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Demonstrate a Commitment to Safety in Your Auto Body Shop

As a business, you may think you do a good job of demonstrating sound practices and deliberate attention to safety. But do your employees have that sense when they walk into the shop or leave for the day?

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Kyle Holt is the president of S/P2, an online safety and pollution prevention training system for the automotive, heavy-duty/diesel, welding, construction, cosmetology and culinary industries.

Photo courtesy of PPG

As a business, you may think you do a good job of demonstrating sound practices and deliberate attention to safety. But do your employees have that sense when they walk into the shop or leave for the day? Are they active participants in your safety and health program and recognized for their individual efforts?

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An upcoming nationwide event may be the perfect opportunity to show how much you value workplace safety and health. Safe+Sound Week will be held August 13-19, 2018. Organizers of the event include OSHA, American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council, NIOSH and others.

Who, What and Why?

Why should your shop participate in Safe+Sound Week? Everyone knows that a safe workplace makes for a better and more successful business. Having programs in place is key to managing the hazards employees may encounter in your workplace before they cause injury or illness.

Collision repair shops of any size can use this week to demonstrate their commitment to safety. You can host one or more events for your employees, customers or the community. After you’ve completed your events, you can download a certificate and web badge to recognize your shop and employees.

Easy Ways to Participate Safe+Sound Week

encourages business to plan activities that include at least one (but preferably all three) of the core elements of a successful safety and health program: management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing hazards. Following are some ideas in the three core areas to help you get started. The best part is that most of these ideas are low-cost or no-cost:

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Core Area 1 – Management Leadership: Business owners and managers make safety and health a core organizational value and set a good example.

Ideas to demonstrate management leadership:

  • Deliver a safety and health message. Send an email blast, create a safety video, write a company newsletter column or article about safety and health, or post a visible message to employees or customers. Keep the message short and simple, but make it personal to your audience, such as, ”We care about safety. Ask us how.”
  • Establish a visible presence to promote safety and health. As an owner or manager, do you walk the floor daily and make safety a natural part of conversation? Host a safety meeting, recognize employee successes toward safety, and talk about close calls or “near misses.” Give positive feedback to those who follow good safety practices.
  • Formalize and publicize your commitment to safety and health. Create a written policy describing your shop’s commitment to a healthy workplace. Keep safety a top priority by highlighting it when recruiting new employees and when they begin work.
  • Take your commitment to safety and health beyond your organization. Partner with suppliers or other shops to further demonstrate your commitment to safety.

Core Area 2 – Worker Participation: Business owners engage workers at all levels in establishing, implementing, evaluating, and improving safety and health in the workplace.

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Ideas to encourage participation:

  • Ask for feedback; encourage workers to speak with managers about their concerns. Host opportunities for employees to give feedback. Provide a suggestion box or conduct a survey to learn about their attitudes about safety in your business.
  • Empower workers with safety and health information. Make sure all employees complete their mandatory annual safety training. Go beyond the required training by inviting speakers to conduct short talks about specialized safety matters. Create a resource area for safety- and health-related materials.
  • Recognize workers or teams for contributions to workplace safety. Plan an event or lunch to recognize important safety contributors. Consider a safety “employee of the month” or monthly safety “hall of fame.”
  • Get a group together. Establish a safety committee, and make sure as many job functions are represented as possible.

Core Area 3 – Finding and Fixing Hazards: A proactive, ongoing process to identify and control sources of potential injuries or illnesses.

Ideas to find and fix hazards in the workplace:

  • Spotlight hazards and controls. Send email or video blasts to inform workers of the different types of hazards they could be exposed to on the job. Post tips in high-visibility areas, and make sure all equipment has labeling or signage that communicates potential hazards and controls.
  • Create challenges, contests and competitions. Try to make it fun! Play “find the hazard” and have employees offer suggestions for fixing the problem. Ask employees to look for hazards in departments they do not work in on a daily basis.
  • Evaluate safety and health processes and systems. Make sure you have accurate and effective reporting processes in place for hazards, injuries, illnesses and “near misses.” Review chemical usage to minimize exposures and consider the availability of safer alternatives. Integrate your safety and health program with your environmental management system or your sustainability program.
  • Conduct analyses to identify hazards. Review your current and past OSHA 300 logs to identify the types, sources and circumstances of past incidents. Also, consider asking your insurance carrier to discuss your workers’ compensation records and loss control strategies. As an owner, be sure that you know the top hazards in your industry, and how your shop ranks.

Summary

These are just a few suggestions for joining Safe+Sound Week, but you can even create your own. For more ideas and information about how to participate, visit osha.gov/safeandsound/.

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