Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Engage the Supplemental Workforce

The safety of supplemental and temporary workers in safety has gained much attention lately, largely due to OSHA's renewed focus on this worker population. In his Best Practices article in the November 2013 issue of Professional Safety, Thomas Bayer shares some advice on engaging the supplemental workforce. The keys, he explains, are getting workers to own their safety, improving the existing safety culture and engaging people.

Here are some steps Bayer recommends for enlisting craft workers in safety:
  1. Develop training and programs specific to site needs.
  2. Utilize supplemental workers as safety observers.
  3. Conduct specialty training to identify required behavior, such as company-specific job safety analysis training or behavior observation training. For example, the author worked with his team to develop a training program entitled, "The Way That It's Always Been—Why It Can't Be."
  4. Develop a safety champion, safety scout or similar program to get employees involved in the safety process.
  5. Develop a recognition and reward program to identify those groups or individuals who choose safe behaviors rather than a safety incentive program based on reporting or recordkeeping criteria.
  6. Establish minimum standards and enforce them consistently and constantly.
Ultimately, success will depend on the partnering relationship built between the contractor and customer. "Customer and contractor SH&E personnel must work together for the common good, be seen by workers interacting in the field, and collaborate to identify gaps and implement long-term training and process improvements that provide for craft involvement in the safety process," Bayer concludes.

Read Bayer's complete article here. Be sure to also check out the PS Asks interview with Duane Grange in the November 2013 issue of PS. Duane talks about specific steps both temporary agencies and hiring employers can take to protect workers.