It is important to understand the elements of a good process safety management programme to protect employees from harm when they are in their work environment.
Implementing such a programme is impossible without cooperation from every level of the company, managers and non-managers alike.
In this article we look at the core elements of a successful safety management programme:
1. Leadership in Safety Management
Effective leadership from management is the most important part of implementing any programme.
Management has a duty of care to all employees and must take the necessary steps to ensure their staff are safe.
Failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in management decisions can have catastrophic results. Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership.
UK health and safety law places the ultimate responsibility of risk management on organisations and employers. Directors that fail to abide by the law can be personally liable when these responsibilities are breached.
Great programme leaders ensure clear communication among staff, which helps everyone understand their roles.
They also provide managers and employees with the tools and training necessary to perform their jobs successfully.
A good leader will appoint one or more employees to be responsible for prompt response and action regarding any safety issues.
Employee participation is crucial to the long term development of a safety programme. Employees are more likely to adhere to rules their input helped to create.
Management can encourage employees to participate in several ways. Giving employees a chance to share feedback regarding hazard identification and safety training can help management create an effective training programme.
Management also must define the proper procedures for reporting hazards. Allowing employees to make recommendations regarding these issues shows them that management takes their opinions seriously.
3. Hazard Identification and Assessment
The work environment needs continual analysis to identify hazards and develop appropriate safety measures.
Regular workplace assessments and site safety inspections are essential.
New materials and equipment must be examined to determine potential risks, as do systems and procedures used to report any issues.
Flaws in the system should be addressed to ensure prompt responses from management.
By analysing workplace injuries, management can detect patterns and discover the cause of the problem.
4. Hazard Prevention and Control
Precise planning and careful attention to workplace design can help control and prevent hazards, and managers can take measures to remedy an identified risk.
Risk assessment is a key component of any Health and Safety Strategy with control often passed to a dedicated individual or department.
It is imperative that employees have access to protective equipment and are trained to respond appropriately in an emergency.
Elements to consider include staff evacuation and general contingency plans, along with general awareness within the workplace.
Plans should also include industry-specific requirements such as the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH).
The company should establish a medical surveillance programme hazardous conditions on-site, and develop plans to handle off-site situations.
5. Safety Management Training
Employees and management must receive proper training regarding the requirements of a safety programme and the potential hazards of the workplace.
When sufficiently trained, everyone in the workplace will be able to recognise and control a hazard. At a minimum, this includes Fire Safety awareness and First Aid in the workplace but will vary dependent on organisation type and size.
Because prevention is a key element of the programme, employees should use the proper tools and procedures necessary to protect everyone from possible injury.
Training can be in-house, delivered by instructors or even delivered by other members of staff (see train the trainer courses). Alternatives include training sessions at local business centres as well as self-paced study.
Online learning has become popular over the last decade due to advances in technology and a requirement for flexible learning. Employees can train around work schedules with Health and Safety a popular option.
E-learning platforms covering multiple sectors such as this site are now hugely popular. Also, smaller providers are focusing on single sectors; for example, care training allows organisations to gain huge discounts by subscribing the entire work force at the same time.
Safety management programmes should be evaluated and updated at least once each year. Doing so allows for the identification of new problem areas and revisions to current procedures.
Managers and employees must work together to ensure the safety of the workplace.
Managers must lead by example and provide employees with the training to identify and respond to hazardous situations.
Establishing and maintaining a successful safety management programme is vital to any business.
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