Practical Aspects in Health, Safety, Welfare in the Work Environment
Learning Objective All employees have the responsibility to co-operate with their management to achieve a healthy and safe workplace and to take reasonable care of themselves and others. Therefore the learning objective is to create awareness relating to the management of HSE in the areas of Health and Safety of Employees, Contractors and those affected by your operations. Your Building Blocks
Sound written safety policy Visible management commitment to safety Clearly identified safety responsibilities at all levels Competent safety advisors Comprehensive written operating procedures Inspection and maintenance system Safe systems of work Effective safety training at all levels Realistic safety targets and objectives Safety meetings and committees Regular safety bulletins Accident reporting and recording /Near miss reporting and recording /Potential incident reporting / recording Accident investigation Audits of equipment and procedures Unsafe Act Audits
Safety Policy In formulating a Company Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) policy, of utmost importance and the main objective should be the elimination of incidents with Health, Safety or Environmental consequences. Therefore it makes good business sense for a company to possess a comprehensive health and safety policy.
Content of the policy statement 1. A general statement of intent. This should outline in broad terms the organisation's overall philosophy in relation to the management of health and safety, including reference to the broad responsibilities of both management and workforce. 2. Responsibilities to be covered in the policy might include: a. Making adequate resources available to implement the policy. b. Setting health and safety objectives. c. Developing suitable procedures and safe systems. d. Delegating specific responsibilities to others; e. Monitoring the effectiveness of others in carrying out their responsibilities; f. Monitoring standards within the workplace; and g. Feeding concerns up through the organisation Organisation (people and their duties) a. This outlines the chain of command in terms of health and safety management. b. Who is responsible to whom and for what? c. How is the accountability fixed so as to ensure that delegated responsibilities are undertaken? d. How is the policy implementation monitored?
e. f. g. h. i. Individual job descriptions having an safety content; Details of specific safety responsibilities The role and function of safety committee(s); The role and function of safety representatives; A management chart clearly showing the lines of responsibility and accountability in terms of health and safety management.
Arrangement (systems and procedures) The practical arrangements by which the policy will be effectively implemented. a. Safety training/safe systems of work; b. Environmental control/safe place of work; c .Machine/area guarding/housekeeping; d. Safe plant and equipment/noise control; e. Radiation safety/dust control/use of toxic materials; f. Internal communication/participation; g. Utilisation of safety committee(s) and safety representatives; h. Fire safety and prevention/medical facilities and welfare; i. Maintenance of records/emergency procedures and workplace monitoring.
Visible Management commitment to safety
Studies show that the best performing organizations is where leaders involve everyone in the implementation of a clear and compelling company vision that leads the team towards goals set out in the Company HSE policy. Stakeholders of a Business The Employees – who want to work in a healthy and safe environment. The Shareholders – who want their investment protected with an acceptable return. The Customers – who want safe products and services of good quality and price. The Contractors – who want a healthy, safe working environment. The Societies – we work amongst wants us to benefit their wellbeing and their environment. Developing commitment and Importance of Leadership Leadership and commitment is the foundation for establishing a robust HSE in an organization. People will do what they believe you want, based on what you say and, much more powerfully, on your behavior. Your actions speak louder than your words. This helps to build the trust, co-operation and communication you need to make it work. As you demonstrate your commitment to workforce involvement in health and safety, it will develop your workforce's commitment. Your employees are more likely to engage and believe in consultation when senior managers show personal and long-term commitment, and listen to the views of employees because they want to hear what the workforce has to say. Your employees are more likely to communicate with you if: • you show them that you believe in the benefits of consultation • they are committed to the businesses goals, including the health and safety goals; • they think it is in their interests to participate; • they trust you and find you approachable;
your actions match your words; and you encourage your employees to be health and safety representatives.
Safety Responsibilities The basics Worker involvement on health and safety is simply a two-way process where you and your employees: Talk to one another, listen to one another's concerns, raise concerns and solve problems together, seek and share views and information, discuss issues in good time, consider what everyone has to say and make decisions together. Business benefits Talking to, listening to and involving your employees helps to make your workplace healthier and safer, improve performance and raise OHS standards. Prepare Good preparation helps you to gain the commitment of your employees and their representatives, so that they feel involved and enthusiastic about tackling health and safety together. Involve your workforce by talking to employees about health and safety. What the law says and how it applies to the workplace Commitment from the business and the workforce Union appointed health and safety representatives Workforce elected health and safety representatives Plan Once you have gained the commitment of everyone in the organisation, you can start planning how to work with your employees and representatives to improve health and safety at work. Consult employees on key OH&S issues Consult and involve employees and health and safety representatives on accident and investigation reports, risk assessments, and emergency plans; occupational health issues and the nature of the post, knowledge and experience suitable for the role of your competent person (eg health and safety manager). Provide feedback Provide feedback to explain decisions and respond to issues raised by employees or their representatives within a certain time. It will demonstrate you are committed and how you have considered what they say. The appropriate method of responding (in writing or verbally), and reasonable timescales for providing a response, will depend on the nature and circumstances of the issue and the workplace. Agree these arrangements with your employees or their representatives in advance Address health issues as well as safety Employee involvement is a good way to help you address work-related health issues such as stress or musculoskeletal disorders. Involve employees promptly and routinely Commit to involving employees and health and safety representatives promptly and routinely. It develops a shared understanding of the key issues and how to address them. Agree to respond to the issues raised by your employees and their representatives within certain time and share the reasons for your decisions with them. It will demonstrate you are committed and how you have considered what they say. Factors to consider Many factors affect how you can engage your employees: The business • Structure of the business • Management style • Organisational and safety cultures • Trade union recognition and employment relations The workplace • Size of workplace • Location of sites • Types of work done • Degree and nature of inherent dangers
The workforce • Size of workforce • Diversity of the workforce • Employment structures (for example, direct employees, agency and contract workers) • Work patterns (for example, shift systems, part-time working) • Offsite, remote or mobile workers. Why talk to your employees about health and safety? • Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. Your employees influence health and safety through their own actions. They are often the best people to understand the risks in their workplace. Talking, listening and cooperating with each other can help you to: identify joint solutions to problems; develop a positive health and safety culture where risks are managed sensibly; reduce accidents and ill health, plus their related costs to your business; bring about improvements in overall efficiency, quality and productivity; meet customer demands and maintain credibility; and comply with legal requirements.
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Benefits of worker involvement People who feel valued and involved in decision-making play a big part in a high-performing workplace. Empowering your workforce, giving them the right skills, and getting them involved in making decisions shows them that you take their health, safety and well-being seriously. They raise concerns and offer solutions. Lower accident rates Accident rates are lower where employees genuinely feel they have a say in health and safety matters (14%), compared with workplaces where employees do not get involved (26%). More positive health and safety climate Employee involvement in health and safety management relates to a more positive health and safety climate - 77% of employees felt encouraged to raise concerns in a good health and safety climate compared to 20% who felt encouraged to do so in a poor health and safety climate. In poor health and safety climates, accident rates are highest among workplaces where employees do not feel they can have a say. Better control of workplace risks Stronger employee involvement means better control of common workplace risks such as slips and trips very effective in 76% of cases where employees felt they were always consulted but only very effective in 40% of cases if they thought they were rarely, or never consulted. Union-appointed representatives Representatives are there to represent the interests and concerns of their co-workers and respond on their behalf. They provide valuable insight, skills and resources that help employers and their co-workers. All representatives, either appointed by trade unions or elected by employees can :- represent the workforce on health and safety generally, or make representations on potential hazards, dangers and also attend training courses. Workforce-elected representatives The role of the health and safety representative is independent of management. Representatives are there to represent the interests and concerns of their co-workers and respond on their behalf. They provide valuable insight, skills and resources that help you and their co-workers. However representatives appointed by trade unions may examine the causes of accidents, elected worker representatives do not have perform the same function. Joint involvement - safety committees & inspections Joint involvement leads to joint problem solving. Where you have both union-appointed representatives and employee-elected health and safety representatives, it is good practice to consult both together about
health and safety matters which affect the employees they represent through a joint health and safety committees.
Competent safety advisors
The safety department has a vital role to play as a specialist adviser, but it can be neither responsible nor accountable for safety policy or performance. Management must establish a safety policy and a HSE organization that will be responsible for implementing policy. In implementing safety in an operational context it is prudent to make safety a line responsibility with identified responsibilities and accountabilities clearly defined in employee job descriptions. The credibility of safety staff with adequate expertise is extremely important and is a key factor in any Safety Management System. A practical method to achieve this include cross posting of staff into the safety department including high potential staff as carrier development.
It is vital to establish safe and healthy systems of work designed to counteract the identified risks within a business. The following aspects should be used as a guide when preparing arrangements for health and safety at work: (a) The provision of health and safety performance criteria for articles, and product safety data for substances, prior to purchase. (b) The provision of specific instructions for using machines, for maintaining safety systems, and for the control of health hazards. (c) The development of specific health and safety training for all employees. (d) The undertaking of medical examinations and biological monitoring. (e) The provision of suitable protective equipment. (f) The development and utilisation of permit-to-work systems. (g) The provision of first-aid/emergency procedures, including aspects of fire safety/prevention. (h) The provision of written procedures in respect of contractors and visitors. (i) The formulation of written safe systems of work for use by all levels of management and workforce. . Plant Equipment and substances • Maintenance of equipment such as tools, ladders, etc. • Are they in safe condition? • Maintenance and proper use of safety equipment such as helmets, boots, goggles, respirators, etc. • Maintenance and proper use of plant, machinery and guards. • Regular testing and maintenance of lifts, hoists, cranes, pressure systems, boilers and other dangerous machinery, emergency repair work, and safe methods of doing it. • Maintenance of electrical installations and equipment. Safe storage, handling and, where applicable, packaging, labeling and transport of dangerous substances. Controls on work involving harmful substances, such as lead and asbestos. • The introduction of new plant, equipment or substances into the workplace - by examination, testing and consultation with the workforce.
Safe systems of work
A safe system of work maintains a safe working environment. The system helps in identifying hazards and assessing risk. Safe Systems Permit to Work (PTW) – is a formal written system used to control certain types of work, which are identified as potentially hazardous. It is also a means of communicating between management, plant supervisors and operators and those who carry out the work. Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) – The methodology is derived from the work study technique known as Task Analysis, and is also known as job Safety analysis, Work Safety and Health Analysis, Activity Risk
Assessment. In short it is identifying and assessing the hazards of each element of the task and identifying appropriate controls and recovery measure. Toolbox Talks (TBT)- What is a “Toolbox Talk”? A Toolbox Talk is an informal group discussion among employees of an individual department that focuses on a particular safety issue. Who can conduct a “Toolbox Talk”? Anyone can conduct a Toolbox Talk. However, it is a good idea to select individuals who have expertise on the given topic. How long and often should these be conducted? A15 minute talk duration is recommended. Where and when should these discussions take place? The meeting should be held in a comfortable location at the beginning of a shift, after lunch/break. Unsafe Act Auditing Electrical Lockout Confined Space Entry Near miss reportingNEAR MISS: “An incident that could have caused illness, injury or damage to assets, the environment or company reputation, or consequential business loss, but did not”. Potential incident reporting “An unsafe practice or a hazardous situation that could result in an incident but the incident has not occurred - yet. An unsafe practice is also referred to as an Unsafe Act. A hazardous situation is also referred to as an Unsafe Condition”.
The objective of ‘accident investigation’ is to prevent it from happening again and determining “What failed in our management system that allowed the accident to happen”. Guide line for accident investigation: a. Investigate promptly b. Involve those who have a real knowledge of the work situation. c. Collect and record facts, including organizational relationships, similar occurrences and other relevant background information. d. Have as the objective ‘to prevent a similar incident happening again’. e. Identify basic causes. f. Recommend corrective action. Audits It is a management tool comprising of a systematic, periodic and objective evaluation of how well the safety organization, management and equipment are performing with the aim to safeguard company assets by facilitating management control of safety, health and environment practices and assessing compliance with established standards. Audits should be an important aspect of key internal controls, verifying ones action against established standards. An audit programme needs to be in place to review and verify effectiveness of management systems and those of the contractors. It is in effect, a health check-up. Audis may result in corrective actions and areas for improvement. The organization should develop and update a corrective action plan for continuous improvement. Types of Audits External – Conducted by a third party. Internal – Corporate – by Head Office or Personnel from other units in the same company.
Self – In house by location staff themselves.