by Isabel Flores Garcia, Education and Outreach Representative
Communication is key in any type of workplace setting, but even more so when it comes to effectively implementing an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP). One of the requirements when establishing an IIPP is to include a program for communicating with employees and involving them in the IIPP.
Communication can be delivered in various ways, such as trainings, meetings, announcements, email notices, memos, newsletters, and/or through the activities of a health and safety committee. All employees, including those with special communication needs, must be included in these communication methods and the communication must be in a language and manner they can easily understand.
All employees must be informed about the IIPP and how it is being implemented in the workplace, including their responsibility to comply with the occupational safety and health procedures. Before they are assigned tasks which expose them to workplace hazards, it is important to discuss how they can protect themselves.
It is also imperative that the communication system include a method for encouraging employees to report potential hazards without fear of reprisal. The more comfortable they feel, the more likely they will come forward with any concerns they may have, which will prevent future injuries in the workplace.
Health and Safety Committees
Although health and safety committees are not required as part of the IIPP standard, it is highly encouraged as a way to involve employees in workplace safety and to implement an effective health and safety communication program. Establishing a health and safety committee will help employers to meet the communication requirements of the IIPP standard.
The committee must include both wage and hourly worker representatives and managerial representatives. They must meet regularly (at least quarterly) to plan, implement, and evaluate the IIPP, and records should be maintained of the safety and health issues discussed.
Health and safety committees help to create a workplace culture where employees feel responsible for and are more likely to take ownership of workplace safety, such as reporting potential hazards and incidents.
- Learn more about our free Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) trainings
- Look out for next month’s Próximamente as it will cover Hazard Assessment/Inspection (Title 8 CCR §3203 (a) (4))
This article is based on the Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP) administered by the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation in the California Department of Industrial Relations through interagency agreements with the Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California, Berkeley; the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at the University of California, Davis; and the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.