Health and Safety Chat

Top 10 Tips to help with Health and Safety Compliance

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Steve Schroder
23 November 2016
So many times, when talking to people, I am asked what they have to do to ensure they are complaint with the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
The truth is that health and safety is a large topic and there is no one magic bullet the will ensure that you are compliant. It takes a raft of measures, from both the company and its officers, to ensure that the business is “discharging” its due diligence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Anyone who tells you that if you buy their system you are covered is, for the most part, stretching the truth.

To be compliant under the new act takes work and, depending on the safety culture that exists within your business, can sometimes be quite challenging. But you can do it! A safety system is a good start, however a safety system alone does not make you compliant. The truth is that it is everything you do to support this system that builds compliance and helps discharge your due diligence.

So I have put together my top ten hints for ensuring you are well positioned to comply with the new act. It is important to note that this is a general list and this list may differ from company to company depending on the nature of the work you are carrying out as well as the systems you have in place.

Plan → Do → Check → Act

1. ‘Safety First’ workplace culture

Promote a positive safety culture throughout your entire business. Safety should be entrenched in everything you do. The company should have the stance of ‘safety first’ in everything it does and the officers of the business should promote that culture through their actions and decisions.

2. Risk & safety assessment

Regularly check the workplace for risks and hazards. Health and safety are not a ‘set and forgets’ machine! You have to keep assessing what you have in place to ensure that how you are controlling your risks is adequate. Remember Plan → Do → Check → Act.

3. Workplace safety inductions

Ensure all employees, visitors and contractors receive relevant information about the workplace. One of the key ways you can ensure Workers’ (staff, visitors and contractors) safety is to inform them of the risks associated with your workplace and the activities you undertake. The easiest way to do this, in a lot of cases, is through a workplace-specific induction.

4. Understanding the issues

Consult with employees on health and safety issues. The new act specifically talks about consulting with your Workers. So you must engage your workforce to find out if they understand what health and safety mean in your business, and this will help you understand if the health and safety systems within your business are working.

5. Take action

Address reported health and safety issues promptly. When one of your Workers reports a health and safety concern, listen to the report, consider what has been reported and if needed act to resolve the issue. Remember, if you decide not to do anything about the reported hazard you need to be able to justify why.

6. Implement health and safety procedures

Develop and implement formal policies, procedures and protocols addressing health and safety risks and controls. One of the best ways of proving due diligence is to have a comprehensive list of policies, procedures, safe working procedures, risk assessments, etc, and then training your Workers in those procedures.

7. Prevent incident reoccurrences

Investigate incidents/accidents efficiently to prevent reoccurrence. A thorough investigation of any workplace incident can provide you with valuable lessons that, if heeded, can prevent reoccurrences.

8. Know your emergency procedures

Develop, implement and practice emergency procedures. All staff should know what to do in an emergency. You need to develop workplace-specific safety plans and then practice those plans so Workers instinctively know what to do in an emergency.

9. First aid provisions

Maintain suitable first aid provisions. Suitable task-specific first aid provisions should be available onsite for any Worker, i.e. if you have hot work taking place on site, ensure you have a burns kit available, not just a regular first aid kit. And always remember to restock them regularly.

10. Workplace safety signage

Display safety information throughout the workplace. Relevant signage and “administrative” controls should be displayed in appropriate places throughout the workplace, in addition to a good health and safety notice board that is kept up to date.

If you would like to know more about how your business can discharge its due diligence or you need some advice on how the new act affects you contact either Steve or Susan for a free confidential chat.

Susan 021 570 570 | Steve 021 452 930