As of 1st August 2013, the HSE has announced new guidelines to help small and larger sized businesses to understand health and safety rules better. The guide “Managing for Health and Safety” (HSG65) has been completely refreshed. The guidance now employs a ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach. This new approach will make health and safety an integral part of the management process of the organisation, rather than a stand alone process. There will also be a better balance between work systems and behavoural aspects in the workplace. The Plan, Do, Check, Act approach will ensure health and safety arrangements are in place for the organisation and that there is responsibility for overseeing them.
This involves creating your health and safety policy. This should meet the legal requirements and be proportionate to the risks. If the organisation has more than five employees, the policy must be written down. The policy should prevent health and safety problems, and enable one to respond quickly when new risks arise. It should be clear who will be responsible for what, how the aims of the policy will be achieved, and how things will be monitored. Changes must be planned for. The policy should set a clear direction for the organisation to follow. All members of the organisation must have a coordinated understanding of the risks involved in the every day workplace. Employees need to understand the legal compliance as well as have a general positive health and safety attitude. The policy should state how things will be done, risk assessment processes, resources for help and training.
Delivery of effective Health and Safety within an organisation depends on the management and risk assessment systems in place i.e on the policy plan. Preventative and protective measures should be in place to ensure risks are mitigated against. Everybody should be trained in health and safety practices and have the correct equipment for their jobs. The control of minor risks, for example, making sure pathways are clear, can be controlled by simple general rules written down on the policy. More risky activities may need detailed control systems, such as issuing work permits.
Health and Safety systems need to be checked and monitored to ensure that the plans are being effective. Audits may be a good idea to check everything is ok. Monitoring will help highlight any gap areas in health and safety. If problems are noted, good monitoring will help highlight what caused the problem, rather than there being a problem with no solution. Good monitoring takes time, patience and detailed observation in the health and safety process of any business.
This involves a review on performance on health and safety within an organisation. This is the final part of a good health and safety system, i.e where one learns from incidents. This includes reviewing performance and checking the validity of the systems in place. If things need to be changed in line with the business and new risks mitigated against then the policy must be re-written. Health and safety success must be acknowledged and carried on through any policy changes.