Involve Every Staff Member in Some Aspect of the Safety Program

By James A. Kaufman

There’s a tendency to think that if someone is appointed safety coordinator, they have to do all the work for the rest of us. False! A coordinator is just that. He or she is not a “parent.” Each person needs to be responsible for safety in general and for a specific part of the program in particular. Here’s a list of a number of different specific assignments:

  • Lecture bottle gas cylinders
  • Chemical inventory
  • Highly toxic compounds
  • Heavy metals
  • Emergency response
  • Pyrophorics
  • Reference materials
  • Oxidizers
  • Alcohol inventory
  • Acids and bases
  • Fire equipment
  • Refrigerators
  • Flammables storage
  • Showers and eye washes
  • Specimen storage
  • Electrical hazards
  • Accident records
  • In-service training

Get the idea? Everyone has a job to do. Everyone participates. Take turns doing a monthly lab inspection. Take turns presenting a five to ten minute safety topic at department meetings. Take turns telling the principal/superintendent about needed repairs (with the department head’s permission)!

Who is going to be responsible for the department’s laboratory health and safety bulletin board? How about the “safety drawer” in each lab? Who makes sure that the drawer is properly stocked?

Want to review your emergency procedures? There are more than a dozen common types of lab emergencies. Why not have a different employee/student conduct the review at the monthly staff meeting?

Who does your chemical hygiene plan review? The CHO, the safety committee? Give it up! Give it to three, four, five members in your department and treat them to the CHP review luncheon. Don’t forget to give your boss or your boss’ boss the leadership opportunity to send the reviewers a thank you note.

The best safety programs are the ones that get everyone most involved. Safety is not a spectator sport!

Published In

Calculating Workplace Tragedy Magazine Issue Cover
Calculating Workplace Tragedy

Published: June 1, 2013

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