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Managing Health and Safety

Safety Management Strategy

A health and safety strategy for your business

 

As an employer, it is your responsibility to maintain a health and safety workplace. A health and safety management strategy can help you focus your efforts at improving your work environment. Your strategy sets out a plan of action of what the people in your organisation do to prevent injuries and illnesses at your workplace.

Your organisation will have its own unique strategy, reflecting your way of doing business, the risks of your work, and how you manage the health and safety of your employees:

  • If you manage a small business in a low-risk industry, your strategy may simply involve listening to your employees’ concerns and responding to them.

 

  • A large business in a hazardous industry may have notebooks full of written policies and procedures and a full-time safety director.

What’s most important is that your strategy works for your organisation. It’s up to you to decide how best to operate a healthy and safe workplace, and to put your strategy into practice.

What makes a successful strategy?

A successful strategy will be part of your overall business operation and will be considered as important as the other things you do to succeed in business.
Successful health and safety strategy have the following in place:

  • Managers committed to making it work.
  • Employees involvement in Health & Safety.
  • A system to identify and control risks.
  • Compliance with Health & safety regulations.
  • Training on safe work practices.
  • Mutual respect, caring and open communication in a climate conducive to safety.
  • Continuous improvement.
  • A method to manage, control and track the above

Take a look at your health and safety system. Some components may be strong and others may need to be strengthened.

The following sections describe these key factors and give ideas about how to make them part of your strategy.

Use the following as a practical guide and adapt it to your needs

1. Make a commitment

Put as much energy into your commitment to health and safety as you put into any other important part of your business. Make sure to include workplace health and safety in your overall business strategy and integrate it into all aspects of the business.

  • Write a policy that emphasises the importance you place on workplace health and safety.
  • Commit the resources (time, money, personnel) needed to protect your employees.
  • Begin meetings with a safety topic.
  • Encourage employee participation in health and safety.
  • Let employees know they will be expected to follow safe work practices if they work for your business. And follow them yourself. This can be outlined in your inductions and toolbox talks.
  • Respond to and monitor all reports of unsafe or unhealthy conditions or work practices.
  • If injuries or illnesses occur, make it your business to find out why.
  • Go beyond the regulations; address all risks, whether or not they are covered by laws.

2. Involve employees

In a healthy and safe workplace, employees have a stake in the success of the any strategy – health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Actively encourage employee involvement if you want your program to succeed. Hold people accountable and makes sure everyone does their part.

  • Establish an active workplace health and safety committee.
  • Make daily safety inspections part of some employees’ jobs and keep records of those checks.
  • Keep employees informed about safety inspections, injury and illness statistics, and other safety-related issues.
  • Give everyone a meaningful activity that supports safety.
  • Value employee input and feedback. Employees often know more about safety problems and solutions than managers do.
  • Make sure employees help review and improve the program.
  • Hold employees accountable
  • Include health and safety responsibilities in job descriptions. Make following safe work practices part of performance evaluation.
  • Set safety goals and hold everyone accountable.
  • Discipline employees who behave in ways that could harm themselves or other.
  • Establish a clear system for reporting risks, injuries, illnesses and close calls.
  • Recognise employees who contribute to keeping the workplace safe and healthy.

3. Identify and control risks

Before you can control risks, you need to know what the risks are. Here are some ways to identify health and safety risks:

  • Review records of accidents, injuries, illnesses, and close calls
    • review logs, first aid logs, workers’ compensation reports, complaints, and close calls
    • look for trends or common factors in
      • kinds of injuries or illnesses
      • parts of body
      • time of day/shift
      • location
      • equipment
      • protective equipment
      • department
  • Survey employees
  • Review inspection reports
    • from enforcement inspections, insurance surveys, or consultations.
  • Learn the regulations that have to do with your workplace.
    www.hseni.gov.uk
    www.hsa.ie
  • Inspect your workplace for health and safety problems, current and potential.
  • Once you know the risks, you can decide how to control them.
  • Prioritise the risks you found
    • Which are most likely to cause serious injury or illness?
    • Which can you fix immediately?
    • Do you have to make long term plans to correct some of the risks?
  • Make a plan for correcting the risks
    • Conduct job analyses to identify how best to correct the risks
    • Find out best practices from companies in your industry
  • Correct the RISKS
      • Engineering controls eliminate the risks through safe tools, facilities, and equipment. These are the best controls.
      • Administrative controls don’t remove the risks; they reduce exposure by changing the work practices. For instance, rotating workers, rest breaks, training programs.
      • Personal protective equipment (PPE) puts a barrier between the employee and the risk, using, for example, gloves or safety shoes. If you use personal protective equipment, you have to assess the risk beforehand and train employees the right way to use the equipment.
  • Evaluate the Changes
    • to make sure they have corrected the problem and not created other risks. And periodically re-survey the work environment and work practices.

4. Comply with regulations

Employers must identify the regulations that apply in their workplaces and comply with them.

5. Train Employees

Train personnel about the risks they may be exposed to at work and how to protect themselves. Keep records of all training. Provide:

  • General safety orientation for new employees and employees starting new jobs, including company safety regulations and emergency procedures.
  • Specific training on the risks of their jobs and how to do their jobs safely.
  • Retraining
    • As required by the standards
    • When jobs change
    • When employees return from long absence
    • As needed to ensure employees know how to do their jobs safely.

Speak to Bluezone to find out how we can help with training.

6. Support a culture of safety

Workers hold safety as a value; they actively care about themselves and others. Create a culture were mutual respect is the norm.

  • Establish effective two-way communication. Respond to the needs and concerns of workers.
  • Make sure management goes beyond the regulations to ensure a safe workplace.
  • Encourage workers to go “beyond the call of duty” to ensure a safe workplace.
  • Support a work environment that fosters trust, creativity, and general well-being.

7. Continually improve your system

Review your program’s strengths and weaknesses. Does it accurately reflect how you want to manage health and safety?
  • Review annually and as needed
  • Investigate accidents, injuries, illnesses and close calls as they occur.
  • Conduct frequent (daily, weekly as needed) inspections of specific equipment and processes.
  • Evaluate your injury and illness statistics
  • Document all your safety efforts.
  • Change analysis: Review new and changed processes, materials, facilities and equipment for risks
  • Ensure risk correction systems are in place and working
  • Evaluate effectiveness of training
  • Listen to your staff: Do employees know the risks of their jobs and how to work safely? Are managers enforcing safe work practices and praising safe behaviour?

Need help?

That sounds like a lot for one person or a  even a small department but there is help at hand to ensure you stay in control and assist you take charge of the above. Please speak to Bluezone Technologies to find out how we can help.

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