Occupational Safety & Health Policy Statement

Background Information & Purpose

The Occupational Safety and Health Act regulates that each employer is responsible to provide a hazard-free work environment for employees. Since there is a direct link between on-the-job injuries and safety programs to be managed by Human Resources and has appointed a County Safety Officer to serve as program manager.

In January 1991, the Board of Commissioners appointed a central occupational safety and health committee. The safety Officer serves as liaison between the central committee and the Board of Commissioners, Risk management Committee, department heads, departmental safety and health committees, employees, outside agencies and the public. Safety concerns should be directed to the County Safety Officer who arranges for safety committees and otherwise researches and reports on safety issues and concerns.

For safety matters having County-wide impact that require a written policy and/or procedure, the Safety Officer will prepare safety supplements and distribute to department heads and elected officials. Supplements should be kept in this section of the procedural manual; a master listing of supplements is provided for recordkeeping.

Douglas County

Occupational Safety & Health Policy Statement

It is the policy of Douglas County that as employers, the County will, at all times, and at every level of management, provide and maintain a safe working environment for all employees. The goal of all occupational safety and health programs are focused on prevention of accidents.

No phase of County operation or administration has greater importance than the safety of employees. This responsibility will be met by the promotion of safe working procedures and practices among all employees and by maintaining both facility and equipment in safe operation. It is also intended to provide and maintain safe and healthful working conditions and establish and insist upon safe work methods and practices at all times.

The County believes employees are its most important resource. Therefore, a principal responsibility of the Board of Commissioners is to provide and maintain a safe operation thereby ensuring the safety of each employee. A high priority will always be place on safe operations ensuring the safety of employees.

Our philosophy is service with safety. To accomplish this, all levels of management and supervision have primary responsibility for the safety, health and well-being of all employees. In turn, all employees have responsibility to abide by the safety and health procedures and practices, and to actively participate in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

Therefore, it becomes everyone's responsibility within Douglas County to unite and work in a cooperative effort to make service with safety a success. Managers are responsible for controlling accidents through the promotion of safety and enforcement of safety rules. Employees, in turn, have a responsibility to themselves, other workers, and County to aid in this endeavor by following established safe procedures.


Doug Robertson, Chair                        date              

Joyce Morgan, Commissioner             date              

Doris Wadsworth, Commissioner,      date          


As an employer, Douglas County is responsible under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide a hazard free work environment for its employees, this is supplemented by Oregon Administrative Rules 437.40 - Safety Committees. In order to meet the specific safety needs of County employees in an organized and efficient manner, occupational safety and health policies and procedures have been formulated to serve as a foundation for building an effective program. Once in place, they serve as an efficient tool to improve workplace operations, control hazards, reduce accidents and losses and increase productivity.

Safety shall be an integral part of all operations and both management and employees will be involved in safety and loss prevention planning, development and implementation. The aim is to make safety efforts so successful that elimination of accidents and injuries is not just a goal, but a way of life. The objective is "no accidents" and it is considered to be realistic.

Every employee will be involved and have responsibility to the occupational safety and health program. Direction will flow from the Board of Commissioners through the Risk Management Committee to the Department Heads, then to supervisors, Department Safety Committee and the to employees. Specific responsibilities of each group will be discussed in the Procedure Section of this policy.

Authority has been delegated by the Board of Commissioners to the Risk Management Committee to establish rules and procedures to limit exposure to losses. The Board of Commissioners will appoint a County Safety Officer who will represent the Risk Management Committee to the Central Occupational Safety and Health Committee, department heads, departments safety committee, employees, and the public.

A County-wide central occupational safety and health committee will be appointed by the Board of Commissioners to establish policy, set direction, oversee safety and loss prevention functions, receive employee input, conduct workplace inspections, review accidents, and promote safe attitudes. Members will serve as liaison between the Committee and employees.

Larger departments and those with high risk jobs will have a department safety committee. All departments will have a safety or loss prevention program specific to that department.

County employees have responsibility to both themselves and coworkers to reduce risks and prevent accidents by keeping safe attitudes and choosing safe behaviors. Hazardous conditions shall be reported.


Organization & Responsibility

1. Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is committed to promotion of safe working procedures and practices among all employees. To accomplish this, responsibilities have been assigned and authority given as outlined in this policy, Board Orders, and County Personnel Rules.

2. Risk Management Committee. The Board of Commissioners has implemented a program to manage Douglas County's exposure to risk by establishing a Risk Management Committee. Members are: County Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Director, Public Works Director, and Sheriff. Authority has been delegated to the Risk Management Committee to establish rules and procedures to limit exposure to losses. The Risk Management Committee assumes department heads will commit to the occupational safety and health needs of employees through their management planning. The committee delegates authority to the Safety Officer and Central Safety Committee to direct the areas of employee safety and health.

3.County Safety Officer. The Board of Commissioners will appoint the County Safety Officer who will represent and speak for the Risk Management Committee to the Central Safety and Health Committee, department heads, departments safety and health committee, employees, outside agencies, and the public. The Safety Officer will coordinate safety activities and keep the Risk Management Committee informed of these activities. The Safety Officer shall be responsible to maintain required Federal and/or State recordkeeping:

1. OSHA 300 log to be kept on file for five years. The most recent log shall be posted annually from February 1 through April 30 in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. The complete file is available from Safety Officer.

2. Accident form 801 and accident investigation form will be kept for five years following claim closure.

3. Safety Committee minutes will be kept for three years.

4. Department Heads. The Department head will commit adequate department resources to workplace safety and health. Authority and responsibility will be integrated into the management structure and be clearly defined and implemented. Each department will have written safety and loss prevention procedures specific to the department, workforce, work site (s), and work hazards to supplement the County Safety and Health policy. (See Appendix for suggested areas of coverage.) Development of these procedures should be completed using input from management, department safety committee members, and employees. It shall be communicated to all employees and a copy be provided to them. The county Safety Officer will also receive a copy. The County Safety Officer is available to assist in development of safety and loss prevention procedures.

Department heads will retain final responsibility for safety functions within the department. This will manifest itself in a charge-back program, whereby department's budget. This charge-back program will have a security factor built in to account for single catastrophic events whereby, on individual claims, charges will not exceed $2,000.

Safety performance will be considered in management and supervisor performance evaluations. Annually, a summary of departmental safety activities will be made available to the Board of Commissioners and department heads.

5. Supervisors. Supervisors, through department head delegation, have the primary responsibility for the safety of employees working under their supervision. Supervisors, must understand the hazards associated with a job and potential effects. As representatives of management, they are delegated responsibility for carrying out certain objectives as follows:

1. Follow proper hiring and placement procedures.

2. Become familiar with rules and policy set forth in both the County and Department Safety and Health Policies: enforce policies; contribute ideas to management.

3. Investigate and promptly report all accidents in detail. See that injured employees receive prompt medical attention and equipment is repaired.

4. Receive employee recommendations how to eliminate hazards and unsafe work practices in the workplace.

The supervisor has the primary role to ensure that employees know and follow department safety procedures and work practices, and will teach employees how to work safely. This can be accomplished at both the new employee orientation and in monthly safety meetings. Generally, the supervisor will:

1. Be responsible to provide a safe work place, personal protective equipment, and proper equipment and tools.

2. Assume responsibility for employee and volunteer training of safe work practices on a regular schedule in the areas of proper equipment operation, use of personal protective equipment and emergency procedures.

Safety performance will be considered in supervisor performance evaluations.

6. Employees. Safeness, as a state of mind, is a work style and lifestyle that keeps individuals on the safe side. Safeness is reducing unnecessary risks and preventing accidents by keeping a safe attitude, choosing safe behavior, and creating safe conditions. The active interest and cooperation of each employee is vital to the success of the County occupational safety and health program. Therefore, safeness is the responsibility of each employee. All employees will recognize the following responsibilities of safety:

1. Keep a safe attitude, take personal responsibility for department safety procedures, known and support the safety rules.

2. Choose safe behaviors that prevent accidents and reduce risks, keep a clean work site, use personal protective equipment.

3. Participate in department safety meetings, problem solving groups and job hazard surveys.

4. Report hazards to supervisor, department safety officer, department head, or County safety officer.

5. Participate in training for new employees and operation of equipment.

It is expected that all Douglas County employees will promote safety attitudes by showing a proper safety example. Safety performance will be considered in performance evaluations.

Safety Committee Duties & Functions

Central Occupational Safety and Health Committee. In order to meet Oregon OSHA regulation's OAR 437-001-0765 requiring employers to establish safety committees, the Board of Commissioners authorizes and supports a central safety committee to oversee the County-wide occupational safety and health program. Further recognition and support are given to department safety committees. The Board has a commitment to provide safe working conditions for employees. To this end, the central committee's purpose is to promote occupational safety and health, direct County-wide safety programs and to recommend changes that promote safe working conditions which will in turn provide a more productive working environment.

Central Committee Membership. The central committee shall consist of the County Safety Officer and not more than twelve members equally representing employer and employees. Departments that represent major work activities of the County and those with high risk jobs will be represented on the committee. Other departments will alternately place representatives to the committee. Members are appointed by the Board of Commissioners for an initial term of one year with the possibility of reappointment. Members will be paid for time spent in meetings and training.

Central Committee Meetings. The committee shall meet monthly at various County locations. The County Safety Officer will serve as Chair. A written agenda for conducting meetings will be distributed prior to the meeting. A report on the safety record, injury records and other incidents related to safety, and recent safety inspection results shall be presented.

Written Records. The County Safety Officer will provide for recordkeeping and distributing minutes of the central safety committee meeting. All reports, evaluations and recommendations of the committee shall be made a part of the minutes. Records or minutes will be made of meetings and sent to each committee member and department head. They shall be posted for employee review.

Duties and functions of Central Safety and Health Committee. Specific duties shall include:

1. Promote safety functions throughout the County. Develop County-wide policy recommendations on issues related to workplace, safety, and loss prevention.

2. Hazard assessment. Safety inspections will be conducted to locate and to identify potential accident-causing situations and to offer possible sultans to the problems. This could include buildings, grounds, vehicles, equipment and job sites. The inspections will be conducted by members of the Central Safety Committee, the Safety Officer and could also include a combination of Department Heads, department safety officers and committee members. A copy of the inspection report will be given to the Department Head and Department safety officer. If corrective action is necessary, completion dates will be set. Inspections will be conducted quarterly. Annual surveys will be conducted by Oregon-OSHA safety consultant.

3. Hazard prevention and control. When a possible hazard or unsafe work practice is noticed by an employee, it shall be reported to the supervisor or central safety committee member immediately. This can be either verbal or written. (Sample form attached.) The County Safety Officer is also available to receive the report. Where appropriate, the committee will act on suggestions and make recommendations to the affected departments.

4. Review claims history and investigate significant accidents including equipment and property damage incidents, on-the-job injury accidents, illness and death, and recommend corrective action necessary to prevent future occurrences.

5. Safety training. The committee will be trained to understand its purpose, applicable rules governing its operation, hazard identification and accident investigation. The committee will in turn provide training to department heads, department safety officers and / or committee members and employees.

6. Department Safety and Health Committee. As an adjunct to each department head's commitment to safety, larger departments and those with high risk jobs will have a department safety committee. The committee will play an integral part in development and maintenance of the department's loss prevention effort. The committee will receive suggestions of work hazards from employees and suggest correction to the department head.

It is strongly encouraged that a safety committee be established in each department. However, as an alternative, it is encouraged that department heads appoint an employee to be responsible for safety functions within the department. It is further suggested that at the monthly department staff meeting, an agenda item would be the monthly department staff meeting, an agenda item would be safety and loss prevention. In this manner, employee concerns regarding safety issues would be heard and receive response.

Reference: OAR437.40.044-.049
Douglas County Personnel Rule 20.1 (PDF)
Board Orders
Risk Management Policy and Procedures