Health and Safety Management is a crucial part of any business irrespective of its size or industry. It not only helps in building a positive reputation for the business but also boosts financial performance by cutting down accident-related costs.
The 5 steps listed below are an essential part of any Health and Safety program developed by your company. These steps can be used by any company to create its policy and procedures. If you are a part of the larger “Safety Group Program” they are a requirement for documentation and validation.
The Standards are the first step in creating your Health and Safety Program. It is the initial piece of your document that all your later steps are dependent upon. It lays out all your expectations, rules and procedures to be followed in the workplace. Standards must align with your mission, business objective and organizational leadership. The Standards list out the set of procedures to be followed by all employees in a certain event.
Importance of Standards-
- Provide Clarity as to the role of different individuals in the organization.
- Employees are aware of what to expect from Management and vice versa.
- Standards enable comparison between an organization’s expectations in the forms of Standards set and actual results.
- Standards also lead to the development of strong leadership, required for the implementation of the standards created.
Finding it difficult to set standards for your programs?
Start with the basics and create standards based on the laws. The laws set out the minimum standards that have to be met.
You can also set your own standards around the procedures and policies to be followed.
Communication is the next step in Health and Safety program, it ensures that your employees are informed and have a good understanding of their role and responsibilities concerning Health and Safety. If this step is performed correctly then employees are not only aware of Health and Safety programs but also provide important feedback.
What Medium should you use for communication?
Any number of mediums can be used to communicate about the Health and Safety programs.
Use the medium best suited for your organization, some companies find posters to be helpful while some find a direct email to employees. There is no set medium as the best way rather catering according to the needs of your employees is.
What and Whom to communicate to?
Use the Standards, it lays out the employees that need to be communicated.
- The employees need to know specific information, rules and expectations that apply to them.
- Recent changes and upgrades to the Health and Safety Programs.
- Cater to your audience for example in your messaging avoid technical jargon, instead use simple English to avoid confusion.
It refers to providing knowledge and skills to employees enabling them to properly perform his job. Training not only helps with new skills but also sharpens and hones existing ones.
Who and How to train employees?
- The initial step is to determine which group needs to be trained and regarding what.
- Once the training group and training objective is established, the administration of training can be looked upon.
- Creating a training program may require learning theories, instructional design, learning styles etc.
- Implementation of training plan can be on the job, instructional dependent upon the nature of skills being imparted.
- The training program should be continually monitored and in the end be evaluated with the objectives.
- A feedback loop is also helpful as it raises concerns and faults that may have been overlooked initially.
This is the 4th step in Health and Safety program management. Evaluation is essential in determining the effectiveness of the Standards, Communication and Training.
Evaluation is suggested to be completed in the program year, but some exceptions do apply.
How and what to evaluate?
Determine what you will measure in your evaluation. In our case, we will be focusing on Standards, Communication and Training.
Various Evaluating tools can be used –
- Observation – it’s the process of observing an employee complete his tasks, duties etc. It helps you learn changes in the behaviours and actions of employees in the real world. Observers are recommended to have a journal to record their findings.
- Tests- they are also a great way to evaluate depending upon the nature of the job. Often are time-consuming.
- Surveys- It is one of the most common evaluation tools using the information provided by the employees. They are very popular because of the easy to use and designing process.
- Interviews – Face to Face interviews are also a valid option as they provide flexibility and in-depth information but are heavily time-consuming.
Make Improvements and acknowledge Success
This is the 5th and last step of our Health and Safety Excellence Program.
The results from the evaluation dictate where to look for improvements. Create a documented plan or recommendation of how to overcome the shortfalls.
You can look at how to overcome the shortfalls –
- Improve the training of the employees
- Increase awareness of a specific issue through communication
- Going over the standards again and analyzing if they are right for your organization