Theoretically every organization has an IIPP, but the reality is that there are plenty of organizations that don’t. So, why aren’t bad things happening to those organizations? Why is it that the school district down the street, without an IIPP, has zero injuries and your legally compliant district can’t stop the bleeding? While I can’t give you a definite answer, I can guarantee that it has nothing to do with the IIPP.
Sure, every organization needs an IIPP to comply with OSHA regulations and you should certainly develop and implement one, just don’t believe the 5 most common myths your safety manager or insurance company tells you will come from your newly published program.
Make your business successful
Many years ago, I had a new employee who tried to boast about their safety knowledge. They threw down their glove and challenged one of my senior managers to a battle of wits. A battle that was over before it began. The new employee uttered the fatal sentence with no thought at all – ” A compliant IIPP will make your business successful.” Sorry, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. An IIPP is a simple document sitting on a shelf (nowadays a digital shelf) and nothing more. They are words on a page – nothing more. It is this concept that separates most successful and wealthy people from poor and unsuccessful in the world today – the difference between having a great idea and the execution of the idea. Ideas (IIPP program) without execution of the idea (implementation of the IIPP) means nothing. If you have an IIPP, but don’t follow it, don’t implement it and don’t put it into practice, that program will never make an impact on your business.
Stop all accidents
There’s a false impression that runs through the veins of most new safety professionals – if we implement this plan, no one will get hurt. This stems from the same warped thinking that a written program can somehow make you successful. I liken it to written programs for brakes on a car and defensive driving training. All the parts have to work in conjunction with each other. So all the training in the world won’t make your car stop when you press the brake pedal if your cars brakes are not maintained properly in the first place. The IIPP is just a starting point, you have to implement, enforce and give your employees the right tools for the job.
Make people care
Most employees care about safety to some degree, but you have to be a little bit conceited to believe that it is solely because of your well written IIPP. People care about safety because they want to get home and do the things that they want to do. I have walked into hundreds of organizations who have yet to develop any IIPP’s, only to find employees wearing safety glasses, hearing protection and seat belts. Your IIPP will not make people care about their safety – if they can care, then they already do.
Keep OSHA from fining you
One thing OSHA loves to do is collect more money and they have specific tools for doing so – the “general duty clause.” They are like gods – infallible. And, well, you are not. Don’t believe me? Just try using their template IIPP available on their website. Over the years, in more cases than I can count, organizations have used the OSHA template only to later receive citations for inappropriate/non-compliant IIPP’s. Entrapment – maybe. Just remember that no matter how good your IIPP is, you can expect to receive a citation for non-compliance. If you want to know how to defend your citation, listen to our interview with Jeff Malek.
Reduce your insurance rates
Sure, insurance underwriters have a check box on their you’re-in-the-club checklists for IIPP’s, but the weighting of that variable is minimal. Why? Because it is the implementation of your programs that matter. Have the IIPP? Great. Still having accidents? Shame on you. No, IIPP? Better get one. No accidents? Can we showcase you at our next annual meeting? The real meat and potatoes of your insurance rate is determined by your number of incidents and how well you manage them. Not to mention all the market factors that you have no control over.
While you should certainly have an IIPP and keep your employees safe, don’t fall into the false thinking that an IIPP is some kind of magic spell that will make you insusceptible to OSHA’s kryptonite.