Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Protect your business, safeguard your employees and save money

by Mary Darlington,BSc., CFIOSH, CFCIPD, MIITD, Darlington Consulting
Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner

If something in your business was causing you to lose money, causing your employees to be out of work and threatening services to customer, you would want to do something about it, wouldn’t you? Accidents and injuries at work can cause all of these.

However if you manage health and safety the same way you manage everything else it can allow you to have all your key employees at work when and where you need them, producing the products or delivering the services to keep your customers happy.

Poor health and safety costs money. High productivity and excellent safety are not mutually exclusive. They can and do work hand in hand enabling businesses to be safe and make a profit.

Adopt a Preventative Approach
Preventing of accidents and ill health should be your key aim and it is entirely achievable and cost effective. Preventing and or reducing accidents means lower Employer's Liability insurance and lower costs overall.

Key Steps to good health and safety
1. Get yourself competent advice and help
If you don’t have the expertise in health and safety yourself, buy it in and get started.

2. Outline roles and responsibilities clearly
Make sure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, give them the tools to meet their responsibilities and then hold them accountable.

3. Train everyone
Train everyone from Chief Executive down so they understand how accidents can be prevented.

4. Set Health and Safety Goals
Set health and safety goals for the business, and individual objectives for all managers

5. Set standards of performance and behaviour
Communicate to all employees what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. Accept nothing less than full compliance.

6. Measure Health and Safety Performance
Measure health and safety performance every month, every year and try to improve over time.

7. Provide resources for health and safety
Provide resources (people, time, money etc.) to manage the health and safety effort and take action. Talking about it or sending emails about it will not make it happen.

8. Integrate Health and Safety into every management decision
Blend health and safety into every management decision you take. Whether you are hiring employees, buying new equipment, launching a new product or service etc., there are health and safety issues that must be can be planned for and managed.

9. Identify and Manage the hazards
Identify the hazards and assess the risks in all your work activity. Eliminate, minimise or control those hazards effectively so that the work can be done in a safe and healthy way.

10. Consult with employees
Management don’t always have all the answers to health and safety problems so consult with those actually doing the job, tap into their expertise and implement practical measures to protect them.

11. Talk about Health and Safety
Management need to give health and safety the same level of importance as the other key business issues such as Finance, Sales, HR etc. Put health and safety on all meeting agendas and be pro-active about it.

12. Use your Moral Barometer
We have lots of health and safety laws and regulations. As well as complying with them Managers need to refer back to their moral barometer often. Before you ask any employee to do something ask yourself the following questions:

• Would I do this task myself?
• Would I allow my own son or daughter to do it?
• Have I given this employee all the training they need to do it?
• Have they got the right equipment?
• Are there logical, practical procedures for them to follow?
• Have I don’t everything as a Manager to protect this employee?

Safety is everybody's business.

Darlington Consulting provides a range of health and safety training and consultancy services. For further information and a free consultation contact:

Mary Darlington
Darlington Consulting
Tel. 086 2437677

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