Last month, we focused on three key building blocks of a successful safety program – Ergonomic Risk Assessments (ERAs), Physical Demands Analyses (PDAs), and Job Safety Analyses (JSAs).
And while the processes and benefits behind each of these components are readily understood and experienced by many, there are still various misconceptions surrounding each that can either deter implementation or skew expectations after the fact. Employee training and development certainly fit into this conversation, as well, with many business and operations leaders failing to view these concepts through the proper lens.
Here is a closer look at some of the more common misconceptions surrounding these services and the realities that organizations should be aware of in moving forward.
Misconception 1: Employee development should be a voluntary task
Many employers fail to prioritize employee development because they view it as either unneeded or requiring of voluntary initiative on the parts of their employees themselves. In today’s working environment, learning should be a key part of every employment contract. It is no longer enough to train employees on an annual basis or to wait for them to ask for such opportunities.
To remain competitive within your industry, continuous employee development must be a key component of your corporate culture. The employees of today expect a continued investment in the skills, knowledge, and experiences that will help them remain productive and employable in the long term – and JSAs are a core part of this strategy.
In addition to quantifying the steps of a task or activity and identifying hazards for elimination, JSAs also help businesses train and comply with regulatory requirements for providing a safe and healthful working environment. JSAs serve as a training resource for new or underperforming employees and provide management with opportunities to facilitate learning, mentoring, and the development of job skills.
Misconception 2: ERAs, PDAs, and JSAs are as effective on their own as they are combined
It’s often been thought that leveraging only one or two of these services can have just as profound of an impact as leveraging them together. However, combining both ergonomics and safety services allows your organization to gain an overall picture of where risk lies within each job. This helps prioritize the highest-risk jobs and tasks and can also help determine where resources should be focused when implementing changes within the workplace.
Our holistic, all-encompassing approach looks at:
- The work environment
- Safety-related issues and OSHA compliance
- Work processes
- Tools, equipment, and workstations
- And how all of these factors impact the human operator
All the initiatives mentioned above are human-centric, as any risks identified impact the health, safety, and overall wellbeing of the human operator. Once risk factors have been identified, ERAs, PDAs, and JSAs not only help organizations develop recommendations for reducing or eliminating the risk of injury, but they also help prioritize which areas, jobs, and job tasks or processes should be addressed first and foremost.
Misconception 3: Ergonomics and safety can be leveraged independently
In general, it is always better to take a multi-disciplinary approach to workplace safety. Identifying ergonomic risks without also identifying safety risks (or vice versa) is equal to putting new tires on a vehicle that doesn’t have an engine. While you may have made some improvements to move toward your goal, you haven’t truly taken into account everything that needs to be addressed. For best results, ergonomics and safety should live side by side to improve the overall safety of your work environment and of your employees.
Ace your next OSHA inspection with help from Fit For Work
If your business is in need of a safety compliance easy button, Fit For Work can help. We partner with organizations like yours all across the country to find the gaps, get you to compliance, and make sure you stay there. Whether you’re in need of an Ergonomic Risk Assessment, a Physical Demands Analysis, or expert-led OSHA training, we have the resources and expertise needed to lead you through the process from start to finish.
Contact us today to begin identifying and mitigating hazards to ensure your business is more than ready for your next inspection.