA's director of safety. "It is great for OSHA to provide assistance and resources that safety professionals can use to make our job sites safer."
To participate, companies followed a three-step process complete with documentation provided by OSHA to promote activities and hold public events. These participants gained certification for their efforts and virtual badges they could use online. Many others participated through social media and other online forums, using the hashtag #SafeAndSound. The event had five co-sponsors and 96 partners, including the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
"Workplace safety and health incidents hurt workers and their families, and they cost businesses' capital better invested in growing their business and creating jobs," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kim Stille in a press release. "By identifying and controlling job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, businesses can improve their safety and health programs, save money and improve competitiveness."
“Our nation has made great strides in raising awareness about the importance of workplace safety, yet more than four million workers suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses annually," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in a statement. "We can do better."
According to an OSHA press release, effective safety programs share three core elements:
- Management leadership. Top management commits to establishing, maintaining and improving the program continually and provides necessary resources.
- Worker participation. Employers invite workers to identify solutions. Improved worker engagement can lead to better productivity, higher job satisfaction and worker retention, which can lower turnover and recruitment costs.
- A systematic "find and fix" approach. Employers and workers examine their workplaces, proactively and routinely, to identify and address hazards before they can cause injury or illness.
The event encourages participating organizations to hold events that focus on the three core elements of management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing hazards.
For a full list of sponsors and partners, visit https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/cosponsors.html.
For more about OSHA's Safe + Sound Week, visit www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek.