You have designated a Health and Safety Manager within your organisation, you’ve ensured they have had the appropriate training and that the relevant documentation is in place – OK so “job done” then – NO!! As we have previously discussed, this is the “tick-box” attitude towards health and safety and will not effectively protect you, your employees or your organisation.
Every business, no matter in which field it operates will have its own unique risks. Therefore the health and safety policy, how it is implemented, how identified risks are minimized, needs to be addressed carefully, to ensure everyone in the organisation is aware of it and understands how to utilise it, so in this article we would like to help you manage your organisations health and safety risks in a more effective manner…
Keep it simple
Health and safety management does not need to be complicated, that is a fact! Managing your organisation’s health and safety needs is actually a lot less costly and time-consuming – and it is easier than you think. If you’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent potential incidents, accidents or harm to your employees, for many businesses that is all that is required! If you have documented a basic series of practical tasks that protect people from harm and at the same time protect the future success and growth of your business, then you are almost there!
Address the key steps
Decide on the preventive and protective measures needed and put them in place, provide the tools, documentation and equipment to do the job and keep them maintained, carry out training and instruction, audit the process to ensure everyone is competent to carry out the safety measures, provide effective supervision and make sure that the arrangements are followed.
Health and safety documentation should be functional and concise, with the emphasis being on its effectiveness rather than sheer volume of paperwork, think quality as opposed to quantity! Setting the main focus on the formal documentation of your health and safety management system, can often distract you from addressing the human elements of its implementation, try to ensure the focal point is the control of risks rather than the actual process of the system itself!
Hazard or risk, what is the difference?
Hazard vs risk – A hazard is something within your business environment that could cause harm to people, i.e., electricity, chemical, the requirement to work at height or with machinery. A risk, on the other hand, is the chance, no matter how large or small, that a hazard could bring harm to an individual.
Not all risks are equal!
So, you have assessed and identified potential hazards in your business, you now need to rate these risks by creating a “risk register”, the register issues a rating for each risk, scores determine whether or not it is safe enough to continue with the work or whether you need to adopt additional health and safety measures to reduce or eliminate the risk still further.
The rating also depends upon the likelihood of an event occurring (from most unlikely to most likely), and the severity of the incident or injury that might arise should the event happen.
Risk registers are not a new concept. However, many organisations have still to grasp their huge potential for facilitating and demonstrating effective management decision-making. The focus of all risk management systems should not be on the risk assessments themselves but their outputs. Only then will we be able to claim that we are sensibly managing safely rather than just “doing” health and safety.
The effectiveness of your health and safety policy affects many aspects of your business, it can also have a significant impact on your organisations reputation if it is not managed and implemented effectively, so take the time and make the necessary investments to ensure that you do not have to look at damage limitation measures should thing not go to plan. We are always happy to talk safety, so contact us if you are unsure how to take the next step in keeping your business safe.