Researching Safety Vulnerabilities

We have developed guidance and practical steps for you to implement each of the ten areas of focus when creating an effective Safety & Wellness Program at your organization. The following guidance correlates to focus area number four: Research Safety Vulnerabilities.

What are safety vulnerabilities?

Safety vulnerabilities are characteristics or circumstances of your organization that make it vulnerable to the loss and damaging effects of a hazard. These vulnerabilities can arise from physical, social, economic or environmental factors.

How can economic vulnerabilities affect your operations?

Much like the recent aquatics events in 2018, we are seeing an increase in frequency and an increase in severity of employee safety incidents.

Employee safety incidents can have a large impact on your organization—whether it’s finding staff to replace the injured employee, or disruption in programming. The cost that’s incurred from an employee safety incident can pull dollars from your operations and programming. This can lead to new vulnerabilities in other areas.

How to research safety vulnerabilities

When researching your organization’s safety vulnerabilities, it is important to analyze all aspects that are in place. Here is some guidance on how to do this:

Social Vulnerabilities
Social vulnerabilities can be anything or anyone that is disrupting the environment in a negative way. Ask yourself the following questions when evaluating your social vulnerabilities:

  • Are there any employees who are disengaged or isolated?
  • Is team confidence shared among all employees?
  • Is your organization short staffed?
  • Have you evaluated your service delivery recently?

Physical Vulnerabilities 
Perform a physical inspection of your organization’s buildings and work areas. One example may be inspecting your stairways and walkways. Through your assessment of the current physical environment, identify areas that could be improved.

General Vulnerabilities
Ask yourself the following questions when evaluating general vulnerabilities:

  • Is there clutter or hazards in the way of walkways or other work spaces?
  • Are the floors damaged or are the surfaces un-even?
  • Are all areas well lit? Make sure to evaluate this during the day and night.
  • Are all tools and equipment in good working condition?
  • Are the tools and equipment being used properly?

Once you have identified strengths and weaknesses in your operations, find ways to strengthen and improve those weaknesses. Then, set achievable and transparent goals in order to achieve change.