Health and Safety issues are extremely important to the success of a business. They must be fully integrated into the everyday business decision making process. In doing so, an organisation commits to continual improvement in health and safety performance with the goal of causing no accidents or harm to people or the environment.
Health & Safety Core to Business Performance
Good health and safety performance should be part of an organisations core values. This protects both people and the environment. A safe and protected workplace enables staff to perform at their best. Staff performing at their best, in turn, leads to an organisation performing well.
None of this can happen without the contribution made by the workforce at all levels within an organisation. The understanding of health and safety issues and ‘buy-in’ by all staff are critical to maintaining safe practice. This creates positive attitudes to health and safety-related issues.
RFM has developed a range of safety, health and environmental protocols that prescribe an operational framework to be followed. Compliance with these protocols is mandatory and is regularly monitored.
Safety, Health and Environment Assurance
An organisation’s approach to Building Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) assurance must be founded on the principles advocated in OHSAS 45001 and ISO 14001. A corporate SHE culture should cover an organisation’s responsibilities not only to staff but also to other stakeholder groups including clients, subcontractors, suppliers and the public.
The health of employees is important both for the safe and efficient delivery of operations and for their own future well-being. Responsible organisations must ensure that employees are fit to undertake the tasks allocated to them and that they operate facilities in a way that minimises health risks to employees, contractors and the community.
Positive Health and Safety Culture
Facilities directors and managers should embed a positive H&S culture.
Positive Health and Safety culture is built upon:
- Commitment – To achieving Best Practice and World Class Standards.
- Competence – Ensuring everyone is trained and competent to do their work.
- Wellbeing – The health of employees is important both for the safe and efficient delivery of services and their own future well-being. Companies should ensure that employees are fit to undertake the tasks allocated to them and that facilities are operated in a way that minimises health risks to employees, contractors and the community.
- Communication – Ensuring the health and safety message is communicated throughout all activities. At all levels, the workforce should be involved in the Risk Assessment Process.
- Co-operation – Building relationships of mutual trust and partnership.
CONTROL OF SUBSTANCES HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH REGULATIONS (COSHH)
It is important to implement stringent health & safety procedures across all aspects of a business to ensure that they comply with (and in many areas exceed statutory) legal health & safety requirements. This begins with the implementation of thorough processes and training of staff.
A robust approach to COSHH and only utilising hazardous substances where absolutely necessary is recommended.
The Importance of a Health & Safety Policy
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) requires an employer to prepare, and as often as appropriate revise, a written statement of the general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of employees.
This will provide clear guidance and reassurance to all stakeholders.
Features of a Health and Safety Policy
An organisation must acknowledge and accepts its statutory responsibility under terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all its employees and others affected by our undertakings.
This Health & Safety policy should be brought to the attention of all employees and formally reviewed at least once every 12 months. Any revisions or new legislation and regulations must be effectively communicated to all relevant persons.
A company should take steps, so far as reasonably practicable, to meet its statutory health and safety responsibilities, paying attention to:
- The maintenance of all buildings, plant and work equipment
- The safe handling, storage and transportation of articles and substances related to our work activities.
- Having sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision. This enables the company’s employees to avoid hazardous situations and contribute positively to their own health and safety at work.
- The provision of safe access and egress to and from the workplace.
- The maintenance of a healthy working environment including the adequacy of welfare facilities.
- The inclusion of health and safety into the planning, organisation, controlling, monitoring and review arrangements of management systems.
- The use of suitable and sufficient risk assessment techniques to assess the health and safety risks applicable to employees and others who may be affected by work activities.
- The continued retention of access to competent advice and assistance ensures the company is aware of statutory requirements, relevant changes in legislation and ‘good practice.’
Successfully Involving Staff with Health and Safety Policies
A Health and Safety Policy is unlikely to be successful unless it actively involves the people who work within the company. The company should therefore seek to ensure effective consultation and communication with their employees.
Equally, it is the duty of every employee to take reasonable care of themselves and fellow workers, or another person who may be affected by their actions at work. In addition, employees must co-operate to enable all statutory duties to be addressed. To achieve this, employees must correctly use all resources provided in accordance with their instruction and training. Any defective items or unsafe conditions should be immediately reported.
Health and Safety Aims
The promotion of health and safety measures is integral to a safe workplace. Management and employees should work together to comply with the following goals:
- Accidents and incidents at work are minimized through the promotion of high safety standards.
- Continuous liaison and communication to facilitate the safety review process.
- Risk assessments of health and safety issues should be applied to all existing work activities and when planning new work processes or activities.
- Safety should be included on the agenda of all appropriate company meetings.
To conclude, health and safety is core to success in all organisations. It should be at the core of all activities and founded on ISO principles. The most effective way to achieve a safe and healthy environment is by building a positive culture and controlling risks and hazardous substances wherever possible.
Involving staff in the risk assessment and policy implementation will help engrain safety. Not easy things to do, but all very important!