Whether it is a small business or a large enterprise, worker safety is and should always be a primary concern during day-to-day operations.
Health and safety management affects everyone, no matter the industry or position in the company hierarchy – from chemists to clerks and directors to interns.
A well-planned and well-executed health and safety management system exists to ensure that you and the people that make up your company are safe while they work.
There is an endless number of companies all over the world, all with different operational styles and rules and regulations.
The truth? There is no one-size-fits-all solution to an effective health and safety management system. What might be a strict rule to one company may be deemed as unnecessary in another.
However, there are certain key elements of health and safety that make up the foundations of a safe and secure workplace.
If you’re looking to beef up workplace safety for your company, read on below for our list of 10 key components commonly found in successful health and safety management systems.
10 Key Components of health and safety management system as as follows:
For a good health and safety management system to work, there should be an effective method to disseminate up-to-date safety documents to line managers and supervisors in order for them to brief their respective teams. This ensures that employees in all areas of the company have access to current and correct safety information, procedures and protocol.
Plan For Emergency Response
A comprehensive HSE system should always contain an emergency response plan. By outlining step-by-step instructions on what to do during emergencies such as fires or earthquakes, employees will not be left scrambling about with no clue on what to do next. Include details on how to report emergencies, evacuation procedures and assembly points and also include details for the nearest hospital or emergency services to the company’s premises.
Creating a checklist for safety inspection has two main benefits. Firstly, by having a checklist that is adhered to, the baseline for inspection quality is fulfilled no matter who the conducting officer might be. Secondly, it eliminates the amount of time required to complete these checks. Just follow the list, and the job is done.
Basic safety protocols such as fire and earthquake drills, first aid training, incident simulations (theft or terrorism) as well as HAZMAT procedure (if working with hazardous materials), proper donning of PPE (personal protective equipment) and vehicle operation safety training (forklifts, cranes) should be frequently done, with up-to-date documentation for employees to refer to.
Regular Internal Audits
Auditing plays a significant role in the efficacy of a successful health and safety management system. It ensures compliance with current workplace laws, and it helps to locate the weaknesses or strengths that lie in your company’s workplace health and safety system. Auditing is usually done through an external auditing company. However, some companies choose to use in-house auditing teams. Using the audit results documented from previous years, you are able to see trends good or bad and note down areas that need improvement immediately.
Having quantifiable metrics for measuring your company’s performance is key to understanding where your company’s health and safety management system stands. Some of the more important parameters to note include:
- Accident rate
- Accident severity rate
- Lost time rate
- Total recordable injury rate
- Working days elapsed since last reported incident
Listing Health and Safety Laws
Most laws already require companies to display information regarding workplace health and safety using posters or banners placed in a conspicuous area where employees can easily see it. These posters should display the worker’s individual rights to protection under the – Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005 (No. 10 of 2005)[MR1] and should ideally contain job or department-specific health and safety information and known job hazards to look out for.
Risk is an area that is unavoidable in every kind of business or setup. However, this risk may be mitigated by conduction risk assessment checks. By conducting these checks, you not only improve the protection of your employees from any potential harm or accidents but you are also able to protect your business from possible legal action, lawsuits or fines. By determining areas of non-compliance in your workplace, you can then come up with solutions to remove risk as much as possible from that area.
Regular Management Meetings
The people who should be the most involved in health and safety are the managers, supervisors and the directors – people who are directly responsible for the employees under them. By conducting frequent health and safety management meetings, you hold them accountable for applying safety protocol in the workplace, leading to a more successful health and safety management system.
Experienced Team Leaders
If you have the resources to allow it, having an experienced health and safety team or experienced team leader at the helm ensures that all workplace safety procedures and the implementation of said procedures are carried out in a smooth, safe and compliant way.
Having proper HSE credentials or qualifications should be a standard requirement for these team leaders. Some of the credentials to look out for are as follows:
A Health and Safety in the workplace qualification
- First aid
- Risk analysis
These are examples only, there are several more additional and specialized certifications, but these are the most common ones to look out for when it comes to hiring health and safety professionals to form your team.
When describing the 21st-century workplace, you’ll often hear terms such as “digitization” or “cloud based storage”. Paper documentation is declining in popularity and It is highly recommended that staff – especially the ones responsible for workplace health and safety – are trained in digital skills not just to disseminate up-to-date documents but also to communicate efficiently throughout all levels of company hierarchy.
The key components listed above are just general guidelines and should be used as a reference point. Every company has a different approach to safety and health and safety regulations often vary from state to state, so be sure to refer to your local laws before signing off on anything.
One thing is for certain though, when it comes to workplace productivity and efficiency, a robust and successful health and safety management system plays an important role and should be set in place as soon as possible.