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Developing an Effective Safety Program

Sacramento Public Library Authority

Problem Statement

The Sacramento Public Library was using a general safety program that did not meet library needs. The safety program had been in place for well over five years with no updated information since its inception. In some cases, staff was unaware of its existence. This resulted in an increased number of injuries and illnesses, lost time, decreased employee morale and higher insurance premiums.


The Library developed an Injury and Illness Prevention Program with assigned responsibilities for management, supervisors and staff. The newly developed program implemented a safety inspection process as a means of auditing the program’s effectiveness while increasing safety awareness. The program also features a safety committee that meets monthly and can be attended via teleconference. This has allowed staff throughout the 954 square mile library system the opportunity to participate and provide their input when they are unable to make the meeting in person. Another added awareness tool is the online distribution of the monthly safety topic. Each month a new topic is developed focusing on injury prevention and training. The Library has also incorporated an “early return to work program” as part of its overall safety program. This provides staff with an opportunity to continue as valuable members of the Library while recovering from a work-related injury.


The Library has reduced its Experience Modification by 46% and its annual insurance premiums by $70,000. Accident/incident frequency has decreased from 43% in the first quarter to 23.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010. The Early Return to Work Program helps keep skilled employees on the job and avoid the need to retrain new employees. The Safety Committee reviews all reported incidents and brainstorms for possible prevention methods. These ideas have been put into practice throughout the Sacramento Public Library Authority and, in some areas have successfully eliminated the existing hazards.