Time to review your Accident Prevention Program

Summer is usually high season for many of our industries, but of course this is a summer (and a year) like no other. Think for a second about these questions:

  • How has your business changed in the past 6 months?
  • What business lines have been added or dropped?
  • What new ways of working are now part of the daily routine in your organization?

Now, has your safety plan been updated to reflect these changes? The safety plan, known officially as an Accident Prevention Program (APP), is the one document every employer in Washington must have. With L&I checking employers statewide for COVID-19 reopening compliance, this is the time to make sure your APP is up to date for the way your company operates today.

What is an Accident Prevention Program (APP)?

The APP is your company’s written plan for keeping workers safe on the job and for ensuring that proper steps are taken in the event that an accident does occur.

The APP is fairly simple for many low-risk workplaces, covering basic items such as the location of a first aid kit and what to do in event of a fire. On the other hand, higher risk workplaces like construction will have APPs that fill a binder (or more), with special sections for the machinery, chemicals, or other equipment used by employees.

Your APP should also include details of the safety committee and safety meetings for your company, including frequency of meetings and requirements for record keeping.

How do I update or create an APP for my company?

Creating an APP may seem like a challenge, a pain, or just an item to check off on your to-do list. It probably doesn’t seem like fun! And yes, it is a bit of work, but really there are just three steps:

  1. Make a list of all of the types of work done at your company
  2. Now, add the steps you and your employees already take to complete these jobs safely
  3. Review the DOSH safety requirements and add anything that applies to your industry or company

Careful! It’s tempting to Google “safety plan” and use whatever comes up. A generic plan won’t help your employees and can expose your company to a citation. Your APP must reflect the actual work done at your company, including any regulatory requirements.

If you’re an Approach client, you’ll find Safety Plan (APP) templates in our online Client Portal. Or, you can use the APP templates available from L&I. Either way, you’ll have a good starting point for filling in your company’s details.

How does COVID-19 affect my APP?

Every workplace in Washington state must follow the General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for COVID-19 — AND –any specific COVID-19 guidance for your industry. You MUST have documentation showing that you have followed these requirements. If not, you could be required to close immediately until you can prove your business is in compliance.

Your COVID-19 plans can be separate from your APP, but you must have both sets of plans available at each workplace and job site.

If your staff is using new tools or equipment because of COVID-19, you should add these to your APP and document that staff have been trained on correct usage. Remember to also keep safety data sheets (SDS) for any new cleansers or sanitizing chemicals that you are using.

Where can I get help updating or creating my APP?

Approach offers annual safety visits to each of its client. These meetings usually last about an hour and are a great way to review your business and highlight the areas of your APP that need updating. Our team can also provide tools and advice to reduce the frequency of accidents and near misses.

We usually hold these on-site at your office or a remote job site, but video calls are now available. You can schedule yours at https://approachms.com/resources/forms/safety-visit-request/.