The goal of every occupational safety and health (OSH) professional is to maintain a safe and productive work site and avoid accidents, injury and illness. To ensure worker safety, professionals must be responsible to assess all on-site safety hazards, follow current regulations and safety standards, implement engineering and administrative controls and provide training, to name a few.

Their responsibilities are even greater if personal protection equipment (PPE) is required, because PPE programs should be implemented. The employer must ensure each worker is equipped with the PPE needed to meet industry standards, and is properly trained in its use, care and maintenance.

Realizing zero accidents

Professionals are committed to protecting every worker on site, and yet accidents may still happen.

Take the case of a high school graduate working a summer job before heading off to college. While working his third shift on a roofing project, he fell 30 feet from the top of a building. He ended up in the emergency room on life support with severe injuries. Why? As cited by OSHA, he wasn’t equipped with the PPE or training he needed to stay safe on the job.

SAFE NOT SORRY: Despite employers taking steps to protect each of their workers, extra steps are always necessary to ensure zero accidents while also protecting the comfort of employees.

Stories like this inspire OSH professionals to approach their work with increased dedication. No one wants to see valued colleagues and their families go through the hardship and devastation of an accident or death. It’s becoming more common for OSH professionals to look for ways to create a strong safety culture that can not only keep workers safe, but enhance and improve day-to-day work.

Cultures of safety

A strong OSH program and culture that emphasizes the importance of keeping workers safe, productive and comfortable can have a great impact on the entire workforce.

One OSH professional at a metal fabrication company overseeing a team of welders noticed that the safety equipment used was incompatible, cumbersome and ultimately decreasing productivity. OSH professionals looking to improve their safety culture can work with an OSH consultant who can evaluate overall program and equipment efficacy. A consultant can help to identify changes that may go a long way in helping to prevent accidents while also supporting the bottom line.

A BETTER PLACE: Making employee safety a top commitment not only prevents accidents, but supports every employers' bottom line, increases productivity and secures employee morale.

In this case, the manager reached out to a welding PPE specialist who was able to identify the potential for a respiratory protection system that featured integrated eye, head and face protection that allowed workers to keep welding with greater efficiency and comfort for longer periods of time. The system required less equipment — making it lighter and easier for workers to wear and handle — and was versatile enough to lend itself well to the tasks workers needed to accomplish throughout the day. As workers adopted the new equipment, they reported a dramatic increase in comfort, satisfaction, productivity, time and loyalty to the company.

Investing in a strong OSH program can ultimately result in positive results that can translate across an entire company, from the jobsite to the business team. This collaborative commitment to worker safety and health goes a long way in ensuring a culture where workers not only feel valued and supported, but also can spur employee productivity and loyalty.