Workplace Safety Factors

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify factors that contribute to workplace safety

Decorative image.According to OSHA, most successful safety and health programs are based on a common set of key elements that include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards. OSHA’s Safe and Sound page provides resources to support the development of a Safe + Sound Program and promotes an annual Safe + Sound week (August 12–19 in 2019). Resources include a variety of why and how materials including videos/webinars, tip sheets, course offerings and recommended practices.

There are three core elements of effective safety and health programs:

  1. Management Leadership
  2. Worker Participation
  3. Find & Fix

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.

Management Leadership

Executive commitment to implementing a program and using it to drive continuous improvements in safety and health.

Associated action items:

  • Developing and communicating a safety and health policy statement.
  • Providing the resources needed to implement and operate the program.
  • Factoring safety and health into operational planning and decisions.
  • Recognizing or rewarding safety and health contributions and achievements.
  • Leading by example, by practicing safe behaviors and making safety part of daily conversations.
  • Additional perspective and specifics in OSHA’s Be Safe + Sound at Work: Management Leadership Guide

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Worker Participation

Effective safety and health programs tap into workers’ collective experience, knowledge, and insight in order to find solutions to workplace safety and health challenges.

Opportunities for worker participation include:

  • Developing the initial program design.
  • Reporting incidents (including near misses) so they can be investigated.
  • Analyzing hazards associated with routine and nonroutine jobs, tasks, and processes.
  • Defining and documenting safe work practices.
  • Conducting site inspections and incident investigations.
  • Training current coworkers and new hires.
  • Evaluating program performance and identifying ways to improve it.
  • Additional perspective and specifics in OSHA’s Be Safe + Sound at Work: Worker Participation

Find & Fix

Developing a systematic process for identifying and controlling (i.e., finding and fixing) workplace hazards is at the core of every effective safety and health program.

A systematic approach includes:

    • Involving workers, who often have the best understanding of the conditions that create hazards and insights into how they can be controlled.
    • Reviewing all available information about hazards that might be present.
    • Conducting inspections to identify new or emerging hazards.
    • Investigating incidents to identify root causes and potential solutions.
    • Evaluating options using the “hierarchy of controls.”
    • Considering how to protect workers during emergencies and nonroutine activities.
    • Checking that existing controls are intact and remain effective.
    • Additional perspective and specifics in OSHA’s Be Safe + Sound at Work: Find & Fix Hazards Resource Guide