Companies considered to be the best of the best when it comes to workplace safety, have realized that achieving workplace safety in the United States takes more than complying with regulations. In fact representatives of these organizations will be quick to point out that regulatory compliance is merely the starting point when it comes to achieving workplace safety.
Safety is the outcome of having successfully managed risk. In other words, manage your risk and you will achieve safety. The key word here… is “Manage”. Some of the most successful “safety professionals” that we have worked with over the years do not have degrees in safety and are not Certified Safety Professionals. Instead, they are men and women with management expertise that employ a process-based, systems approach to eliminating risk.
This systems approach can readily be seen within OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), the foundation of which is based upon four elements:
1. Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
2. Worksite Analysis
3. Hazard Prevention and Control
4. Safety and Health Training
When comes to safety performance, only the best of the best qualify to become a member of this elite group of organizations and it takes sustained success to maintain VPP membership.
Each year VPP companies are required to complete and submit a self-evaluation to OSHA on or before February 15. The evaluation is an account of the company’s safety and health management system, reflecting the previous year’s performance. Take notice that this is not a “compliance audit”, it is a critical review aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the four VPP elements and their associated sub-elements.
Over our next few posts, we will provide you with information that summarizes the Voluntary Protection Program’s four elements. As you grasp each of these elements and their associated sub-elements, you will understand why companies that view safety as the outcome of having successfully “managed” risk, enlist leaders with technical safety expertise (such as CSPs), but also leaders with strong management, process and systems expertise to administer their safety programs.
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