Building a Safety Program

Workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are preventable. Safe workplaces exist because employers make the choice to fulfill their responsibilities and protect their workers. Workers shouldn’t need to put their lives at risk to make a living.

The system should train workers to be aware of and appreciate safety issues. A well-defined safety program benefits and advances the best interests of everyone.


Step 1. Make the Commitment to Safety with a Mission Statement.

  • Document safety goals so they can be measured and improved.

Step 2. Industry Requirements

  • Check out all resources made available including other professionals in the industry.
  • Bring in an external safety consultant who specializes in your industry

Step 3. Identify hazards and risks

  • Anything with the potential to cause harm should be addressed.
  • Talk to your employees and assess your own workplace to learn the best places to implement changes.
  • Pay attention to: workplace hazards like shop layout, environmental hazards such as dust, hazardous activities such as using machinery, and the safety culture of your company.

Step 4. Develop processes and programs

  • These processes and programs should be specifically tailored to answer the requirements and issues from Step 2 and 3.
  • They should hold both management and employees accountable to safety.
  • Have them written and accessible to the employees.

Regulations that require a written program are:

  • Hazard Communication Program.
  • Lockout / Tagout Program (energy control procedures).
  • Respiratory Protection Program.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (hazard assessment).
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Post-Exposure Plan.
  • Emergency Action Plan.
  • Permit-required Confined Spaces.
  • Electrical Safety.
  • Fire Prevention Plan.
  • Hearing Conservation Program.
  • Trenching and Excavation Safety.

Step 5. Train the workforce

  • New hires
  • Individuals who recently transferred or changed assignments
  • Any time a new process, substance, or piece of equipment is added
  • Any time new hazards are identified
  • Any time refresher training is needed or required by regulations

Step 6. Investigate and track all accidents and incidents

This will help you to prevent incidents in the future regardless of the severity.

Determine the cause, identify what could be changed, take corrective and preventative measures (and record these too!).

Step 7. Program Review

Every year you should review your training, procedures, and any written safety documentation you have to find holes in your program or to improve it. It pays to have a good auditing tool to work through every aspect of your safety program.

Step 8. Implement an EHS management software

A good software should have tools to procedures, manuals, training and auditing, incidents.


Use employees to help identify potentially dangerous work areas and things that need correcting. This involvement from your team helps make them aware and encourages them to take ownership of workplace safety.