Safety can be simple and affordable, your Health and Safety Management System doesn’t need to be time consuming and complicated. The most important thing is that it works for you and that it assists in keeping you, your customers and everyone you work with and around safe.
So where do you start? We suggest reviewing your current system by starting to look at what we call the ‘High Five’ – five areas you can start working on now, to make sure you are on the right track.
1. Policies and Procedures
Check you as the PCBU have policies and procedures up to date and documented (such as Drug and Alcohol Policies, Incident Reporting Procedures and Hazard/Risk Identification Procedures). Ensure these are reviewed regularly by your Officers (Directors) and communicated clearly to everyone in your workplace.
2. Hazard/Risk Management
Check that you are documenting down the hazards/risks that you have noticed in your workplace and then ensure those hazards/risks are either eliminated or minimised and record those controls you have put in place. It is also important to assess the risk while reviewing your hazards – so base how extensive your controls are off an assessment of the likelihood of an injury occurring from the hazard, and how bad that injury could be. Remember hazards can include the work you do, the tools you use or the environments you work in. This should also be reviewed on a regular basis and significant hazards/risks should be reported to Officers.
3. Incident Reporting and Investigation
Ensure you are documenting and reporting any work related incidents, injuries and illnesses that occur, investigating them and putting preventative measures in place where possible – and that you have a process for reporting notifiable injuries and incidents to WorkSafe NZ.
Look at how you document the training and induction that you do with your Workers (including Contractors and Volunteer Workers) to make sure they know how to work safely. What Worker Engagement practices do you have in place? Are you discussing Health and Safety on a regular basis? Are your Workers actively participating? If not, then why?
Write up emergency procedures for all situations you work in, don't forget that emergency procedures aren't just about first aid kits, fire extinguishers, assembly points and evacuation drills. Emergency procedures should take into account the difference scenarios you and your team may find themselves in - working alone is just one example of when you should be looking at what work can be done alone, what could happen while alone and what communication or check-in practices do you have in place.
These five areas are the basis of a simple and easy to manage health and safety management system. Of course some businesses will require more or less than this, but these are great areas of your business to start looking at first.
Putting time and resources into your Health and Safety system is not only complying with legislation, it is the right thing to do – and if you can’t do it alone, ask a specialist consultant to help. Implementing a Health and Safety system that works could be the best investment you make.
Don’t forget, we are here to help – contact us to help talk you through it.