A top-notch safety culture is one where both leaders and workers understand the behaviors and conditions that improve safety outcomes and feel empowered to proactively create a safer future. As a safety leader, it should be your goal to communicate these messages. The alternative—missing out on this opportunity to communicate the right messages—still sends a message, but winds up being the wrong one.
Then, if incidents do occur, how we respond matters. Investigations must be thorough, without bias or assumption of employee error. In today’s environment, where COVID-19 is such a highly contagious event, the response and processes of joint employers must include:
- Uniform adherence to CDC and OSHA guidelines
- Quick communications around quarantining
- Careful evaluation of each at-risk exposure
- Mitigating controls like enhanced cleaning, sanitation, or isolation practices
Post-incident response should include at least a precursory review of the classification of the hazard and prioritization of risk controls as it relates to those hazards.
Three factors to consider when classifying and prioritizing risks:
- The severity of the potential outcome: Based on the hierarchy of controls, do we have the correct mitigation and controls in place? Do we need to reevaluate?
- The likelihood of an event or exposure occurring: If error is predictable, how are we anticipating these events as a team?
- How many employees are at risk: Control risk at the highest level possible in the hierarchy of controls if there is serious injury/fatality exposure, regardless of the number of employees involved. Have density of work cells, proximity, and risks from both physical and biological conditions been factored in?
As we continue to face unprecedented health and safety challenges in the workplace, strong partnerships between staffing firms and clients can lead to insights and innovative solutions in risk management to keep all employees safer.