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Industrial Hygiene: It’s All About Worker Health and Safety – Part V – Health and Safety Plans

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Health and Safety Plans

In the prior four blogs of this series, we discussed Industrial Hygiene as it relates to silica, noise, exposure monitoring, and OSHA Inspections. In the final part of this series, we discuss Health and Safety Plans (HSPs).

Industrial Hygiene is all about worker health and safety and is an important factor in any Health and Safety Plan (HSP). A critical step in minimizing the risk of injury and illness in a workplace is to predict the physical and environmental hazards, acknowledge them, analyze, put controls in place, and review regularly.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires an HSP for hazardous waste operations and in-plant emergency response, and some states also require an HSP by law for certain industries. OSHA also requires that affected employees and their supervisors be trained on the hazards they encounter in their jobs and the associated control measures. An HSP helps to identify what those hazards are and what the control measures should be.

A good HSP documents the hazards that workers will encounter in their roles at a company along with related company policies, process controls, and work practices intended to reduce the risk associated with each hazard. The key to success with any HSP also lies with the implementation. Commitment to the plan must come from the top with sufficient resources allocated for training, employee involvement, auditing, accountability, and enforcement.

Although there is plenty of advice on the internet for developing an HSP, it must be developed specifically for a company and it will vary between industries and the materials and processes that are used. Having a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) on board to develop or upgrade an HSP is a wise choice: CIH’s must meet strict criteria to maintain their certification, and their training and experience is specific to the process that is needed to develop a strong HSP. They can help ensure a thorough review, implementation, and assist with making smart control choices.

Some things to consider when revamping or creating an HSP:

  • How did injuries or illnesses impact your company’s goals? Were there any trends or weak areas identified?
  • Are the processes, procedures, health and safety programs, and risk assessments up to date? Did anything change in these areas?
  • Are the company’s health and safety goals set, specific, measurable, known by employees, and assigned to someone to monitor?
  • Have employees been consulted?
  • Include or reference items as applicable, such as:
    • Requirements for operation of equipment or tools and maintenance
    • Processes, procedures, and controls for reducing health and safety risks and their exceptions
    • Personal Protective Equipment specific to job roles
    • How to safely handle hazardous materials
    • Monitoring risks and hazards, checks and surveys
    • Lock out/Tag out procedures
    • What to do in case of accidents, first aid
    • Accident Investigation
    • Emergency procedures
    • Training plan
    • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Hearing Conservation
    • Bloodborne Pathogens
    • Hazard Communication
    • Waste Management

Even the most thorough HSP will not fully eliminate the risk of injury or illness in the workplace, but a well thought out and implemented plan, along with regular reviews will go a long way in helping to keep business running with minimal interruption and extra costs. Consider contacting RPF Environmental to help you develop your Health and Safety Plan.

Industrial Hygiene: It’s All About Worker Health and Safety

Call us at 603-942-5432 today to find out how we can support your industrial hygiene control program.

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