Health and Safety Trends for 2017

OSHA Recommendations

Last year, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) released its recommended practices for health and safety programs, with the goal of improving QHSE processes across workplaces. The recommendations hope to prevent injuries and move safety culture from being reactive to encouraging proactive health and safety practices.

These OSHA recommendations suggest that companies implement a robust safety program and culture, focused on setting and tracking health and safety goals, and using tools and technologies to ensure employees are safe on the job. Mobile QHSE software, like ITRAK, is one technology that companies have begun to adopt and implement into their health and safety program, used to track and report health and safety data in an intuitive way.

Global Harmonized System

Last year marked some big changes to the hazardous products act, requiring federal workplaces to be in compliance by the end of 2018. The new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations are part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

These new regulations will help protect Canadian workers who use, handle and store hazardous products in the workplace by ensuring QHSE standards and regulations are consistent both across Canada and internationally. The new and changing regulations hint at greater universal standardization for health and safety.

Companies that wish to meet compliance are now updating WHMIS training to incorporate the new aspects of the GHS. In Alberta, legislative action to move towards full compliance with GHS has not yet begun.

The new QHSE regulations will align Canada’s classification and labeling of workplace chemicals with international standards, making hazard information consistent between Canada and its key trading partners such as the EU, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea. Consistent standards for workplace hazardous chemicals will reduce compliance costs, and allow smoother international trade.

While these new regulations are a step in the right direction when it comes to the handling of chemicals transported globally to and from Canada, these regulations speak to a broader growing movement to not only improve health and safety in Canada but to standardize practices and processes globally for all manufacturing companies. Within the next 5 years, you’re guaranteed to see more consistent health and safety regulations that span farther than just chemical handling, to all facets of manufacturing companies processes globally.

Companies Re-examining the Value of Safety Departments

Many large companies have begun to re-examine the impact of having a safety department. Many of these companies are shrinking their health and safety departments in order to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

For many companies, the cost of workplace incidents is motivation enough for improving the performance of their safety programs. However, some companies have begun to question the ROI and performance impact that cultivating a strong safety culture provides.

To maintain an efficient and effective culture based around safety requires a great deal of time and planning, but top management’s emphasis and focus on safety eventually permeates throughout the entire organization, directly influencing the number of front line employee injuries.

Going forward, most of these skeptical companies will find that the cost of injury prevention is far less than the costs associated with a workplace injury. A safe and healthy work environment pays, in more ways than one.

Manage every facet of your quality and safety processes with QHSE solution ITRAK.

This post originally appeared here on January 20, 2017

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