My wife approached me the other day with a list in hand, I always get nervous when she does that. She had been working on the 2010 Christmas list and had questions (opportunities!) for me to assist with the task. It seems early in the season but the event reminded me of the days when I worked in construction when no one would approach me asking what I wanted for the safety program in the following year. When I moved on to general industry, I was asked this question in September and was caught off guard the first time. My reply must have been, "You want to know what I need for the safety program now? Thanks for asking but I have no clue!"
As the years passed, I became better at planning for safety, something I preach to my customers on a weekly basis today. Recognizing that budgets are tighter than ever, the need to plan ahead for your injury prevention program is crucial. Consider the following as you begin to plan for the upcoming year:
Capital Expenditures - Generally large ticket items that may require engineering support and long term planning. This may include automation, material handling equipment (Example: forklift), ergonomic equipment (ex. lift tables, anti-fatigue mats, manual material handling carts, totes).
Tools & Equipment - Power and hand tools, personal protective equipment, safety equipment (Example: Lock-out/tag-out equipment)
Training - new hire orientation, annual OSHA compliance, specialty training
Program Development/Implementation - Injury prevention programs, stretch break, accident investigation, behavioral based safety, first aid/CPR, hazard communication
Obviously, this is a short list of the many possibilities an organization may need to plan for as part of the annual budget process. If you have the benefit of working with an engineering department or facilities manager, they may be able to assist you with justifications and cost/benefit analysis.
What is the definition of a no-brainer? When you can reduce injuries and increase productivity! With the right amount of planning and perseverance, you may be able to accomplish this at your organization in 2011!