Let’s go ahead and imagine a scenario.

It’s midway through March of last year.

You’ve been working at the same manufacturing company for almost 15 years now. You’ve developed a real relationship with your boss, the Safety Director that you’ve been reporting to since you started here. However, once the pandemic hit, she cut her losses and decided to take an early retirement. Your new boss, on the other hand, was trained as a COO in the corporate sphere, and he’s all about keeping costs down. He doesn’t want to hear about the risks of putting safety on the back burner.

It’s now fallen to you to make sure your company safety program doesn’t get thrown to the wayside, and standards of safety and compliance don’t regress just because you’ve hit hard times.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What are safety programs? What makes a good safety program? Does OSHA actually require a safety program?

These are all undoubtedly important questions.

When you’re trying to implement safety program ideas, it’s very important to remember that even though some of your co-workers – in this instance, even your boss – might not fully understand the necessity of these regulations and their implementation and enforcement.

That’s okay.

Over time, you will need to work to educate them on why regulatory and preventative compliance are vitally important. Showing them a big picture view of what top safety programs look like can be extremely helpful, and paints a picture of how hazards can be mitigated through process and an established company culture.

A good bird’s-eye view, so to speak, might be a good place to start. So, what are five elements of safety?

1. Responsibility
This is a core, foundational value in all companies with a strong culture of safety. Without deeply-rooted feelings of responsibility to their fellow employees, and organization as a whole, encouraging your co-workers to create a safety culture can be like pulling teeth.

2. Accountability
Accountability has to start at the top and work its way down. Managers (both mid-level managers and upper management) need to hold their employees accountable for company safety and set a strong precedent. The importance of training workers in safety simply cannot be overstated.

3. Clear Expectations
Safety expectations need to be set and agreed upon by everyone in the company organization. Simply having an idea of what “safe” looks like is just not enough. Having a defined set of rules and regulations encourages employee involvement, broader corporate change and get yourself on the track for upward progress when it comes to your safety programs.

4. Ethics
Ethical decision-making is paramount in creating a healthy and safe work environment. The people that you bring on to your team should be capable of leading with rational judgement, embracing your organization’s core values, and contributing to your company’s culture of safety.

5. Evaluation
The best safety programs are those that are embraced throughout a workplace, from top to bottom. According to OSHA itself, “Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior.”

If you don’t know where to begin, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Berg Compliance Solutions today. We offer free company safety program templates, downloadable safety programs, guidance, and other helpful resources.