Seven Occupational Health & Safety Resolutions for 2018

When people think of New Year’s, they probably hear Auld Lang Syne in their heads, and picture festive partygoers counting down to midnight when the ball drops. However, also synonymous with New Year’s is the practice of making resolutions.

There are mixed opinions on the effectiveness of resolutions. Some argue that resolutions are just fair-weather statements, and that no one ever sticks to them. Others firmly believe in the old saying, “A new year equals a new start!” Think of resolutions as habits you want to develop. In terms of habits, we usually want to change, stop, or implement new ones.

When it comes to health and safety habits in the workplace, get in the New Year’s spirit and resolve to build some new habits, and commit to them in 2018.

 

OSG’s Top Seven Safety Resolution Suggestions for 2018

 

1. Get the One-Up on AODA

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has many phases. Resolve this year to do more than get compliant – get ahead of the curve by implementing AODA standards that you know are coming down the pipeline between now and 2025. By 2025, all Ontario workplaces are expected to be in full compliance. Set a goal to get there faster. Not only will it put your organization in a great position, but the sooner your company is accessible for all, the sooner you’ll be able to experience all of the advantages that come with full accessibility. Benefit of accessibility include an increased customer base, which includes greater spending power, and access to a wider range of skills and expertise during recruitment.

2. Make Training a Top Priority

If training has lapsed or expired, set a goal to ensure that legislated training for all workers is up-to-date and/or current. If you find that your organization struggles more on the records management side of training, try resolving to shop around for an online HSMS or records-management system that suits your company’s needs. Tidying up training records and ensuring all workers are current and have all of the training they need is a great 2018 resolution that sets the stage for a safe and healthy year.

3. Don’t just Talk the Talk; Walk the Walk

Your resolution doesn’t need to be tangible. Executives and managers can make a resolution to simply practice what they preach, which will have a huge impact on all of the workers below them. In fact, this resolution can be the most powerful when it comes to creating new habits versus making arbitrary, hard to abide by, changes. This resolution, while seemingly simple, can change the safety culture of an organization. For example, if safety glasses on the shop floor are policy, but the owners never wear them when they’re out on the floor, it sends the message to workers that the glasses really aren’t important. Strengthen the buy-in to the safety culture by leading by example.

4. Housekeep Your Housekeeping Policy

A housekeeping program seems so basic, that it gets lost among other important health and safety considerations. However, housekeeping is an important part of every workplace safety program, and it’s applicable to all workplaces. Even the smallest office can benefit from refreshing the housekeeping program. Housekeeping doesn’t refer to dusting and vacuuming (although those things are great!), but rather it’s about ensuring fire exits are clear, boxes aren’t precariously stacked, and/or filing cabinet drawers aren’t left open. Top drawers left open create tipping hazards, while bottoms drawers left open are trip hazards.

5. Bring your Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy into 2018

2018 is upon us, and if the climate in Hollywood can tell us something, it’s that sexual harassment and violence will no longer be tolerated in the workplace. Whether that workplace is a movie set, an office, a factory, or any other work-related setting, the message is clear: harassment and violence is no longer acceptable at work. What does that mean for your 2018 resolution? It could mean a few different things. It might mean resolving to really examine your workplace policies and practices to identify unintentional barriers, or it might mean looking around your boardroom and being honest about whether it’s time to diversify. Maybe it means taking a hard look at behaviours that are not acceptable, but have somehow become commonplace, and vowing to address and change them. Or maybe it just means that from a strictly administrative standpoint, that you resolve to review your company’s current violence and harassment policy and program to ensure that it meets legislated requirements and the organization’s needs.

6. Revamp your WHMIS Program

The deadline for complying 100% with the WHMIS after GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Labeling and Classification) is December 31, 2018. What do you want to be doing that day? Celebrating with friends, confident in the knowledge that your company takes chemical handling hazards seriously and all of the dangerous substances at your workplace are correctly labeled? That’s a great goal. Resolve to meet it by promising yourself that you will be 100% compliant with the new GHS standards well ahead of the December 31st deadline.

7. Aim for 0

Resolve to record 0 lost-time injuries this year at work. I know, we said start small, but this is a totally achievable objective. With effective policies and programs, training, and an active and positive safety culture, your organization CAN record zero lost-time injuries this year. This is the only resolution on the list that is okay to repeat every single year. Aim for 0 this year, next year, and all of the years that follow. When you hit your goals, celebrate like it’s New Year’s Eve!

 

Make Resolutions Stick

It’s important to explore why resolutions sometimes fail, and what we can do to ensure their success.

For the most part, resolutions fail because they’re unrealistic, lack specifics, or are too grand. On top of that, often resolutions are not met with focus, so it’s easy to slip back into old habits and let resolutions fall by the wayside. Next thing you know, the holiday season is approaching again, and you’re repeating the same old resolution as last year. Consider these tips when setting your safety resolutions for 2018:

  • Start small and be realistic: resolving to overhaul your company’s entire safety program, re-write and implement all new policies and procedures, and develop a new company-wide positive safety culture might be a bit ambitious. Choose one small change, and then make it a habit.
  • Stay accountable: don’t keep your safety resolutions a secret! Tell everybody. Sharing goals will increase buy-in and garner support as you work toward changing your (or your company’s) old ways.
  • Be specific: instead of making a general resolution, such as, “I am going to change the way we run the health and safety program,” be specific. A better resolution and one more likely to result in a permanent change would be, “I am going to resolve to implement an online Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) so that I can track training with more efficiency.” It’s specific, and manageable in scope.
  • Focus: once your resolution is set, don’t just leave it up to fate. Focus your energy on making the change and achieving your goal. Set reminders throughout the year to evaluate where you are with your resolution. If you find by mid-year that not much has changed, re-focus by examining the size and specificity of the goal, restate it, if necessary, and keep focusing on the end result you want to achieve.

 

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Resolutions are usually personal or internal. But even personal resolutions, like quitting smoking or shedding some pounds, are better executed with some support. Safety resolutions are no different. Develop a system that gives encouragement throughout the year. Not sure where to start? There are many resources available for anyone wanting to make 2018 the year of the safety resolution! OSG is here to help. Throughout our website, we offer full training resources and ideas that can help you bring your resolutions to reality. No matter whom you enlist to help, let 2018 be the year that you make – and keep – a safety resolution!


 

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