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safetyzone - managing health and safety
Why bother to manage health and safety?
- To prevent accidents and ill-health;
- To reduce personal injury claims;
- To prevent damage to equipment and loss of productivity
- Because directors and managers can be personally liable for failing to do so
The five steps to managing safety are:
- Establishing an effective safety policy;
- Organising staff
- Planning and setting standards
- Measuring performance
- Establishing a systems of audit and review
Establishing an effective safety policy.
The safety policy is the organisation's safety bible. It should provide all relevant information about health and safety issues and management
To make your health and safety policy effective you need to get your staff involved and committed. This is often referred to as "health and safety culture":
- 1: Ensure employees are competent - Assess their abilities and provide appropriate training, instruction and supervision.
- 2: Control safety - Employers should lead by example and demonstrate a clear commitment to safety. They should ensure that supervisors and employees are aware of their duties and responsibilities. Employers should also ensure that they have people in post who have responsibility for specific safety jobs.
- 3: Cooperate - Employers should consult with staff and their representatives and involve them in planning, performance reviews, the creation of procedures and the solving of problems.
- 4: Communication - Employers should provide to employees information about hazards, risks and preventative measures.
Planning and setting standards.
Planning is the key. It involves setting objective, identifying hazards, assessing risks, implementing standards of performance and developing a positive safety culture.
Plans should be written and should include:
- the undertaking and reviewing of risk assessments;
- ensuring that the business complies with all relevant safety legislation;
- agreeing targets for all employees from directors downwards;
- setting standards against which performance can be measured;
Employers MUST treat safety systems like patients in a hospital. Monitor their condition. Are they healthy? If not, then diagnose the problem by carrying out a re-assessment.
There are two types of monitoring: Active and Reactive
Safety inspections - Safety inspections are an excellent way for you to identify those areas within an organisation with uncontrolled risks. When deciding how often to have safety inspections take into consideration:
- 1: The activities carried out in the organisation;
- 2: The risks involved;
- 3: Evidence of previous accidents.
Inspections should be:
- Undertaken in different parts of the same organisation at different frequencies ;
- Undertaken by groups including managers and employees;
- Undertaken by trained individuals, preferably with experience of the areas being inspected
- looking at the accident trend;
- looking at your risk assessments. Training in areas of highest risk may be a way to reduce risk;
This is about learning from events after they have happened. Examining accident reports, for example, to identify trends.
- Safety Tours - This involves following a pre-arranged route to spot hazards.
- Safety Sampling - This involves examining the whole organisation but looking for specific safety hazards.
Establishing a system of audit and review.
Audits identify failings in safety systems. They are more in-depth than inspections. An inspection would spot the hole in the ground. The audit would identify the systems in place for spotting the hold in the ground.
Employers should carry out a periodic review of the health and safety policy, paying particular attention to:
- the degree of compliance with health and safety performance standards (including legislation)
- areas where standards are absent or inadequate
- achievement of stated objectives within given timescales
- injury, illness and incident data: analysis of immediate and underlying causes, trends and common features
These indicators will show you where you need to improve.
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