chapter 1


Safety might not be the sexiest agenda item, but its fundamental importance — especially for manufacturing and logistics companies — is almost impossible to exaggerate.


But don't just take our word for it.


1 billion 13,000 U.S. workers are injured on the job everyday

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 13,000 American workers are injured on the job every single day. That's one injury every seven seconds — about the same amount of time as it took you to read the previous sentence. It's only in that context that the astonishing $1 billion U.S. businesses shell out each week to cover workplace injuries begins to make sense.


1 billion amount U.S. businesses spend each week on workplace injuries

For employers with industrial worksites and workforces, safety-related risks and costs are especially close at hand. Stats back this up: 



Given all that, the costs can quickly add up — and they're not always direct.


what downstream risks arise from less-than-sterling safety reputations?
  • decreased productivity and employee morale
  • difficulty with employee engagement
  • recruiting and hiring challenges
  • increased turnover
  • higher costs associated with workers' comp
  • debilitating legal expenses


And that's just the beginning. With so much on the line, you can't afford to be caught off guard when it comes to safety — and with this comprehensive guide, you won't be. It's your one-stop shop for safety best practices, chock full of actionable insights and real-world examples.


Ready to take your organization to best-in-class safety standards, at the same time increasing efficiency, mitigating risks and growing your bottom line? It's all here. Dig in.

chapter 2

how do you stack up?

You might not have a robust, "best-in-class" safety strategy in place at your organization today — and if not, that's okay. But now is the time to do something about it, as the risks outlined in the introduction of this ebook should have made clear. 


So your first step is to gain an in-depth understanding of your safety culture: Where you stand today will determine the proper course of action to help get your organization to a place of safety excellence tomorrow.


But where to start? With the following five-step safety-culture maturity model from the experts at Randstad, you're about to find out. 


what is a safety-culture maturity model, exactly? 

Safety-culture maturity models were developed for two reasons. Namely, they help organizations:


  • diagnose the existing level, or as-is state, of safety-culture maturity
  • identify the best path forward for making improvements — the to-be state along the journey to safety excellence


From a high level, companies can generally be bucketed into one of the five stages listed below, each of which describes a point in time on the path to safety excellence. As you read each of them, begin thinking through where your organization falls today — but don't worry, we'll also examine each stage in far greater detail to help you figure it out. 


safety culture maturity overview:
the five stages

Let's look at each of these more closely. In this chapter, we’ll also outline next steps for your organization. That way, no matter where you are in your safety journey today, you'll be ready to spring into action by the end of the chapter.


01 RestrictiveA

02 ReactiveA

03 In-TransitionA

04 ProactiveA

05 TransformativeA



no-care culture

defining characteristics

  • There's little or no safety ownership. Even worse, requests for improvement are unwelcome.
  • Shortcuts to complete tasks are common, and accidents and injuries have been normalized.
  • The overall emphasis is placed on satisfying legal requirements — and hiding errors.
  • There's some upward communication based on "good news" or uncontainable information.

leadership view
"I think employees are the source of the problem, so punitive measures are an appropriate move to control them."


next steps

  • Shift leadership's mindset: Injuries are no longer acceptable costs, nor are people easily replaceable resources.
  • Delegate safety ownership to a person or team, provide them with a clear mandate and goals and ensure that expectations are set across each line of business.
  • Demonstrate the connection between employee morale and business success, so that legal requirements are no longer the driving force behind workplace safety.


blame culture

defining characteristics

  • Responsibility for safety is delegated with limited authority or resources.
  • Problems are identified after incidents occur, with punitive measures introduced as an attempt to correct them.
  • The safety program is built to satisfy legal and incident-reporting requirements.
  • Upward communication is irregular — and not valued as a core part of operations.

leadership view
"Safety data — for instance, incident type and frequency — is informative, at least in the abstract. But it's disconnected from and irrelevant to how I think about our overall business strategy."


next steps

  • Shift leadership's mindset: Your employees are not to blame for — nor are they the true source of — workplace injuries.
  • Provide your safety team with a clear mandate, including the expectation that they'll deliver company-wide progress reports on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • Eliminate punitive actions tied to injuries.
  • Conduct forward-looking risk assessments, rather than simply doing after-injury reports.


in transition
compliance culture

defining characteristics

  • Regulatory requirements are used to deliver messages about safety's importance — but these are considered separate from the company's desire to care for its workforce.
  • Safety-specific roles and designations are seen as responsible for improvements across business units.
  • Goal-setting initiatives are tied to OSHA metrics and/or related costs.
  • Safety priorities get adjusted at an operational level.
  • The safety program is built to satisfy legal and incident-reporting requirements, with evidence of incident-reduction efforts derived from reporting metrics.
  • Interdependency for improvement among departments is increasingly visible.

leadership view
"I'm aware of historical data — although less so about current levels of latent risk within our organization. Still, we're demonstrating initial improvements and increasing awareness of performance initiatives outside of compliance efforts."


next steps

  • Integrate your safety strategy and goals into the overall business direction.
  • Set clear safety goals and communicate them across the organization.
  • Track progress toward those goals, and continue to refine your approach over time.
  • Make individual employees accountable for reporting hazards and contributing to a safer workplace.
  • Empower your safety team to influence operational and strategic decision-making.


ownership culture

defining characteristics

  • Efforts to integrate safety into the business model are underway or operational.
  • People in safety-specific roles are viewed as subject-matter experts, coaches and influencers.
  • Front-line workforce manage and control common risks as well as serious injury and fatality (SIF) exposures.
  • Clearly defined prevention metrics are in place, and the value of safety is communicated and understood among leadership teams.
  • Goal setting is linked to actionable oversight and performance improvements.
  • Interdependency for safety improvements is prioritized among all stakeholders and influencers, including third parties like staffing agencies — plus, operational risk assessments have informed the organization who these stakeholders are.

leadership view
"From the perspective of loss history — as well as current risk assessments that are specific to the operations — I feel well informed. I certainly embrace the role that all employees must play in safety performance improvement."


next steps

  • Build and implement a clearly defined safety-management system, including a system for more efficient risk identification and analysis.
  • Make preventive actions the rule, rather than the exception.
  • Conduct routine trainings and refreshers for staff at all levels.
  • Ensure staff members are engaged and empowered cross-functionally to improve safety.
  • Identify areas of the business that may be struggling with safety and build proactive plans for improvements, engaging and working collaboratively with all relevant teams and stakeholders.


safety-as-daily-practice culture

defining characteristics

  • A clearly defined safety-management system is in place.
  • Intervention strategies are closely integrated into the roles and responsibilities of each function, with oversight of the process framed in terms of continual improvement and employee development.
  • Competent front-line supervisors and workers operate from shared expectations and values across the team.
  • The highly engaged staff works cross-functionally to make safety a collective responsibility at every level.
  • Transparent communication and collaboration with all workers and business partners is the norm.

leadership view
"Safety is led from — and fundamentally connected to — the core values of our organization. It's 100% integrated."


next steps

  • Continue to measure, manage and refine safety practices.
  • Share externally facing thought leadership on safety to help other organizations improve, while also increasing the perceived value of your employer brand.
  • Identify and spotlight "safety stars" — people who are making key contributions toward a safer workplace — within your organization.


Now that you've gotten a read on your own safety maturity and have taken note of some appropriate next steps, it's time to take action. In chapter three, we'll look at safety best practices in a variety of applications across the organization.

chapter 3

simple best practices

Risk and safety go arm in arm, as tightly wound as two strands of a double helix — or perhaps more appropriately, concertina wire and a fence. Yet for many leaders, getting an accurate read on organizational risk and making improvements from there remains both a priority and a challenge. 


If that sounds like you, the good news is that you've come to the right place. Here's everything you need to know to diagnose and improve your organization's approach to risk assessment.


define safety in terms of desired outcomes

Safety is a pretty broad concept, and without defining what exactly you want to achieve, it'll be hard to know what success looks like. And that means framing "safety" in terms of desired outcomes. 


outcomes that might be relevant to your business:
  • Where does technology advance your organization's talent strategy?
  • Do you seek digital options to enhance the total employee experience, beginning with talent attraction and stretching through offboarding?
  • Does your company understand how different employee populations relate to technology in their everyday activities?


Of course, you'll need to define safety in terms that are specifically relevant to your organization, but these examples should help you think about the safety-related metrics you'll want to prioritize.


shift to a more proactive approach

For many companies today, the traditional approach to safety and risk is likely focused on, say, post-incident metrics. That's okay — at least for now. But backward-looking reporting isn't setting the bar high enough when it comes to organizational safety and risk today. Celebrating a certain number of days without a safety incident means very little if your organization can't point to specific behaviors and actions that drive the desired safety outcomes.


What's required is a shift in mind-set: Rather than looking in the rearview mirror, train your front-line supervisors and workers on how to identify risks, provide feedback on desired (and undesired) behaviors and connect performance goals to safety.


That means taking a proactive approach to safety — one that enables those most likely to encounter safety risks to more effectively anticipate and manage them. Enabling your front-line workforce to better manage safety is culturally empowering and critically necessary to avoid accidents before they even happen.


But how?


The key is to create a feedback loop among the behaviors, actions and work practices that lead to desired outcomes — because, in reality, we all drift from known, safe work practices from time to time. So timely feedback from coworkers, supervisors and leaders is crucial in order to nudge us back to safe practices. Unfortunately, at many organizations today, this is still something to strive for.


The good news is that reviewing these feedback loops — and the associated data — often proves to be illuminating. This data contains a treasure trove of insights about possible areas for improvement across all business areas. From there, creating an intervention strategy capable of delivering those desired outcomes becomes much more feasible.


creating a comprehensive safety-management system

At the center of any safety-improvement initiative — and the primary tool you'll use for monitoring and assessing risk — is your safety-management system (SMS). Think of it as your overarching, comprehensive framework for getting ahead of organizational risk and safety.


To be effective, your SMS should account for the following five "P's" from the National Safety Council.



Who's going to be on the front line of safety improvements at your organization — and who's going to ensure that protocols are adhered to going forward? You'll probably need to carry out a deep-dive job-hazard analysis for all functions and areas of your operations. Just make sure you have widespread buy-in and support first, because no safety initiative can get off the ground without dedicated people behind it.



You need to plan for risks, over both the short and long term. Getting stakeholders on board and aligned will be part and parcel of this proactive planning process. (Phew, that's a lot of P's.)



Best-in-class safety organizations have dedicated environmental health and safety (EHS) programs in place to ensure they're not only identifying and controlling hazards but effectively monitoring and measuring their impact. Check out these OSHA guidelines for recommended program practices.



Don't get complacent about safety and risks. Beginning your risk assessment is just the first step in a much longer journey — and you need to be constantly moving the needle. Carry out ongoing audits and reviews to ensure continual improvement. 



As we've already touched upon, measuring your performance is critical for developing insights and identifying additional improvements going forward. Think about the KPIs that matter for your organization, and institute regular reporting with senior leaders to ensure you're making headway. At times, you may find the need to correct your course, too — and that's perfectly fine. Agility and safety go hand in hand.


For more tips and best practices on safety-management systems, head on over to the International Organization for Standardization's website to learn more about ISO 45001 — the highest safety standard to meet for organizations today.


key takeaways

If you're not sure where to start with assessing risk, don't beat yourself up about it. You're certainly not alone — the majority of organizations are in that same position today. But you do need to take next steps now, because the cost of inaction is high and you can't afford any delay.


Fortunately, a fresh assessment of the risks affecting your organization, together with a commitment to building and implementing a strong framework (like the ISO 45001 standard), should place you on the same path as many best-in-class organizations.

chapter 4

essential role

Training your employees to develop competency in safety knowledge and skills is essential for safety culture advancement — and an integral, yet often overlooked, part of that is onboarding. 


Why is onboarding so important to safety outcomes? What can you do to make improvements? And what does it take to achieve best-in-class status? In this chapter, we'll answer these questions and more. 


breaking down the data: the state of onboarding today

Let's start with the current state of onboarding at manufacturing and logistics companies today, drawing on insights from Randstad's recent survey of more than 1,000 managers and employees.


what are the most common onboarding practices at manufacturing and logistics companies today?


01 online learning modules02 educational videos03 new-hire checklist04 mentoring05 job shadowing06 self-directed research


At first blush, this picture of current onboarding practices looks promising. For example, the data suggests that manufacturing and logistics companies are not only investing in new onboarding tools, but continually upgrading and improving their offerings, too.


Equally encouraging are the 69 percent of managers who say their companies either "always" or "very often" provide training or development opportunities for employees to learn new skills specific to their roles. That's good news, given that role-specific training is an OSHA-recommended safety practice and a key part of any effective safety program. And in a seemingly related finding, managers in manufacturing and logistics are more likely than their counterparts in all other industries to describe employees as "continuously" taking advantage of opportunities to gain new skills at work. That's a very positive sign of alignment between what manufacturing and logistics companies are offering and what their employees want.


books 32% of manufacturing workers received zero onboarding

Less encouraging, on the other hand, is that a whopping 32 percent of the talent surveyed revealed that they had received no onboarding at all. Given that only about half of our clients, according to our research, are using that most basic of onboarding tools — a new-hire checklist — it's clear that there's plenty of room for improvement. Formalizing new-hire onboarding with a checklist not only helps managers and HR streamline and standardize the process, but also sets the stage for better relationships between coworkers.


The first few days of employment can determine whether the investment in a new hire does — or does not — pay off.


These checklists also serve as key risk-management tools, enabling employers to systematically set and manage expectations on all things safety, like machine-specific training. Without them, how can you ensure that you're delivering a standardized onboarding experience and creating a common base of knowledge around safety and operations for all new hires?


The simple answer is: You can't.


Moreover, new-hire checklists have been shown to help get new hires up to speed as much as 25 percent faster, so the business case for implementing them at your worksite should be fairly cut and dry. And as an added bonus, by implementing checklists, you'll also gain the ability to review processes far more objectively when things go wrong.


rocket new-hire checklist expedites onboarding 25% faster

Finally, the fact that self-directed research is a component of onboarding at more than a quarter of manufacturing and logistics companies right now should raise some eyebrows (and not least because it sounds like a euphemism for "You're on your own now, buddy!"). Most fundamentally, the problem is that, whatever form this research takes, it can't be effectively or safely brought to bear on day-to-day floor operations unless everyone else on the team is in the loop. In light of the close connection between onboarding and on-the-job safety — which is more pronounced in manufacturing and logistics than in most other industries — this is a worrying finding, indeed.  


onboarding in safety training: key takeaways

When approached holistically, onboarding is about more than just what happens when new hires show up at your plant or warehouse. That's when the process formally kicks into gear, of course, but ultimately, the scope and goals of your onboarding process should be much broader, with downstream impacts across the full employee lifecycle.


Now that you understand the role of onboarding in workplace safety, let's examine some of the organizational infrastructure — committees, policies, practices and more — that define best-in-class safety organizations today.


Up next after the break: safety inspections.

chapter 5

worksite safety inspections

In today's industrial environments, continual improvement is the name of the game. If you aren't getting better every day, you're likely at risk of stagnating — or even falling behind. For these reasons and more, regular worksite safety inspections are a recognized best practice among leading manufacturing and logistics companies today.


Plus, the benefits can be huge


How huge? One study found that worksite safety inspections led to as much as a 20 percent reduction in days away from work, job restrictions and job transfers (collectively known in the safety arena as "DART"). No less critically, that same study concluded that the positive impact of inspections was most pronounced among manufacturing companies.


rocket worksite safety inspections reduce DART by 20%

Given those positive findings, only one question remains: What makes for successful, effective worksite safety inspections? Let's break that down in greater detail. 


key components of effective worksite safety inspections

Worksite safety inspections are essential for companies looking to transition from a reactive to a proactive safety approach. So what makes for an effective worksite safety inspection? It all starts with the following six-point approach.



document Conduct a baseline hazard survey. (See chapter seven for more in-depth information on job hazards.)
magnifying lens Perform regular workplace inspections.
bar graph Carry out in-depth job-hazard analyses.
paintbrush Identify and document potential chemical hazards.
eye Be vigilant about new risks and hazards, especially when changing equipment, materials or processes.
fingerprint Investigate all incidents and accidents, with an eye toward determining root causes.

You'll need to anticipate the full gamut of injuries and illnesses your employees might succumb to as a result of being at your worksite. And if that strikes you as challenging, it should also underscore the fundamental importance of the inspections themselves. Plus, once you've successfully pinpointed hazards, it's a whole lot easier to start controlling for them — which will pay dividends on your bottom line. 


Got a handle on what makes for a successful safety inspection? Great! In chapter six, we'll turn to the vital role that safety committees have to play in planning, managing and executing worksite safety inspections — as well as ensuring that your organization remains on the path of continual improvement.

chapter 6

best-in-class safety committees

In the context of fast-paced industrial work environments, it can be easy to forget that organizational culture — and change — trickles down from the top. Yet there's just no getting around the fact that what matters to leaders is going to be reflected, day in and day out, in the behavior, attitudes and expectations of everyone else throughout the organization.


That's where safety committees come into play. It's a chance to bring leadership together with team members from diverse areas of your organization not only to define goals, but to ensure you continue to make progress toward them. 


the eight ingredients of best-in-class safety committee programs



diverse representation

You must include representatives from all departments and shifts at your organization. Otherwise the on-the-ground, practical, everyday influence of your committee will be held in check. 



clear expectations

What common goal is everyone working toward? How will you benchmark progress — and what will success look like? Without clearly defined and commonly held expectations, your safety committee is going to be DOA.



support and other resources

Provide the committee members with rules, expectations and resources.



Draft agenda items for each meeting agenda well in advance. What's going to be covered, and why is it important? This will help keep everyone on track when setting goals.



Everyone on the safety team should be aligned on the cadence of meetings that's appropriate for your organization. In the event that absences become an issue, first speak to the party in question privately, and gently remind them of the importance of your collective goals. The bottom line is that attendance must be mandatory for all.


tracking and monitoring

Aim to wind down each meeting with a resolution on, say, two or three separate safety issues. These should be concrete goals — with limited scope — that can be effectively resolved before your next meeting. Just be sure to follow up!



All members of your safety committee need to feel comfortable speaking candidly. In cases where dissent — or simply alternate points of view — get stifled, safety invariably takes a back seat to the status quo. And that can be dangerous for your business.



Some sort of organization-wide communication should follow on the heels of every safety committee meeting. What are you working on? What are the short- and long-term goals? Sharing the committee's work not only increases visibility, but helps secure buy-in from team members across the company.

Finally, keep in mind that it's still possible to have fun — in fact, that three-letter word can be what differentiates organizations that succeed with safety from those that don't. Strive to maintain a positive tone throughout the course of your safety committee meetings, keeping in mind, too, that even short-term wins deserve to be commemorated and shared.

chapter 7

job safety
observations 101

A top-notch safety culture is one where front-line workers both understand the behaviors and conditions that increase safety risk exposures and feel empowered to proactively reduce them. As an organizational leader, it should be your goal to communicate that message, of course, but that's not all. In fact, there are simple best practices you can institute — together with easy-to-access channels you can create — that will go a long way toward bringing that vision to life.


Let's look at the key role job safety observations play at leading companies today. 


what are job safety observations — and why are they important?

Job safety observations are similar to worksite safety inspections. The critical difference, though, is that now your focus is on people, as opposed to the working environment itself. These observations should take place both formally and informally on an ongoing basis in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the relationship between employees and their tasks, tools and surrounding environment. From there, it's far easier to make improvements. 


five elements of successful safety observation programs

Leading organizations today typically adhere to the following five guidelines when conducting job safety observations:



Announce your presence and the objectives to all employees or teams you plan to observe.


Plan to observe a minimum of three to five cycles of the process in question.


Ask the operator questions about the process, but try not to interfere right away: The goal, after all, is for you to understand daily practices and actions — the way things actually take place on the ground.


Verbally reinforce positive behaviors when you see them.

two people

Follow up with supervisors to express any concerns about what you have observed. Clearly communicate your planned next steps for improvement, as well.

checklist: job safety observations

As is generally the case with the strongest safety programs, checklists — in this case, safety-observation checklists — come in handy. They're a great, easy-to-implement option to help you gather insights from people across your organization, particularly those on the front lines. And to help ensure these observations, in turn, are translated to actionable insights, you should consider creating an automated intake form that observers can fill out at any time, anywhere and on any device. 


what should be included in job safety observations?
  • where the incident occurred
  • category of concern (e.g., water damage, lighting, slip hazard)
  • recommended course of action for improvement


Plus, if you're struggling and need more help with job safety observations, be sure to check out the free checklist templates here and here. They ought to make your life a bit easier. 


Finally, however you decide to put job safety observations into play at your company, bear in mind that all employees, full-time staff and contractors alike, must be aligned on a shared vision. Otherwise — for example, if contractors don't feel they're equally responsible for safety improvements at your organization — you'll quickly discover that the overall efficacy of your job safety observation program is in serious jeopardy.

chapter 8

mastering the

First things first: What, exactly, is a "hazard"? At first glance, OSHA's definition couldn't be more straightforward: A hazard is simply "the potential for harm." But noodle on that for a moment, and the complexity quickly piles on. A hazard, in OSHA's definition, isn't an object or environment alone — it's the intersection of the two.


Equal parts object and environment, hazards abound in every manufacturing and logistics environment — known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns and unknown unknowns alike. So to avoid the high cost of workplace injuries, you'll need to get proactive about recognizing and mitigating them. And that starts with our eight-step approach. 


gather existing information about workplace hazards

Gathering and centralizing all of your information is the first step to getting a sense of existing hazards and exposures. Just be sure to treat this as an evolving body of knowledge, not something set in stone. 


rigorously inspect your workplace for safety hazards

It's imperative that your organization conduct regular inspections of all operations, equipment, work areas and facilities. Have workers participate on the inspection team, and talk to them about the hazards they see or report.


Always document your inspection efforts, ideally with photos or videos. That way, others can review later on and verify that hazards have been addressed and corrected. Plus, this kind of documentation often comes in handy for training purposes later on. 


pinpoint any and all health hazards

Health hazards come in many forms — chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic and more — so identifying them ahead of time isn't always easy. Indeed, in some cases it requires specialized training. For that reason, be sure to check out any relevant regulatory guidelines. And if you need outside support, you can always take advantage of strategic partners like Randstad or get help from OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program


carry out in-depth incident investigations

When incidents do occur, your investigations must be thorough — and they should begin immediately after the incident takes place. 


what should you incident investigation include?
  • who will be involved in the investigation, with all roles clearly defined
  • communication channels
  • materials, equipment and supplies needed
  • expectations around documentation


Ideally, your investigation team will include management as well as specially trained workers.


examine close calls and near misses for proactive insights

Just because something didn't happen this time around, there's no guarantee that it won't in the future. If anything, quite the opposite is true. That's why close calls and near misses should be considered highly valuable learning opportunities.


3 ways close calls and nears misses can lead to insights
  • Don't just focus on what did or didn't happen. Instead, think in terms of root causes.
  • When developing preventative measures, try to design a lasting solution that thinks in terms of "controls." In other words, how can you eliminate the very possibility that this event or exposure can happen in the future?
  • Start a dialogue. Knowledge sharing is critical to better safety outcomes — and the best way to prevent unfortunate recurrences. So share the results of any investigation with managers, supervisors and employees alike. You should become familiar with OSHA's hazard communication guidelines as well.


plan for and mitigate potential hazards from emergency or nonstandard scenarios 

Fires, explosions, chemical or hazardous material spills, equipment shutdowns — in manufacturing and logistics environments, there are any number of scenarios that might be accurately called "unplanned." But that doesn't mean they actually are. So take the time to think through every "what if." At the end of the day, it's your job to have specific, clearly communicated plans in place for every scenario. 


classify and prioritize your hazards

Not all hazards are alike, but some — say, the risk of electrical fire in two machines with similar wiring — share a lot in common. (See Appendix 2 of OSHA's guide to job hazard analysis for more information.) The point is that thinking categorically in this way will help you look for and control hazards. After all, hazards that appear obvious in one area of your operation may be far less so in another. 


At the end of the day, you should also bear in mind that not everything can be patched and fixed overnight, so you'll need to prioritize which safety improvements to put in place first.


3 factors to consider when classifying and prioritizing risks
  • the severity of the potential outcome
  • the likelihood of an event or exposure occurring
  • how many employees are at risk


implement interim control measures 

For those hazards you can't effectively resolve right away, interim control measures are the tonic — just don't let them become an excuse not to adopt more permanent solutions later on. When done right, short-term stopgaps are an effective way to protect workers and keep the business running smoothly. Just be sure to carefully keep track of these controls, because you can't afford to let workplace hazards slip through the cracks. 


additional resources

Need additional support to reinforce the learnings from this chapter? No sweat — we've got you covered every step of the way. (We didn't call this "your complete guide to safety" for nothing.) For starters, there's OSHA's Hazard Identification Training Tool. This interactive, game-based training tool is a great educational resource. It'll help teach all of your team members the core concepts of hazard identification, and will empower them to more effectively and proactively identify hazards in your workplace, too. 


The National Safety Council also offers some valuable resources and training materials here


Now that you've mastered the essential concepts and goals of hazard recognition, let's move on to safety and risk in joint-employer environments. If that sounds like a somewhat more specialized topic, it's also one that's more relevant today than ever before. Why? Jump ahead to chapter nine to find out. 

chapter 9

safety and risk in joint-employer environments

Risk management is getting increasingly complex today, as recent trends — most notably, the proliferation of the gig economy and a greater reliance on contract workers — reshape the world of work before our very eyes. 


With so much in flux, leading companies are increasingly turning to staffing partners to solve their most critical talent pain points. In part, that's because staffing partners can help companies better manage a wide range of risks — everything from business interruptions to accidents, compliance and more — that impact their bottom lines.


Of course, that impacts risk as well.


So how should manufacturing and logistics companies evaluate potential partners from the standpoint of risk and safety? Moreover, once a partner has been selected, what's the best approach in order to ensure successful implementation on the ground?


In this chapter, we'll be answering these questions and more — so you can overcome a bevy of risks that might otherwise derail your business in joint-employer environments.


essential criteria for evaluating potential partners

Working with the right staffing partner brings with it a host of benefits for manufacturing and logistics companies. But to see those benefits, you'll need to take an end-to-end view of safety and risk — and that begins with your approach to evaluating partners.


Here are some key questions — organized around core elements of Prevention Through Design (PTD) and risk control — that are crucial to consider when evaluating any potential staffing provider.


goals and expectations

  • Start by looking at the procurement process. How is it incentivized internally? For example, is performance tied to the success and capabilities of recommended vendors, or does "successful procurement" just mean securing the lowest possible cost? Clearly defined goals and shared expectations are cornerstones of successful partnerships — and when it comes to managing risk, you can't afford to let the procurement process be disconnected from safety goals.  
  • Consider the performance metrics that matter to you, whether that means risk identification and communication, incident and injury reduction or candidate quality, wages and rates. How will these metrics be reinforced through specific interventions, such as risk assessments, site evaluations, training and communication?
  • What will be the touchpoints between your organization and your staffing partner to ensure the success of your efforts? Leaders in risk-based thinking recognize that it's easy to drift from good intentions — and that's why defining and guarding these touchpoints is so critical.


  • What site-specific information must be communicated? What follow-up methods will be used to verify retention of critical safety knowledge?
  • Studies show that contingent workers can have lower risk awareness and be at greater risk of injury when conducting the same job activities as their full-time peers. So what hazards critical to safety — for instance, life safety, equipment safety or chemical safety — must be communicated to them? What serious injury or fatality exposures must be communicated? What follow-up methods will be used to confirm that key safety knowledge is not only being retained, but practiced every day on the job?
  • What hazards are the most critical to safety outcomes at your worksite? See Appendix 2 of OSHA's guide to job hazard analysis if you need help classifying these hazards.

front-line supervisors

  • How will front-line supervisors be trained to communicate safety and manage your temporary and contingent workforce? How will they manage workers' tendencies to do more than assignments require? Can they limit access to machinery, equipment, ladders and other high-risk processes? Are there opportunities to control the work environment during high-risk, nonstandard work, such as equipment changeovers or sanitation tasks?
  • How will assignments be managed? What escalation and approval processes should be in place in the event that you or your staffing partner needs to alter assignments?
  • Can peer-to-peer knowledge be leveraged to enhance problem solving, improve processes and uncover solutions? If so, what role should front-line supervisors play?


These questions should help you not only evaluate vendors more rigorously, but also begin to think through what implementation looks like on the ground. In the next section, we'll break down a framework to help you do so. By taking a structured approach, you'll be far better equipped to manage actions, timelines and expectations down the line.


the continual improvement cycle: plan, do, check, act

The occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system ISO-45001 is an international standard and framework to help companies, regardless of industry, proactively manage risk in order to prevent work-related injuries and illness for employees. One central piece of the ISO framework is the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle, which has proven especially valuable in the context of joint-employer environments.


To help you out, let's look at how some best-in-class manufacturing and logistics companies have put the PDCA cycle into action today in order to more effectively manage staffing partners and drive business outcomes. 



  • Establish key touchpoints, as well as a meeting cadence — say, monthly, quarterly or annually — for senior leadership to review goals, risks and progress.
  • Define the factors that are critical to worker safety in your joint-employer environment, and implement ongoing injury-prevention activities to address them.
  • Identify metrics and leading indicators — for example, the number of trainings or safety interventions during a given time frame — that matter the most to your organization.


  • Ensure completion of all items identified during the "plan" phase.
  • Record any successes, areas for improvement and course corrections related to your safety-planning activities. You should also be sure to record peripheral activities — such as near hits, root cause evaluation, compliance activities and creative items, like surveys from employees or front-line supervisors.
  • Document who — between the primary and host employer — owns each component of safety planning and preparation, with clearly established action items and target completion dates in place to keep everyone on track. This ensures all parties follow through and helps safeguard against potential process breakdowns.


  • Test the reliability of existing systems, including hazard identification, reporting, audit processes and safety committee communications, in order to mitigate potential drift.
  • Manage and communicate changes on an ongoing basis.
  • Understand deviations from planned safety methods and expectations.
  • Ensure all team members — especially new(er) employees — understand not only the overarching goals, but why taking a proactive approach to safety is such an urgent priority.


  • Identify and ensure resolution of any escalations related to items critical to safety.
  • Communicate risks through an established hierarchy of leadership and controls.
  • Celebrate wins, and be sure to communicate risks removed — as well as big-picture goals for the future.
  • Ensure all items identified during the "check" phase are built into the next planning cycle.

By taking this structured approach, you and your staffing partner can ensure alignment and continually make progress toward your goals. With proper goal setting, clearly defined expectations and an established communication cadence, the journey to best-in-class should be within reach. And as you work in that direction, the PDCA process should serve as a simple yet powerful tool to keep you and your partner on track.


key takeaways

Staffing partners bring considerable value and benefits to manufacturing and logistics companies today — but realizing all of those benefits isn't always easy. And when primary and host employers aren't aligned on the management of current and future risks, the costs and drawbacks can quickly add up.


For these reasons and more, building a strong joint-employer environment starts early. You just need to ask the right questions when evaluating potential staffing partners, then adopt a structured approach to implementation.


Now that you're armed with these insights, you should be able to not only approach staffing partners with confidence, but ultimately uncover opportunities to drive your business forward — without increasing your risk exposure.

chapter 10


A significant majority of manufacturing and logistics companies foresee growth in the year ahead, according to a recent Randstad survey — but to get there, they'll need to treat safety as a crucial part of their business's journey, too. And now, with the deep insights and actionable intelligence of this comprehensive safety ebook in tow, you're ready to do exactly that.


68 percent of manufacturing companies that expect business performance to improve in the year ahead


But you should also know that you don't have to go it alone. Strategic partners, like the manufacturing and logistics experts at Randstad, are here to help. 


We combine the human touch with the latest in tech, enabling us — and you — to connect with talent and make the right match faster. And with our unrivaled nationwide reach, we'll make vetting and onboarding that much more efficient. Plus, if your needs change, we're always ready to flex and scale.


Connect with the safety experts at Randstad's manufacturing and logistics practice today. We'll show you how we can deliver far-reaching operational improvements while solving for nearly any talent-related pain point. That way, you'll be better equipped to take on the challenges of today and thrive, no matter what tomorrow brings. 

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