The Safety Unit in a Company

The management of a company will undoubtedly wish safety to be pursued in each phase of the operation for which it is responsible. The management will also need information on how safely the work is being performed, how that could be improved, how safety consciousness can be spread. In short, it will, in any operation of some size, feel the need for a central point where the gathering of such information can be affected and which can be allocated the task of promoting safety. The organization needs a “Safety Unit”, a ‘Safety Department’ or “Section” even if it is a one man effort.

There is, therefore the need for:

1) Specially allocated people with a basic understanding of what is generally indicated as Industrial safety
2) Intimate co-operation between safety units and other specialists whether designers, medical men, process engineers, transport people, plant or machine operators etc.
3) Continuous contact with those departments in the company which deal with personnel in all its aspects of employment.
4) Realization of the benefits which can be reaped from experience gained in one’s own organization as well as else where.

Mode of Operation:

This leaves us to establish in some detail what such a safety unit is expected to do, what its responsibilities are and what place it should most effectively have in the organization. But, we should also attempt to describe the type of personnel which is needed to staff such a unit; the question of a safety budget has to be dealt with and, finally, the lines of contact.

Safety Program:

It is not good enough to earmark one or more people as Safety Officers and tell them to spread in the organization. You may find them standing in the cold very soon.

Long standing experience in industry, in general has proved the need for a safety program which really comprises strategic planning against the enemy. Such a program should be set up to suit the operations in the company. It should be designed by a man trained in basic principles of safety in consultation with management, so as to ensure that the proposed activities crossing the borders to various operating departments as they do will not clash with any policies and responsibilities as earlier laid down by management.

Although top management has top responsibility for establishing definite safety policies, procedures and safe working conditions, most of what is planned and established must reach the employee on the job through the first line supervisors who are in frequent and close association with the employees.

The works supervisor, in discharging his responsibilities for safety, has among his principal duties the following:

1) To teach each employee the hazards of his jobs and how to avoid them.
2) To impart to each employee the understanding that the violation of established safety rues will not be tolerated
3) To see that needed safety equipment is provided and used fr each job.
4) To take prompt corrective action whenever unsafe conditions and unsafe acts are noted.
5) To reach employees that accidents are caused but can be prevented
6) To investigate and find causes of all accidents, even those which result in minor injuries
7) To see that all injuries are reported and properly treated
8) To instill a safety awareness in each employee through personal contacts and by safety meetings.
9) To conduct regular safety appraisals of his section.
10) To give full support to all safety activities and safety procedures

It is the work’s supervisors and not the soldiers or our army who are the safety people. Efforts should therefore be directed towards training these supervisors.

Another basic step in the safety program is the establishment of safety rules. No rule must be introduced unless there is need for it and the intention is to enforce it. Enforcement of rules is a necessary step to ensure the complete success of any safety program. Disciplinary action should be avoided until management has thoroughly discharged its safety obligations and every effort has been exhausted in securing voluntary cooperation. However, in the final analysis, disciplinary action for failure to follow a rule must be taken or the rule will cease to exist. Here again, the works supervisors are in the middle of the battle, firstly in assisting to establish the proper rules and later on making them adhered to.

Among the duties of the works supervisor regarding safety, two specific duties where his initiative is required, are emphasized.

1) He has to investigate accidents and take corrective action
2) He has to inspect and prevent unsafe conditions.

Thus correction and prevention go side by side in every safety program dealing with either minor hazards or major dangers and catastrophes

Summarizing we can say that such a program has to implement the basic principles in

(1) Safety rules
(2) Safety inspection
(3) Safety training
(4) Accident analysis
(5) Recommendation for correction
(6) Recording and reporting