A robust Health and Safety system is essential in all organisations, big or small- not only to protect your employees and customers, but to avoid costly mistakes. Like most aspects of business management, it is something that should be planned thoroughly and reviewed regularly- and if you remember a few simple steps you will find the process doesn’t have to be unwieldy.
Ask yourself where you organisation is now in terms of health and safety and what you want to achieve. Be clear on roles and responsibilities within the organisation and identify which key staff members will be responsible for different aspects of safety in the workplace. It’s also important to think about how you would measure the success of your plan, and to do this you’ll need to have a good understanding of active and reactive indicators: Active indicators are all about systems- their design, development and operation- and activities like inspections and surveillance. They are generally ongoing tasks that are undertaken to prevent accidents and incidents and keep the environment safe. Reactive indicators happen after the event of an accident or incident and help you identify any areas of poor performance. It’s important to note that good monitoring isn’t just about identifying problems, it’s about understanding why they happen in order to be able to prevent them from happening again. As part of your plan, it’s essential to consider major emergencies like fire. If you share a building with other organisations you must also share fire and emergency procedures. This is something that should be written into your tenancy agreement but if it isn’t, arrange a meeting and identify a policy which can be shared by all tenants.
Once you have your plan in place you will need to put it into action. Undertaking a thorough risk assessment will enable you to understand and identify the biggest dangers your organisation faces and how to organise your health and safety activities. This step also includes providing resources such as health and safety guides, delivering training and communicating your policies to all staff. A good training and induction procedure is essential if workers are to feel and be safe in the workplace.
It’s all very well having well written health and safety documents but they mean nothing unless they are regularly and implemented. This doesn’t have to be an onerous task, if it’s done properly health and safety should become second nature to all staff members. Build weekly fire alarm tests into your diary, conduct regular audits and try to create a culture where employees are mindful of hazards like trailing wires. If there are any incidents or accidents, investigate them to identify the cause and put appropriate measures in place to prevent them happening again.
Again, having all the paperwork is pointless if it’s not actioned. Be sure to stick to everything you outline in your plan, and regularly review your documents to ensure they comply with any changes to legislation. Record any incidents, take appropriate action and collect data to enable you to learn from accidents and sickness.
It’s often said that prevention is better than cure, and this is particularly true when it comes to Health and Safety at work. If you need help with your plan, or any other aspect of H &S, the team at Harrier UK would be delighted to help.