Safety Management Systems - Do
Who'd doing what?
Allocating roles and responsibilities for health and safety activities is just as important as for any other business activity. People need to know what tasks they are responsible for. Look at jobs such as fire wardens, first aiders, employee safety representatives, safety advisers etc. and write down who's doing it and what you expect them to do.
Training and Competence
People needs to be aware of the hazards in the workplace and need to be able to carry out their duties safely. Your risk assessments should indicate where the certain levels of knowledge are required in order to reduce the risks to health and safety. Use this information to help develop training records that demonstrate competence. The HSE say that competence is a combination of knowledge, training and experience so any safety management system must be able to demonstrate that an appropriate level of competence is present.
Also, the people that you have allocated specific health and safety duties to may need additional training to ensure competence and this training may need to be kept up to date with refreshers for example first aiders.
All too often communication becomes broadcasting to the individuals in the company. Communication should be a two-way activity and it is essential to the growth of the safety management system that problems and new ideas are sent back from the employees to the management team. This can be achieved, for example, through good use of employee safety representatives or through safety improvement suggestions schemes.
The people using the health and safety policies and procedures know whether those systems are working and should be encouraged to report any deficiencies or opportunities for improvement.
Inevitably there is going to be some documentation associated with the safety management system. But is does not need to be a huge tome of irrelevant information. In order to be useful, it needs to be accessible and relevant to the people that need to use it. Use flow charts and diagrams instead of pages of text to help people understand what is required.
Planning for emergencies
Although most emergency situations do not occur frequently, procedures and training need to be in place so that people can respond quickly to dangerous situations such as fire. Think about the types of emergencies that could occur at your premises - accidents requiring first aid or hospital treatment, release of flammable or toxic chemicals, bomb threats etc. and then think about the procedures that you have in place. Do enough employees know these procedures so that they will still happen if key people are away?
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