Introduction

Early memories often wander back to lessons. I recall my dad teaching me how to hit a baseball. He showed me what to do and how to do it first. After that, he practiced with me. The same process repeated itself as I learned other skills and techniques in different areas—sports, music, math, human relations, and other management. As I grew older and began organized activities, coaches and teachers continued those activities. For me, it was a process of continual improvement, which went on through adulthood and continues even today. Learning and improving are continuous processes. We seek to do better each day. It is sometimes a trial-and-error process, but it all involves learning from our experiences. Of course, a more productive and less painful approach is learning from the experiences of others. It is helpful to have guidelines and instructions for especially difficult and/or critical tasks. It is also helpful to know the best way to manage those tasks, to have a list of best practices for them—especially those tasks that require guidance to avoid fines, illnesses, injuries, or even death —before we begin. The ANSI/AIHA Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard (Z10), attempts to provide that list of best practices. It is designed to give management a working guide for establishing, maintaining, and continuously improving the safety practice. For those already involved in an effective, ongoing effort, Z10 can help improve the process. Those with incomplete or ineffective safety practices can use Z10 for a completely new start. Start-up companies, or those with no practice at all, will find Z10 an invaluable tool for getting started.

The consequences of failure in managing a safety program are high, so the Z10 standard lays out an effective approach. The standard does not provide all the answers, but rather provides a broad overview of the best practices, useful in implementing, maintaining and improving the safety program. Among those practices are requirements for "Management Leadership and Employee Participation." Z10 uses "recognized management principles" as its basis. Of course, the question may arise as to whether management principles are universal; whether the same concepts that work in one environment are equally appropriate in another. The traditional response to that question is "yes," but there are exceptions. As you read this paper, keep in mind that people are different; therefore, employees are different. Different employees respond to the same stimuli in different ways. In any case there are generally accepted ways to do things. Z10 addresses those ways. This paper will do the same in a step-by-step format.

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