I recall accepting a position with a company which had an abysmal Occupational Safety Health and Welfare record. 30% of employees were being injured every year and had no rehabilitation programme to work with. There were no policies and/or procedures which were operational with no sign of a committee to strategise improvement of the situation.
I immediately set out to structure a simple but effective OH&S programme which I could also utilise to initiate a company wide communications policy.
This would be a simple but effective plan which would involve every employee and provide them with a sense that the company was serious about protecting their welfare in every practical way.
The policy was one of continual communication and feedback where something associated with OH&S was being actioned every week of every month.
Week 1 – A safety talk (based on an incident relevant to an injury or near miss). Every employee could read the notice, speak about it with the supervisor and then sign the form to acknowledge they had been involved in the process.
Week 2 – A safety inspection was carried out in every department with management and employees together with identified hazards taken to the safety committee meeting each month for follow up discussion. Hazards would be identified as an A, B or C severity rating.
- A = Immediate attention
- B = Urgent attention – to be rectified within one (1) week
- C = Possible hazard which requires ongoing monitoring
Week 3 – A company wide safety film was presented
Week 4 – Monthly safety meeting where all identified concerns rated as A, B or C severity levels were followed up and discussed along with other issues of importance.
This programme saw lost time reduced to zero and a three (3) year period with accident free. The business was also awarded a five (5) star safety rating for the same period.
The company OH&S programme strived to meet the fundamental rights of all employees to a safe and healthy work environment as health is not only defined simply in terms of absence of disease, injury or disability, but also with positive concepts of wellness. We aimed at the attainment of the highest possible degrees of physical, mental and social well being
These same concepts can and will work today. I was proud to take these same programmes to international businesses with the team.
Safety is everyone’s business and is a shared responsibility between management and employees.