I see the article on Wikipedia refers to Health & Safety as "Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goals of occupational safety and health programs include to foster a safe and healthy work environment.OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment."
Now, the people at Sheqafrica.com has written an article on the subject, trying to qualify the many facets of the question - What is Occupational Health Safety?
Probably the easiest way to improve your Safety talks is by doing a little bit of planning. Planning is essential for effective Safety meetings.
In order to get the most from a safety meeting, you need to think about five key issues:
You will need to view every issue as a step in the process of producing successful Safety meetings.
Timing Your Safety Meetings
I think the best time to do Safety meetings are early in a shift when employees are more alert and less likely to be in the middle of an important assignment or task. It would be best to avoid Mondays and Fridays if employees have the weekend off. Better yet, set a regular schedule, such as the first Tuesday of the month or every other Wednesday.
Safety Meeting Methods
The method you use to present your Safety meeting will depend on the topic. You might opt to do a demonstration, have a discussion, or give a talk followed by a question-and-answer session.
You will get the best results if the meetings involve interaction between you and employees, and among employees. The best meetings also involve hands-on practice, whenever that's appropriate. Use visuals as well as words—charts, pictures, diagrams, a list of key points, or maybe even a short video to support your Safety talk.
Training experts say that people retain more of what they see than what they hear or read, and they remember most the things they actually do.
So it’s key to not just tell employees how to follow a new procedure or how to operate a piece of equipment. It is important to show them. Then let them practice.
If there's nothing to demonstrate or to practice, then stop your Safety talk every few minutes to ask a question or start a discussion.
The more you involve employees in the meeting, the more they'll learn.
Location, Location, Location
A good idea is to link your meeting location to your training method.
For example, if you're demonstrating how to safely operate a new piece of equipment, the meeting has to be held where the equipment is. If you're demonstrating safe lifting techniques, you need to be somewhere where there are items to lift and space for employees to spread out and practice.
If you're discussing an incident or a near-miss, the logical place to hold the meeting is at the scene of the incident.
If you opt for a lecture format and a classroom setting, make sure the space you choose is quiet, convenient, big enough to hold everybody comfortably, and equipped with any items you need for your presentation.
By: Ben Fouche
Posted: 08 April 2009
Health and Safety culture in any organisation is determined by the CEO. The CEO is the leader of an organisation and usually determines the direction the followers or employees will take. If the CEO is committed then there is always time, money and other resources available for Health and Safety.
It is important that employees feel that they are valued and that production targets are not the only issue of concern/importance. When the CEO considers Health and Safety as a fifth wheel and an unnecessary luxury that is just slowing the normal course of business, then there is no money, no manpower and no time for Health and Safety.
This culture normally leads to hiding of incidents, window-dressing and a general ignorance to everything that could remotely be linked to H&S - the end result is an increase in incidents and a poor Health and Safety record.
Some basic guidelines (adapted) towards becoming a responsible Health and Safety leader are: (Source: HSE)
HEALTH AND SAFETY CULTURE:
1. Recognise that the attitudes and decisions of senior managers are critical in setting the priorities of the organisation.
2. A manager’s role is not simply restricted to directing work and monitoring compliance with rules and regulations.
3. We must, at senior management level, want to hear what is really happening, not what our managers think we want to hear.
4. We want our staff to work safely and comply with the rules, but we also want them to show initiative and be proactive in improving health and safety.
5. We make sure that health and safety is not viewed as a separate function, but as an integral part of productivity, competitiveness and profitability and that our health and safety risks are recognised as part of our business risks.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE:
1. Whenever we discuss Health and Safety we make it clear that an exemplary Health and Safety performance is our aim and that we value the health and well-being of our workers, contractors, visitors and members of the public.
2. Health and Safety is on the agenda of any board or management meeting and the company routinely reports our health and safety performance as part of our commitment to corporate social responsibility.
3. Health and Safety performance is an important element of performance reviews. Managers are accountable for the health and safety performance of their departments.
4. We know we are able to measure our health and Safety performance through useful and meaningful indicators.
5. We set long-term goals for the control of major hazards and Health and Safety as we do for financial and production goals and have a plan to meet these.
6. We meet the workforce regularly and discuss health and Safety with them.
7. We are confident that contracts are awarded to companies who can demonstrate a good Health and Safety performance and who have a good understanding of the hazards they will encounter while working for us.
8. All incidents and near misses are investigated fully to identify the underlying causes and follow up on the agreed action.
HEALTH AND SAFETY SYSTEMS:
1. We demonstrate that we understand where in our activities major accidents and incidents can occur and that suitable engineering/technical and human controls are in place.
2. We are confident that our staff are competent to carry out the tasks they are required to perform.
3. We know we have developed key performance indicators for major hazards and that process safety performance is monitored and reported against these parameters.
4. Our accident/incident investigation procedure ensures we consider all issues, including human factors.
5. We will make sure that arrangements are in place to facilitate communication and enable people to discuss health and safety.
6. We know that the technical integrity of our plant and equipment rests on good initial design, feedback from operations, thorough hazard studies, competent risk assessment and high standards of construction.
7. We know that the technical integrity of the existing plant and equipment rests on good maintenance plans and in carrying out maintenance to the highest standards.
8. We know that many incidents result from poor control of organisational and technical change. We are confident the systems on which we rely are up to date and subject to monitoring and review.
9. Our systems give us a comprehensive review of the company’s performance, based on all sources of information including accidents, high potential incidents, verification of results and monitoring of the workforce.
1. We understand that successful businesses increasingly encourage active participation of the workforce in the management of Health and Safety.
2. We know that involving staff in the process of identifying and managing risks is a key aspect of managing Health and Safety successfully.
3. We review our progress against agreed objectives at regular intervals and set performance measures.
HOW GOOD A HEALTH AND SAFETY LEADER ARE YOU? (This list is designed to check your status as a leader on health and safety.) (Source: HSE)
1. How do you demonstrate the board’s commitment to Health and Safety?
2. What do you do to ensure appropriate board-level review of Health and Safety?
3. What have you done to ensure your organisation, at all levels including the board, receives competent Health and Safety advice?
4. How are you ensuring all staff - including the board - is sufficiently trained and competent in their Health and Safety responsibilities?
5. How confident are you that your workforce, particularly Safety representatives, is consulted properly on Health and Safety matters, and that their concerns are reaching the appropriate level including, as necessary, the board?
6. What systems are in place to ensure your organisation’s risks are assessed, and that sensible control measures are established and maintained?
7. How well do you know what is happening on the ground, and what audits or assessments are undertaken to inform you about what your organisation and contractors actually do?
8. What information does the board receive regularly about Health and Safety - e.g. performance data and reports on injuries and work-related ill health?
9. What targets have you set to improve Health and Safety and do you benchmark your performance against others in your sector or beyond?
10. Where changes in working arrangements have significant implications for Health and Safety, how are these brought to the attention of the board?
The value of a life cannot be measured in terms of money, production targets achieved, good image of a company or in any other way. A life is not replaceable, especially not for the deceased’s family. It is managements’ responsibility and accountability to ensure a well implemented and maintained working environment as well as for Health and Safety to become a way of life!
By: Christel Fouche
Posted: 16 October 2008