Category Archives: OHSAS18001

Safety Management in a Thriving Economy

The economy is on a rise again and companies are ramping up production. A lot of businesses are running a tight schedule and projects need to be completed as soon as possible. This environment is great for business but not necessarily for the safety perception. During these times it is crucial the safety officers keep safety as top priority at the workplace. To prevent safety becoming the victim of tight schedules, we have pointed out some topics to take into consideration.

Tightly Planned Project

As a safety officer, it is always good to have a close connection and understanding of the ongoing projects and their status. People are inclined to work as hard as possible to finish a project on time, even at the expensive of their own safety. The tight schedule can put so much pressure on people that they start to make a consensus on safety. Being present at the worksite helps to remind the employees of the importance of safety. You will personally be the trigger for them. Furthermore, it allows you to keep track of the safety culture and correct workers when they take irresponsible risks. Of course you cannot do this on your own, so make sure project managers and site managers are properly trained.

Continue Training

The tight planning reduces time for things like safety training and awareness programs. These techniques are crucial to maintaining a healthy safety culture. Make sure the training time isn’t reduced due to time constraints. Yes, top management will put the customer first, but ensure that it doesn’t happen at the expense of safety. It is crucial for the health of the workers but also the organization that people feel safe and secure while they do their job. Come up with measuring tools that show how important the training is. These can be safety culture perception or more hard figures like number incidents and their costs to handle them.

Reduce Barriers

Enable employees to easily file incidents and unsafe situations. It is crucial employees have the right tools to provide you with the necessary information to plan your actions. This information is a great input for things like:

  • Creating training plans.
  • Improving certain work instructions.
  • Planning specific toolbox meetings.

Positive Note

Due to the strong economic times a lot of companies have budgets available for topics like safety. Safety officers will notice it gets easier to get budget approvals. Make sure you leverage these great times wisely. In order to prove to top management that money was well spent, make sure you have proof. Show that the safety awareness went up, or that major incidents went down, or whatever metric you use. Just make sure you have data to back up the expenses. This will make approvals in the future a lot easier.

Published by:

What really matters in workplace safety

Many companies that have a Health & Safety system in place assume that they will never have an accident. They set KPIs for zero accidents but when you ask how they will achieve this objective, many haven’t really thought about it.

Ask a member of the top management about the Health & Safety Policy of the company and quite a few won’t be able to tell you much. Most don’t know how the HSE system is performing until a serious accident happens or large compensation payments have to be made. But there are things that can be done to strive for the zero accidents objective.

Start at the Top

A Health & Safety system is not the sole responsibility of the HSE Manager. But rarely do top management get involved in the implementation or even hear about how things are progressing on a daily basis, unless there’s been an incident.

Therefore, top Management must lead by example. But what does this really mean? This involves more than setting a zero accident KPI or sending out a memo to heads of department informing them that they must comply. Rarely do we see top management make regular site visit to see what controls are in place to prevent accidents and whether or not staff are working safely, or even their presence on safety committees.

Getting actively involved in these kinds of activities and listening to concerns raised will send the message that staff safety is a priority.

Train

  1. Train staff, including supervisors, to work safely.
  2. Train staff in correct operation of machinery and other equipment
  3. Train staff in the correct use and storage of PPE. I found that penalising staff for not using PPE, yes many don’t like wearing hard hats, especially in the heat, encouraged them to do so.
  4. Train staff in safety awareness

Ensure Accountability

Add Health & Safety compliance to everyone’s job description, including that of top management.

In my experience punishing staff does change their their way of working. Making them accountable for their actions also changes their way of working.  Just as nobody wants X amount deducted from their salary for not wearing PPE, if someone didn’t follow safety guidelines they would not want a report documenting it.

Encourage

Lack of supervision encourages employees to be lax with Safety. By carrying out regular inspections throughout the day, you encourage them to be more vigilant.

Encourage employees to report near misses, because these are the following mistakes that eventually lead to accidents. Eliminate reprisals with anonymous reporting.

Objectives

When setting timelines for objectives take safety into consideration. Unrealistic timelines encourage staff to hurry and thus work unsafely. Working faster doesn’t necessary mean getting the job done more quickly. In fact, machine operators who try to rush through a task are more likely to have an accident because either they do not take the time to load things safely or to fix the lifting equipment properly to that which is being lifted.

Root Cause Analysis

No matter how small an accident is, top management must ensure that it is carefully examined and prepared comprehensively.

Carry out an extensive analysis of the cause of the incident. I always found it surprising that the end result of a root cause analysis was almost always ‘human error’. This is the easiest way out and often incorrect. Even human error has a cause that should be investigated.

This article has been written by Birjees Hussain

Published by:

10 points to assess your company’s security culture

Do you know ten features that can be used to assess the culture within your organization?

Risk management has become an important part of the new ISO 9001-2015 standard. Therefore, I would like to pay attention to this topic. Currently not so much on the ISO norm itself but more on developing a culture of security within an organization. An organization is working from shared standards, values ​​and beliefs. This leads to a certain security culture within an institution or organization. The safety culture of an organization can be measured based on a number of aspects.

Recognize the statement: “We are not doing anything wrong, we always deliver good quality, why should we put time and effort in preventive safety measures?” In an organization where this is regularly said, there is a denial of security culture.In such organizations there is little to no investment in improving safety.

Do you recognize the following situation: Something in the organization goes wrong and the directly switch to a different method. The change is often abrupt and short-termed. Such a culture is called a reactive safety culture. An organization that makes many protocols and rules, where much information is gathered and where much reporting is done, is called a bureaucratic (calculated) security culture. In such culture, implementation hardly takes place, let alone evaluated.

But perhaps your organization has more the characteristics of a proactive security culture. Then there is a high priority for security, continuous investment in increasing security, implementation and evaluation. It is thought forward that information about possible bottlenecks is being broadly exchanged.

In a progressive security culture, security is fully integrated into each process and security forms a solid part of reflection and evaluation. As risk management in the new ISO standard is an important part, organizations will proceed to the development of a Security Management System (QMS). Before you get started it is important to recommend research, so you know in which fase your organization is.

A model has been developed that allows different cultures to be scored on ten objects. These items are:

  1. Priority and Responsibility of Security (How important is security in the different departments within an organization?)
  2. registering, evaluating and learning incidents (is there a reporting system, how is the reporting culture, what is being reported, what is being learned from the incident, are changes and incident actually implemented and evaluated?)
  3. resources used (how important are the equipment, materials and spaces with which / what is being worked in the context of safety?)
  4. communication on security (how is incidents communicated, are incidents organized widely discussed?)
  5. cooperation and security (how is cooperation in the different departments and between departments in the field of security?)
  6. personnel policy and safety (is employee-safety included, is the functioning of employees discussed when it comes to security in the performance interviews?)
  7. competence and safety (Is career development focused on the topic of safety?)
  8. compliance and compliance behavior (to what extent is someone responsible for unsafe situations?)
  9. Availability of customer / patient / customer information (Are there any rules regarding the provision of information to client / patient / customer? How is the knowledge and application of the rules in this area) 
  10. information security (how is confidential information about clients / patients / customers and others shielded for third parties? how is knowledge and application of the rules in this area?)

 

This article has been written by Jantina van Rossum of iConact.

Published by: