You probably have a Stop Work Authority Program at your work, but how efficient is it?

Stop Work Authority programs are implemented to protect your workers from job site hazards and to mitigate the future risk that arises from these hazards. A SWA program can be your worker’s first line of defense against injury on the job site.

In fact, OSHA makes it a point that all places of work should have a SWA program. The OSHA general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires that each employer furnish to each of its employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Many times, workers don’t adhere to a Stop Work Authority program due to excessive bureaucracy. That could mean more injuries for your workers.

To simplify the process, use the SAFER system:

Stop work
Asses the situation
File a report
Eradicate Hazard

1. Stop work – When a worker perceives an unsafe condition, hazard, or behavior on the job site, they have an obligation to stop work or intervene on behalf of another person at risk.

If the danger is immediate, stop work immediately and begin the SAFER sequence. If the danger is not immanent, report the hazard to a supervisor and make it clear that it is a SWA request.

2. Asses the situation – stop work activities and make the area as safe as possible by recognizing the hazards, removing workers from the area, reporting the incident to a supervisor, and stabilizing the situation.

3. File a report – Your company should have an official SWA authorization form. This helps record what actions were taken to mitigate the hazard to prevent future injuries. If the request is valid, a SWA authorization form will need to be filled out before resuming work.

4. Eradicate the hazard – the unsafe conditions, hazards, or behaviors will be corrected according to the plans outlined in the SWA authorization form. The work areas that are affected will need to be inspected by a qualified professional to ensure that all hazards have been successfully resolved.

5. Resume – once the hazards have been recorded, removed or corrected, and inspected, workers will be educated on what actions were taken and work should be then be resumed.

Finally, make sure your supervisors and managers actually follow up on these reports and make changes. That could mean the difference between future risk and an accident-free workplace.

The SAFER technique keeps your workers safe while optimizing your organization’s efficiency at the same time. Proper recording and following-up of these incidents will help improve workflow for future events. It also keeps your company in line with OSHA standards.

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