Safe work procedures are what safety people talk about incessantly. It almost sounds like we do not believe anyone at work is ever safe without our help. The biggest challenge with this perception is that the safe work procedures are very simple to the very experienced, and why are we telling them how to do their job?
Unfortunately this perception is valid, but we know there is so much more to a good safe work procedure.
On the surface a safe work procedure is a list of steps that are followed to do a job without exposing yourself to uncontrolled hazard. These steps might also ensure the level of quality or other standard that is desired in the end-product. In other words; the safe work procedure sets a standard of how a job is to be done in order to exceed just staying safe.
Another often overlooked benefit of having good written safe work procedures is when a new worker is being introduced to the job. The usual process is to have this new worker team up with an experienced person who will show him/her the correct steps. That works fine if the experienced hand remembers all the fine details of the job, but in reality that is seldom the case. However, if a safe work procedure is used as a reference when training then the job is covered completely.
The single most important step in having a safe work procedure is that they are written down so they can be referenced. It is not good enough that ‘everyone knows how to do that job’. Writing down the safe work procedures gives a standard that can be checked, a training document, and a reference when anyone is unsure of the correct way to do the job.
So it isn’t just a safety person telling you how to do your job. It’s all about getting the job done right, and passing that knowledge on to the new guard as they enter the workforce.
For a more detailed outline on Safe Work Procedures, head over to my colleague Craig Gilder’s blog here.