Injury and Illness Prevention Plans Save You Money, Period!

IIPP

Employees are your most valuable asset, but many businesses overlook the importance of having a workplace safety program in place to protect them.

Loss control is about employers caring for their workers’ safety. Successful loss control programs are means of reducing injuries and the severity of a potential accident.

If you want to reduce the costs and risks associated with workplace injuries and illnesses, you need to address safety and health right along with production. You should start by writing a plan and see that it is put into practice. Specifically, that means creating and implementing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).

The IIPP will identify what has to be done to promote the safety and health of your employees, and the safety of your worksite. Elements of your IIPP should include:

  • Assignment of responsibility
  • Communications
  • Compliance
  • Inspections
  • Investigations
  • Correcting unsafe conditions
  • Training
  • Recordkeeping.

Taking this approach to loss control will make the workplace safer, decrease workers’ compensation and overtime costs, reduce turnover rates, and minimize the risk of Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines — all of which in turn will increase productivity and profits.

Loss control starts with an authentic commitment from management. You should also ensure that supervisors, managers and employees are all on board and, together, the collaborative teams will achieve success.

Hazard assessment, evaluation, action-planning, problem-solving, implementation, record-keeping and documentation are the steps for a successful loss control plan.

Open communication is vital

Open communication with employees is important to facilitate a successful loss control program. Employee cooperation is connected to everyone understanding what the program is all about, why it is important to them and how it personally affects them.

Consider different channels via which your workforce can be informed, including meetings, e-mails, newsletters or text messages. Training is an important aspect of your program to ensure everyone has a good understanding of workplace safety.

Records are an important part of your safety plans. Records that should be maintained include:

  • Training
  • Employee injuries
  • Accident/injury investigations
  • Inspection records/corrective actions
  • OSHA 300 logs (where required)
  • Job analysis
  • Safety meetings
  • Equipment and vehicle inspections
  • CPR/first aid training
  • DMV driving records.

The takeaway

Remember to update and maintain all your programs at least once a year and/or if there are any changes.

If you are ready to make the commitment of reducing injuries and illnesses and managing claims, you can expect your costs to go down and your profits to go up.

New Rules Require Employers to Provide IIPP upon Request

work safety IIPP

New Cal/OSHA regulations will require employers to provide access to their injury and illness prevention programs upon request.

Under the new rule, which is expected to take effect in April, employers will be required to provide a copy of their IIPP within five days upon an employee’s or an employee’s representative’s (a lawyer’s) request. The employer can provide it in electronic or printed form.

That said, the new rule excludes requests for records of the steps the employer has taken to implement and maintain the IIPP. This was excluded at the behest of employers who raised concerns that allowing such requests would give attorneys a green light to file requests in hopes of discovering errors or “improprieties.”

Despite the current absence of a rule, many employers already provide employees access to the IIPP through the availability of printed and/or electronic copies.

“For employers that do not currently provide such access, they will need to ensure that employees can access a free copy of the IIPP directly or through a designated representative upon request,” Cal/OSHA’s board staff wrote in the “Final Statement of Reasons” for the rulemaking package. “As such, providing access need not be a complex procedure requiring costly development.”

Employer groups had lobbied for a 10-day window for providing the IIPP, while labor groups wanted a faster timeline of just 48 hours. The board compromised with the five-day rule.

The rule was needed because the current IIPP standard does not explicitly state that employees should have access to their company’s IIPP.

Current IIPP standard

Every employer in California is required to have an effective IIPP. This basic safety program for your workplace addresses the hazards your employees face at work each day, and it must be in writing.

Cal/OSHA has a guide for creating an IIPP.

But, you should not just create an IIPP because you have to. Going through the process of creating an IIPP ― as well as updating it periodically ― can also help your organization by:

  • Preventing workplace injuries.
  • Reducing your workers’ compensation insurance rates.
  • Helping you to find ways to boost your workflow.
  • Improving the bottom line of your business.

Elements of an effective IIPP

  • The plan is in writing and reflects what you actually do.
  • A point-person, who is in charge of managing the IIPP process.
  • Input from department heads as well as rank and file employees when updating or creating your IIPP.
  • Requiring that everyone follows the rules of the program.
  • A system for reliable, prompt communication between supervisors and line employees on safety.
  • Conducting regular inspections to identify hazards.
  • A framework for investigating accidents and illnesses, to discover the cause and to prevent recurrence.
  • Requiring that hazards are corrected promptly when found.
  • A regimen for training employees on the hazards they may encounter at work.
  • Documentation of training and workplace inspections.