We are at a fairly advanced stage with our health and safety management system. We have a policy to provide a management framework and a set of objectives that we have set ourselves. We have an organisation with staff aware of their roles and responsibilities, and competent to deliver what is required of them.
Most employers’ and senior managers’ time is taken up with deciding on the best way forward for their businesses during the coming period. They generally do this either formally or informally, with reference to an overall strategy or plan. What successful businesses do not do however, is to respond only to external influences.
Temptation to waste company time not only comes in the guise of attractive colleagues – there is a world of distractions coming into the office via the internet that as an employer, you might not even be aware of.
Providing adequate ventilation and lighting are the basics of a healthy working environment. We don’t all live in a yellow submarine, where there would be no windows to open and extremely cramped living and working quarters. If you join the navy as a submariner, you know what you’re going in for. But when you join a land-based organisation, you do not expect to find cramped workplaces with a lack of natural air and lighting.
This is the final element in our health and safety management system, and it takes us to the point where we can begin a new cycle of improvement for the coming period. But before we do this we must make an assessment of our performance thus far so that we can identify our strengths and weaknesses, learn from them, and set targets for the future.
When one talks about health and safety at the workplace, one’s mind is usually and almost instantly set on things related to wearing helmets, protection glasses, safety shoes and other safety gear. However, there are things which are just as important and which effect one’s behaviour and attitude at the workplace just as much as having to deal with dangerous health risks at work.
Well thought-out policies provide the foundation upon which to build a business. Any organisation that sets out without clear ideas about what its central objectives are and how it intends to conduct its affairs is destined to fail.
You’ve developed a policy setting out our aims in health and safety, and organised staff so that these aims and objectives can be delivered. The next step is to plan exactly what has to be done and begin to put our plans into practice.
When is an audit really an inspection? Do we really understand these terms? Both audits and inspections are proactive methods of monitoring health and safety performance.
In the previous articles we saw how important it is to manage our businesses systematically, so that our activities are planned against pre-determined specifications that can be measured. In this way we can keep control over the business and direct our efforts towards delivering the business aims. The same is true for health and safety at work.