A guest blog written by Paul Holcroft from Peninsula.
The purpose of health & safety in the workplace is simple: prevent illness, injury, and death.
Yet some businesses relegate health & safety to the status of tick-box inconvenience due to being too heavily focused on employee productivity and financial results. Ultimately, there’s no debate. Health & safety is the most important aspect of your business to which you can pay attention.
A business that assesses how it manages risks is more likely to remain aware of risks in the workplace.
You could use a comprehensive health & safety management software system, but systems like this work best when you ensure that your performance measures are sensible.
What questions should you ask when measuring health & safety performance?
The first thing you must recognise is that measuring practices must add value to your business.
Identify a problem. This could be anything hazardous that poses a risk to staff, customers, and other persons. Identify it, and detail why it’s a problem.
Locate the cause of the problem. What’s causing this liquid spill? Why is this scaffold unsafe? Why won’t this component attach to that one? You need to know the question about your problem, and then you can look for your answer.
Clarify the changes you need to make. You can solve almost any problem. But you need to know how. You might need to invest in new materials or parts, or hire a professional to come out and fix something.
Create a platform for improvement. You found a problem and you fixed it. But guess what, if a problem occurs once, it can occur twice. So it’s your job to establish what you can do to ensure the problem doesn’t come back, and in so doing, keep your health & safety performance progressing.
You should ensure that whenever you conduct a risk assessment of your workplace, and any equipment, that you have a section for feedback. Health & safety is not an aspect of your business that requires shorthand. Be thorough in your observations.
Ensure everyone is on the same page.
Your health & safety policy and procedure–those documents you wrote far too long ago. Dig them out of that dusty cupboard. Rewrite them if they need updating, and give every single person in your business a copy.
You want anyone involved with your workplace or your company equipment to know what they must do if they see or experience an incident–minor or serious.
How will you maintain this level of measuring?
First, you should check the laws relevant to you. Certain legislation will expect you to conduct health & safety performance monitoring with regular frequency–let’s face it, you need to keep on top of this thing. Measuring health & safety shouldn’t be a five minute exercise that you struggle through once a year.
Ask yourself the following questions when reviewing your health & safety performance:
- How far along is the company’s health & safety performance compared to the ideal state?
- What progress is still necessary?
- What resources/time/personnel do you need to achieve that progress?
You’ll want to train staff, or hire experienced personnel, such as health & safety consultants. Do this ahead of time so that your organisation is prepared for any hazards or accidents in the future.
Always ensure that you report your findings back to all key decision makers in the business. By doing this, you increase the chance of the business taking positive action.