I2P2 May Be on the Back Burner, but It’s Still a Sound Investment
When it comes to safety, what gets documented gets done. That’s why Texas Mutual encourages every employer to create and enforce a written injury and illness prevention program (I2P2).
Dr. David Michaels was determined to make I2P2 mandatory for employers during his tenure as head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Somewhere along the way, the initiative slipped down OSHA’s regulatory agenda. Texas employers may never be required by OSHA to maintain an I2P2, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
A written safety program provides a road map for sending employees home injury-free. It identifies the hazards employees are exposed to, explains how the company will protect employees from those hazards, and assigns accountability within the program.
If you want to make I2P2 part of your safety efforts—and we hope you do—make sure you address these core elements.
Core element: Management commitment/employee engagement
Management has to show employees it is committed to preventing workplace accidents. And we’re not just talking about monetary investments in safety training and personal protective equipment. The most important thing you can do is follow the same safety rules you expect employees to follow.
Safety starts at the top, but it doesn’t end there. Employees have to be engaged in the process. Management should involve employees from all levels of the organization in creating and continuously improving the safety program.
Core element: Hazard identification/assessment
Every task exposes employees to unique hazards. You can uncover those hazards by conducting job hazard analyses, inspecting your facility, investigating accidents and near-misses and reviewing your incident history for trends.
Core element: Hazard prevention and control
Once you’ve identified the hazards in your workplace, you must control your employees’ exposure to those hazards. Let the hierarchy of controls guide you. The hierarchy is a system for ranking hazard control measures according to their effectiveness.
Core element: Employee safety training
OSHA requires employers to train employees in a language and vocabulary they understand. Training should cover two primary topics: the I2P2 and the specific hazards employees will encounter. As part of our commitment to preventing workplace accidents, Texas Mutual offers free safety training resources on this website. Any employer can download the material.
Core element: Continuously evaluate and improve your safety program
How much has your company changed during the past two years? Have you introduced new processes, bought new equipment or hired new people? The point is that you should continuously evaluate your safety program to make sure it to meets your changing needs.
Texas Mutual recommends employers review their safety program within the first 12 months and at least once every two years after that. You should use a combination of leading and lagging indicators to get a true picture of your program’s effectiveness.
Get free resources
For more information on launching an I2P2, watch our free webinar, “The Core Elements of a Safety Program.” And remember that although I2P2 is not a regulatory requirement, certain written safety programs are.
For example, if your employees are exposed to excessive noise, OSHA requires you to have a hearing conservation program. If you use hazardous chemicals, including common cleaning products, you must have a hazard communication program. The Texas Department of Insurance and OSHA offer sample programs you can download and customize to meet your needs.
A written safety program provides a road map for sending employees home injury-free.