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Your IIPP: Woven like a Spider’s Web

- January 24, 2014 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Have you ever read a story referencing the use of a spider’s web as a metaphor in a complex murder mystery?  In business, that web is your IIPP; it encompasses the intricate strands that comprise your company’s policies, procedures and programs.

As a safety professional I always look to establish common ground with a client during our initial meeting. Some may think that means discussing the karate trophies placed with pride around the office (mostly that’s a sign not to upset your contact), or some may bring up a local sports team, or service group work, but personally I believe the focal point should center on the company’s Injury Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Yes, really, and no, I’m not a safety nerd, but I do know it can be one of the most effective management application tools in a business owner’s arsenal.

While a tangled web in a mystery novel usually trips up the antagonist in the end, a strong web with clear policies and procedures provides a strong supporting structure for your safety programs.  Consider each of the following a necessary supporting strand in the construction of your IIPP web:

  • Management’s Responsibilities
  • Safety Communication
  • Disciplinary Policy
  • Accident Reporting and Documentation
  • Accident Investigation
  • Hazard Assessment and Control
  • Safety Training and Record Keeping.

One offshoot of the communication strand is the use of your IIPP during new hire orientation. A policy statement embodied within the IIPP should state: “All employees must be aware and have knowledge of any potential workplace safety and health hazards.  Having the knowledge about how to work safely is critical to maintaining a safe and healthful work environment.”  Strong policies and procedures reinforce the company’s commitment to safety for any new hire.

As a proactive measure, knowledge of these policies and procedures can help to prevent accidents, injuries and illnesses in the workplace.   However, this knowledge must also be applicable and that requires weaving in another supporting strand from our IIPP web: documented safety training.  Formalized safety training during orientation is instrumental to ensure workplace safety.  It establishes a protocol that all employees are trained in general safety and in job specific procedures to enhance awareness and knowledge.  Training will vary to include (but not be limited to) formal classes, small group seminars, reading of materials and/or viewing safety videos.

As you continue to weave the supporting strands together, you will find they create a strong web in which policies and procedures support and reflect each other.  Employees will see these as clear guidelines for expectations of safety.

In my next couple of postings, I will look to the IIPP as an action tool, a catalyst for developing components to be used during staff hiring, staff training, hazard identification and control implementation, accident investigation, and initial and post-accident communication with your medical clinic. Stay posted!

 

Citation:

“Injury and Illness Prevention Programs white paper.” Osha.gov. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, January 2012. Web. 31 December 2013. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/index.html