Implementing a health and safety management system may appear like a difficult job. Health & safety management systems are tools that help associations continually improve its health and safety performance. They contain organizational elements that follow a continuous cycle of planning, implementing, checking, and improving.
When developing and implementing a health and safety systems at any workplace, it is important to remember that communication is key to a successful health & safety management system. Employees from all levels should be involved in the development of the health & safety management system. Both frontline workers and employers will gain from their participation and the health & safety management system will improve from both parties’ input.
For a health and safety management system to be successful, it is crucial that management at all levels demonstrate their support of the health and safety program. This can be accomplished by their participation and engagement in health and safety leadership training, health and safety toolbox meetings, inspection, and incident investigations. Senior managers should also visit the workplace to communicate and reinforce healthy and safe practices and behaviors. Safety should be integrated into all aspects and operations.
Health & safety management systems that are successful have high levels of worker involvement from frontline workers. Worker participation in the development of the system is extremely important for workers to believe and buy-in into the system. In addition, worker participation in the development of the health and safety management system will help ensure feed back from workers to employers resulting in a better fit with the company. To promote worker participation, actively involve them in the development of training, inspections, emergency response, hazard assessment and accident/incident reporting.
Many health & safety management systems fail in organizations due to the lack of involvement from workers and senior management. Communication and feedback from both parties is key to building a successful health & safety management system. With both parties involved with the development of the health & safety system management, frontline workers begin to buy-in to the system and senior managers show commitment and leadership to the program. These all being the correct ingredients for a effective health & safety management system.