Eight Principles for a Safe Work Environment Responsible Management: Management, which includes all levels from the chief to the first-line supervisor, is responsible for preventing injuries and illnesses. Safety and health are line management responsibilities; they cannot be delegated. Only when senior management exerts sustained leadership in establishing safety goals, demanding accountability for safety and health performance, and providing necessary resources, can a safety and health program be effective in a law enforcement environment. An agency’s leaders must visibly demonstrate their commitment to the safety and well-being of their officers. Proper safety and health management necessitates involvement. The lead must come by example rather than rhetoric alone. The command staff of a law enforcement agency sets the safety and health standards for the entire agency staff. Law enforcement executives are responsible for the safety of their officers, and supervisors must accept responsibility for the safety and health of the employees under their direction. As a result of this principle, concern for safety should be considered a major yardstick of performance. The ability to carry out safety and health responsibilities must be a primary measure of an individual’s leadership and prospects for promotion. Control of Operating Exposures: All operating exposures that may result in injuries or preventable illnesses can be controlled, no matter what the exposure is, and effective safeguards can be provided. It is preferable, of course, to eliminate the sources of danger; but where this is not reasonable or practical, supervision must specify measures such as special training, safety devices, and protective clothing. If injury is predictable, it is preventable Safety as a Condition of Employment: Conscientious assumption of safety and health responsibility is required by all employees from their first day on the job. This means that all employees must be convinced that they have a responsibility to work safely. Employees will respect the safety and health program and accept safety as a condition of employment when they understand that management has adopted a zero tolerance policy on officer injuries. Training Employees to Work Safely: All employees must be trained to work safely. Without effective training programs to teach, motivate, and sustain safety knowledge, injuries cannot be eliminated. Training can only be effective when officers both understand and accept it. An effective training program requires that procedures and safety rules be established for all job functions. Each major activity must be covered by a procedure and safety performance standards, and the training for those activities must stress officer safety. Supervision for Safety: Management must monitor performance in the workplace to assess safety and health program success. Safety assessments must be performed continuously and must be considered in all decision making. Comprehensive assessments and inspections not only confirm the effectiveness of the facilities and programs in achieving desired performance but also detect specific problems and help to identify weaknesses in law enforcement safety and health efforts. All supervisors should conduct safety audits and frequent safety inspections depending on the operations performed in their area of responsibility. They should review specific operations with their employees to verify that safety procedures are understood and have not become outdated. Prompt Correction of Deficiencies: Without prompt action to rectify deficiencies, the risk of injuries will increase and the credibility of the safety program will suffer. Correction may take the form of facility modification, equipment replacement, procedure changes, training, or constructive discipline. Discipline must be exercised when needed, and disciplinary actions must be consistent and predictable if they are to be effective. Follow-up audits must be made to verify the effectiveness of prescribed remedies. The Most Important Element—People: The one essential ingredient in the recipe for a safe workplace is its people. Intelligent, trained, and motivated employees are an agency’s greatest resource. Success in safety depends on officers following procedures, participating actively in training, and identifying and alerting management to potential hazards. When management demonstrates a real concern for each employee, a mutual respect is established, and the foundation is laid for a solid safety program. Safety While off Duty: An off-the-job injury or preventable illness is no less difficult than one suffered on the job. In addition to the personal suffering employees and their families feel, off-thejob injuries and illnesses can seriously affect a police department’s operations in the following ways: Staffing Additional workloads placed on supervision Limited productivity of injured employees upon their return to work Increase in payments for health insurance Consequently, departments should be engaged in a continuing off-the-job safety program. This program should receive the full attention and interest of every member of the management team. It is an integral part of the safety effort.
Posted on: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:52:19 +0000
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