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5 benefits of an effective health and safety program

Organizations can have many benefits of having an effective health and safety program in place. Following are the 5 major benefits:

1) Address COVID-19 at your workplace and earn rebates under the WSIB Safety Excellence program

As an employer, your health and safety (H&S) program can not only assist you with addressing COVID-19 at your workplace, but will also help you earn rebates through WSIB’s H&S Excellence Program. By enrolling in the WSIB Excellence Program, you can get financial and non-financial recognition through digital badges.

An effective health and safety program is the only way to protect your workers COVID-19, and to minimize workplace transmission. If you have not taken steps towards developing your own program, start now.

WSIB recommends the following five (5) topics from the WSIB Excellence Program to assist you with addressing COVID-19 at your workplace:

  • Risk assessment – Assess the health and safety risks of new work locations and/or work tasks resulting from COVID-19
  • Control of hazards – Control the spread of COVID-19 through implementing engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE
  • Emergency prevention and preparedness – Ensure your organization is ready to address challenges resulting from COVID-19 and is prepared for a potential second wave
  • Emergency response – Define a work plan to address COVID-19 and prevent further spread
  • Workplace health promotion – Support employee mental health through the pandemic

2) A good health and safety program is crucial for developing a sustainable workplace safety culture

Workplace safety culture starts with the senior management’s commitment, from which flows the employee accountability. All of this is tied up tight through strong systems and processes. A well-defined policy backed by a strong H&S program and communication mechanism helps employers in establishing strong employee commitment.

This commitment is extremely vital for achieving the health and safety objectives throughout the year. It is often organizations that clearly demonstrate this commitment that have good accident/incident records, and are well on their way towards developing and maintaining a sustainable workplace safety culture.

3) Employers can integrate their health and safety objectives at every level of the company

Employers can integrate their H&S objectives at all levels through an effective health and safety program. For an employer, a health and safety policy can function just the same way as the production, quality, and finance policies. A properly executed policy will help employers allocate and account for resources for health and safety efficiently. An good health and safety policy also helps in avoiding duplication of effort and information, which makes the program effective.

4) Reduce workplace injuries and illnesses

A strong workplace safety policy helps reduce workplace injuries and illnesses that can have costly consequences for employers. The most obvious costs include those related to compensating and treating the injured workers. However, there are hidden costs such as loss of productivity and production. Furthermore, damage to material, equipment, and property cannot be ignored.

5) Strong foundation for effective self-regulation through the IRS

A good program provides an employer with a strong basis for self-regulation through the Internal Responsibility System. Moreover, employers and workers have to share the responsibility for workplace health and safety. This is clearly specified under Sec 25 and 28 of the OHSA.

The IRS requires every individual working in a company to perform health and safety based on their work profile. Therefore, being part of the IRS, every individual takes the initiative on various health and safety issues. They work towards solving problems and making improvements on an ongoing basis. As part of the IRS, a worker does this individually and in cooperation with peers at the workplace. This is the basic principle behind Internal Responsibility System.

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