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Four Principles of a Safety Management System

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Safety management is an important element of any business or organization. While safety is a more pressing and central concern in some fields (air traffic control, high-rise construction), it should be an element in any workplace. Injuries can occur as a result of something as simple as typing, through repetitive strain injury. Integrated systems of safety management that incorporate worker training and provision of effective safety equipment can help to avoid both acute and chronic safety concerns.

Education

Education of all staff and management so that everyone understands safety policies and standards is essential to effective integrated safety management. All of the technical safety measures and equipment in the world won't keep workers safe if they don't understand how the safety system works. All employees should receive regular updates about the materials they are working with, the conditions that they are working under and any risks they may be facing. Without this knowledge, they will be pursuing job safety while blindfolded. Knowledge of the proper use of tools and equipment, as well as training in effective communication and cooperation, will do as much as new equipment to keep everyone on a job site safer.

Job-Site Maintenance

Regular and effective maintenance and repair of tools and equipment is an important element of safety. Vehicles should undergo regular inspections and have worn or broken parts replaced. Any tools with cutting elements such as blade, knives or drill bits must be kept sharp. Any equipment that has integral safety features such as guards, alarms or warning information must have these features kept present and up to date. If safety features are modified or removed for maintenance or special operations, they must be replaced immediately when those activities are completed. In general, job sites should be kept well organized and free of accumulations of waste or garbage, which can present a variety of hazards, including tripping, cuts, fire, toxins and vermin infestation.

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Safety Equipment

Standard safety equipment on job sites includes hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, steel-toed boots and gloves. All of these items should be worn as appropriate, which on most construction sites is all the time. In addition to this basic equipment, many industrial occupations require further safety equipment ranging from dust masks and respirators to reflective vests to full-body, hermetically sealed radiation suits. Workers should make it their business to educate themselves about what safety equipment is appropriate, but it is ultimately the responsibility of management to be sure that all safety equipment is present, available, in good working order, and utilized by everyone who requires it.

Communication

Good communication between workers is one of the most effective safeguards against accident and injury. If a worker notices a potentially hazardous problem with a machine or tool and doesn't tell anyone, he passes on that hazard to everyone around him. If he shares that information, particularly if he works in a place that has an effective communication infrastructure in place so that everyone quickly learns about it, efficient steps can be taken to solve the problem. Good communications measures include bulletin boards, regular staff meetings, and an open relationship between labor and management that encourages each to share information with the other.

About the Author

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.

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