So, you’re in the process of setting up a new company and you don’t know where to begin when it comes to health and safety?
An easy way to think about a robust health and safety system is to break it down into five main parts:
Policies and Procedures
Policies and procedures provide a structure for your company when it comes to handling health and safety. They are the foundation of your system.
Essential elements are:
- Policy statement – your overarching policy
- Code of conduct
- Operational policies
- Emergency management plan
Managing Hazards and Risks
Business owners and leaders are required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to manage any risks to workers and any other person that may be affected by their work. This means that hazards must be identified, assessed, controlled and monitored. There are several tools that you can use for this process, including;
- Hazard/incident register
- Risk assessment matrix
- Hazardous products and substances register
- Workplace inspections
- Plant and equipment register
- Monitoring activities
- Hazard boards and danger signs
Managing Staff and Contractors
Ensuring your workers and contractors are safe at work is your main priority as a business owner. The following are essential elements of your health and safety system when it comes to keeping your people safe.
- Code of conduct – provides clearly set “house rules” for your workers and contractors on how you expect people to behave while at work.
- Worker involvement in their own health and safety – allowing people to be part of the process will encourage engagement and ownership of health and safety in your business.
- Induction, training and competency supervision – workers need to be inducted into a new workplace, this provides information and outlines your expectation of them immediately. Similarly, workers need to be trained and assessed if competent at the tasks they are expected to do in their jobs. If workers are not competent they need to be supervised.
Tools you can use to ensure that you are managing the health and safety of your people are:
- Visitor/site induction register
- Training and competency register
- Training pathway
- Personal protective equipment and clothing register
Administration of your health and safety system
It’s important to keep on-top of your system once it is in place. Your system is way of keeping records which allows you to remain compliant but also gives you the opportunity to see if you are achieving anything. This means regularly reviewing and keeping your system up-to-date is important. Site Safe recommends:
- Regular review of daily or weekly operational records, such as;
- hazard identification
- incident reports
- inspection results
- induction register
- pre starts
- Yearly review of your strategic data and targets – this data is used to set targets and goals for the coming year.
Health and Safety Leadership
It’s up to leaders to drive health and safety culture in any organisation, which encourages workers to engage in the culture and keep your workplace safe. Lead by example to create an environment where health and safety is a transparent and approachable part of your company.
Leaders can run toolbox talks, complete audits or attend a health and safety meeting. Leaders should continually monitor health and safety in the organisation, and address health and safety issues quickly and transparently.
Site Safe’s Health and Safety Kit is a good place to start. The kit provides you with detailed information, processes and forms that a business should have as part of their health and safety system.
The Health and Safety Kit provides further detail on the framework above including a copy of all the documents and forms mentioned.
If you are a small business of 1 to 20 employees, we also offer a small business package which is an optional add on to the Health and Safety kit. We also offer a 60 minute ‘start up’ session with one of our safety advisors to get you up to speed.
*This information is a framework for a basic organisational health and safety system, for site specific or project level health and safety systems check out the free Site-Specific Safety Plan.