Worker Injury and Illness Prevention Programs
September 21, 2018
A worker injury and illness prevention program is a process used to identify and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that companies who endorse such programs will experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries and greater employee satisfaction. This can result in higher productivity, reduced turnover, and reduced costs.
OSHA identifies several key components for a successful injury and illness prevention program, including:
- Management leadership and support
- Worker participation
- Training for hazard identification, prevention, and control
- Ongoing program evaluation and improvement
Although Stop-Work Authority (SWA) programs are not required by OSHA, they are encouraged as an effective way to reduce employee injury and fatalities. The premise behind a SWA policy is that workers are given authority to halt a job that may be operating unsafely or jeopardizing the safety of others. This authority can be extended to contractors, subcontractors, or anyone else working on the jobsite.
The basic SWA framework is:
- Stop work
- Notify supervisor
- Correct the issue
- Resume work
A clearly defined conflict resolution process should accompany this framework to avoid conflicts regarding the necessity to shut down a job or resume work.
Overcoming SWA Obstacles
It is not uncommon for employers to face difficulties when implementing an effective SWA policy. Employees can be reluctant to blow the whistle on the job for a variety of reasons.
Workers may be anxious or fearful about speaking up due to:
- Fear of retaliation from supervisors
- Getting a co-worker in trouble
- Not recognizing the situation as dangerous
- Reluctance to speak up because everyone accepts it
- Fear that the SWA process is too time consuming
However, these issues can be addressed through proper training of workers and introduction to the policy protocol.
Tips for Implementing an Effective SWA Policy
Companies planning to introduce a SWA program should make sure that employees trust that management and supervisors are in support of it. Additionally, workers must not only be trained in safety protocol but understand what hazards are severe enough to stop the job.
Although workers may be worried that the SWA company process is too time consuming and could risk upsetting the client or cause unnecessary delays, many work hazards can be easily and quickly fixed. Additionally, part of the SWA process includes a discussion, and that discussion should not only occur between co-workers and supervisors, but the client should be updated and included throughout the entire SWA process.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you suffered from an injury or illness, or a loved one was injured in a workplace accident, contact a Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation lawyer at DiTomaso Law. Our attorneys have extensive experience and understand that a devastating workplace injury often has long-term financial consequences for the injured and their families. To discover what compensation you are entitled to, call us today at 856-414-0010 or fill out our online form to schedule an initial consultation. We are in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.
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