9 ways to improve health and safety management at work

December 7th, 2018 By Marketing

Health and safety is an integral part of managing the workplace and shouldn’t be treated as a stand-alone system. Minimising and preventing work-related injuries and illnesses isn’t just a legal requirement (as set out by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974), but essential to cultivating a safe and productive working environment. Here’s 9 proven ways to get your health and safety up to scratch.

1.Appoint a health and safety officer

As a small business owner, improving your health and safety management at work can be a drain on the little time you have. IMSM recommends that best practice in your workplace would be to appoint a health and safety officer to be responsible for the health and safety of the organisation. This way, you can share the workload and ensure there is another person responsible for making sure the project gets completed. However, this is not a requirement for ISO 45001 certification, and is up to you to decide.

2. Create a plan for your health and safety management system

For the purpose of practicality, it would be beneficial to create a plan for your health and safety management system, using IMSM’s ISO 45001 handbook for guidance. As part of this plan you should:

  • Identify potential workplace hazards through inspection and revision of previous incidents.
  • Set objectives and targets, and benchmark your performance with other workplaces and organisations before implementing a schedule for future safety checks.

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3. Seek employee input

Open communication by asking your employees: In practice, what works (and what doesn’t)? What are their concerns? What do they want to see improved? For small businesses in particular, consider the ways your workplace is unique, and what specific challenges apply to your business.

4. Perform risk assessments

Be realistic in identifying the potential hazards most likely to cause injury or harm. Evaluating the effectiveness of the controls you already have in place is key, but you must also measure the effectiveness of future controls. Health and safety is beyond just likelihood of injury – think about health problems that could develop in the workplace, for example, exposure to radiation. Additionally, make sure you consider financial risks as well as physical.

5. Train your employees

Reinforce understanding of risks and control measures, and eliminate any confusion that may arise. For example, teach your employees how to respond to emergencies and what procedures must be followed should one occur. The safest and most efficient employees are adequately prepared for challenges, both large and small. This useful guide from the Health and Safety Executive explains what kind of training may be suitable for your company.

6. Provide a written health and safety policy

A written health and safety policy is a legal requirement for companies with five or more employees, under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act 1999. This will not only identify the risks, but explain what you as an employer will do to protect employees from these risks, anticipating mistakes before they occur and providing a viable solution. This information must be easily accessible to your employees.

7. Measure performance in action

Once you have your health and safety policy, it is a good idea to review the functionality of your controls and standards in real-time. Learn from your mistakes should things go wrong and amend your policy if necessary. It’s also essential to lead by example in order to inspire others to do the same.

8. Vigilantly maintain records

It’s easy to get complacent once your policy is in place, but it’s vital to record any incident, large or small, when they occur. This includes first aid, internal and external inspections, investigations, and any formal training. Identify recurrences and trends for any future adaption of your policy.

9. Get ISO 45001 certified

Take your health and safety management to the next level by becoming ISO 45001 certified. ISO 45001 is the new global health and safety certification and an international standard for best practice in the workplace. If you want the most efficient health and safety management system that not only puts employee safety at the forefront, but also allows better managerial oversight and can even lower insurance premiums, then ISO 45001 may well be the right investment for you.

To find out more about ISO 45001 and how it can help your business, download our free guide.

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