safety professional in reflective vest and hard hat at work on construction site

When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created 50 years ago, safety was a rules-based activity. But, according to the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), OSHA has helped push companies to do better and safety has become a human activity.

When it was established, OSHA set minimum standards and cited companies that didn’t meet them. Since then, many companies have pushed to do better than those minimum standards.

When striving to see that no workers are killed or severely injured in their workplaces, companies realized that safety has to be more than just setting and following rules. Safety is a human activity engaged in by people who are not perfect and make mistakes.

To that end, the AIHA Construction Committee and the AIHA Management Committee developed a guide to create a safety climate in which workers feel comfortable raising safety issues. The guide offers steps employers can take to improve the safety climate. These steps include:
• worker participation
• the right to refuse unsafe work
• close-call reporting and analysis
• safety leadership by supervisors
• subcontractor prequalification and oversight
• integrating safety as a value
• owner involvement
• measuring the safety climate

The goal of the guide is to help employers build trust between workers and management, as well as empower workers to stop work if there is a dangerous situation and fix it before someone gets hurt, the article said.

Read the full article.