An employer has many roles and responsibilities, but first and foremost is their duty to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. This is a legal and moral duty and requires fundamental systems to identify risks, build the right environment and maintain a culture of safe practices and beliefs.
Building a health and safety management system from scratch can be a huge task and involves all levels of the organisation, but certainly as an employer you need to show the right example from the very top, and this involves focussing on implementing safe working practices, providing adequate resources and striving to continuously improve.
Building a health and safety management system
Every organisation is unique and has different people, operations and history, but the one thing that is common to all organisations when striving to build a health and safety management system is the need to listen to your employees and act on their concerns. From the smallest organisation to the biggest, and from a low-risk business to a very hazardous operation, employees are working in the thick of it every day and are the best source of knowledge in terms of where risks exist and what practical solutions can be found.
In order to successfully put workplace safety measures in place you need to lead from the top and gain the respect and credibility of your employees. This can be done by:
Showing a top level commitment to safety: Write a safety policy and promote it. Build a management structure committed to safety and always promote health and safety as integral to the business. Enforce rules and procedures consistently and strongly. Never be dismissive of injuries or illness and commit to investigating their cause.
Involving employees in key decisions and processes: In any organisation health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, so delegate inspections and health and safety actions to all levels. Post visible progress charts and actions, listen to feedback, involve employees in review processes and hold employees accountable.
Suitably identifying risks through a robust risk assessment system: Review accident histories and talk to employees to identify key risks. Carry out regular inspections to ensure safe working practices are adhered to. Carry out risk assessments and act on their findings by implementing control measures.
Being aware of applicable laws and regulations: Find a mechanism that adequately keeps you informed of new and changing legislation, and adapt your processes accordingly.
Ensuring resources are available to train employees: Job training should promote health and safety and induction training should identify general safety rules of the organisation as well as those specific to a particular job. If you cut corners with training or assume people will pick something up, you are being negligent in your duties as an employer. Also, recognise the need to re-train people in order to maintain standards and compliance with applicable regulations.
Holding regular meetings and issuing other forms of communication to keep all employees informed: Ensure two-way conversation on health and safety matters at all times, make safety visible in the workplace and create a reward system for good practice. Building an environment of trust and reliability will foster the right culture.
Striving to continuously revise and improve on current practice: This applies to all aspects of a good organisation, but in terms of health and safety, carry out honest and regular assessments of your practices via meetings and inspections, evaluate the effectiveness of training and listen to staff concerns. Also, investigate accidents and carry out root cause analysis to implement effective change.
At Robinsons MEA all our installations come with safety procedures, instructions and features which our engineers will help to implement in line with your current safety policy. All our engineers are suitably qualified to applicable standards and we promote health and safety as an integral aspect of all our installations.