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Personal Safety Action Plan

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) document a higher rate of lost time injuries encountered by local government compared to state government and private industry employees. The proportion of injuries occurring to workers with more than five years of service with an employer was 60% for local government compared to 31% for private industry. BLS also reports the average tenure of a private sector employee is 3.6 years compared to 6.6 years for local government employees. Simply put, the public sector sees more accident repetition, in part, because the employees are employed longer, with more time to experience an injury. Another factor is that private employers institute controls to address employees with multiple claims. Employers who do not use these controls ultimately cannot afford to stay in business.

The purpose of a Personal Safety Action Plan (PSAP) is to promote safe behavior. The focus should always be on what is best for the employee, because in the end, what is good for the employee is also good for the employer. For a plan to be effective, sound safety policies, procedures and programs must already be in place and working. A safety committee consisting of a representative from every organization’s division and being actively involved in ongoing safety initiatives are key pieces of an effective safety and health program. Other pieces in place should include current job descriptions, job safety analysis and thorough accident investigations. Following all safety practices and procedures as well as performing all duties safely should be included in all job descriptions and be a component of all performance reviews.

A note about management—management behavior is always a factor contributing to safe—or unsafe acts. Funding decisions, production pressures, and the example set by management impact the organization’s safety culture. Management must take ownership for providing a safe work environment because management always owns the results.

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