Comprehensive city safety program evolving
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, October 27, 2012
10/27/12 at 3:02 AM
Local taxpayers ought to be pleased with the announcement that city leaders are following through with the creation of a comprehensive safety program that should help, among other goals, reduce the high workers compensation costs that have been plaguing the city for years.
Disturbed by the comp costs - which have hovered around $10 million a year for several years - Mayor Dewey Bartlett has made safety a top priority for his administration.
City leaders could have spent $1 million to hire a consultant to develop the program, but they decided instead to seek help from some local experts who have a proven track record in establishing safety programs.
Two executives from Covanta, which operates the Tulsa trash-to-energy plant, have helped establish safety programs for corporations and have been signed on by the city to take on that task. Labor Commissioner Mark Costello also has joined the effort.
The program will feature not only an increased emphasis on safety in the workplace, but also more focus on improved data-gathering and accountability.
"The public sector is learning that statistics can help drive safety, and safety can help drive down costs," noted Costello.
Under the envisioned program, safety records will be part of annual job evaluations, and each department will be responsible for its own workers compensation costs beginning with the next budget year. That will ensure greater accountability within each department. Currently, comp costs are averaged across departments.
A main goal is to develop a "culture" of safety: a way of thinking about safety issues that makes that objective a high priority throughout the workday.
If the new program is effective - and there's no reason it shouldn't be - the city also is likely to enjoy greater productivity and improved worker morale. Such by-products typically result from effective safety programs. And, more and more workers will be spared the pain and suffering of a workplace injury.
So far, so good. The evolving plan appears to be just what is needed. Now it's up to leaders, managers and workers alike to do their part.
Original Print Headline: Safety plan