Safety at Work – The Benefits of Having WHS Systems in Place

Any workplace needs to have an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) system in place to ensure the well being of its staff and comply with legislation. This involves assessing the risks and dangers within a work place and implementing strategies to minimize them. Where operations have a higher risk level, for example, construction, engineering, mining and energy related companies, the detail of their OHS systems will be far greater.
With a scheme of safety standards in place, implementing any changes or additions becomes easier. From owners and operators to all employees, everyone has a responsible role to play in implementing OHS systems for the wellbeing of everyone in that workplace.  This ensures that nobody is exposed to any unnecessary risk and protects the organisation from any negligence or breaches of legislation that might lead to legal action. Every business niche has a unique set of standards to ensure the safety of its workers. These vary depending on the nature of the job and extent of exposure to risk. By making templates of their risk management systems which are disseminated throughout the organisation, managers can easily add new developments or improvements when needed. HR personnel can also easily add or remove strategies within the templates.
Occupational Health and Safety systems require continual re-assessment so HR personnel can plan procedures that provide an opportunity to improve working conditions. This provides a proactive approach to adopting new risk management strategies and standards.
By continually re-assessing the Occupational Health and Safety systems in place, it will be possible to identify any conflicting instructions that could lead to poor risk management. 
A good Occupational Health and Safety system will effectively keep employees involved through encouraging their active participation.  Taking on board their suggestions and ideas to help improve the OHS system will increase employee loyalty as they appreciate their ideas being acknowledged. This is an aspect of good management best practice that is often ignored.
Finally, a proper Occupational Health and Safety system reduces cost implications in a number of ways. Primarily, the health of employees is preserved, reducing absenteeism. This in turn reduces knock-on losses incurred by the company. Also, because unforeseen hazards are minimized with proper operational risk management, the organisation’s expenses for employee health care are reduced. 
An OHS system is essential for successful risk management.  It is a legal obligation that all workplaces need to embrace for the good of their staff and operations.  The proven benefits are a better workplace, profitability and quality of life for all.

Best Steps to Implement OHS Policies in Your Business

Monday, April 22, 2013

Best Steps to Implement OHS Policies in Your Business

Lack of understanding and commitment to health and safety issues will keep OHS policies marginalized in the corporate world. It is time for managers to relinquish themselves of false notions and rather focus on valuing their employees. Create a culture of trust and in turn reap unlimited benefits from employee’s limitless devotion. Reduced accidents, marginal work-related health issues, and declining injuries can tremendously increase overall performance and significantly reduce costs. 

A six step guideline is devised to assist you in implementing OHS policies for your business:

1. Develop an OHS policy

This stage compromises of devising a broad document, which covers the health and safety policy of the entire organization. This statement should uphold the principles and intent of the organization and the top management. Most importantly it should be clear and understandable because it forms the basis of actions and decisions of pertaining issues. The first step is to involve employees and prepare a draft. Finalize the policy only after all stakeholder’s issues and concerns have been incorporated. Once the OHS policy is finalized, implementation is essential through OHS Committee or Programs. Promoting OHS policy through meetings, newsletters, and notice boards is necessary to create awareness.

2. Involving Employees

A policy could only survive if there is enough support and cooperation from the employees. Involving employees through consultation and committee meetings would be highly recommended.

3. Incorporate the OHS policy in your organization 

Creating awareness alone would not do the job. Make the OHS policy a part of your organization and everyone’s responsibility through training and development. It should be kept in mind that OHS is not only specific to floor or technical staff, rather it should involve everyone and become a vital component of everyday life at work. Health and safety policy should be included in induction training, first aid training, emergency procedure training, OTJ training etc.

4. Transform hazard identification and work assessment into a mechanism 

A complete overhaul of the designs and processes involved in the workplace is mandatory, including plant and machinery, and set of procedures involved in performing a job. Accurate and timely audits, inspections and investigations should be undertaken to avoid similar incidents in the future. Complaints should be appropriately dealt with and any health and safety issues properly monitored.

5. Develop and execute risk control strategies

Now that an OHS policy is devised and relevant hazards identified; it is time to develop and execute relevant risk control strategies to eliminate exposure to risk. This step involves reviewing engineering controls compromising of equipment designs and methods of performing a task.

6. Evaluation

Every process is incomplete without a proper review. Loopholes should be identified and improved upon. Appropriate strategies should be maintained and improved. Success related to reduced health injuries and accidents should be communicated.

Mats Eriksson