5 New Years Resolutions to implement in 2019 to improve workplace health & safety

South Africa has seen many fatal tragedies in the last few years, from the collapse of the Grayston Drive pedestrian bridge to the fatal fire in the building belonging to the Gauteng government this year. Nearly 5 000 workers die each year as a result of fatal injuries incurred during work-related incidents.

As the person responsible for health & safety in your business, there are some key steps you can take to ensure 2019 is a safe environment for your business, and that you will meet all your EHS objectives. Identifying these steps with your teams and turning them into New Year’s resolutions for your business will be a great way to kick off your year.

The perfect place to start 2019 is by reviewing your EHS PLAN – setting goals and making them visible shows confidence on the part of management:

  • Is the plan current and up to date?
  • Does everyone in the business know what the plan is?
  • Has the plan kept pace with the changes in your business?
  • Are the timelines for the plan realistic and achievable?
  • Have the right people to deliver the plan been identified and do they understand what they have to do?
  • Do you have the tools you need to deliver the plan on time and within budget

Make sure everyone is accountable:

  • Start the year by setting goals for each member of the team.
  • Agree on how you are going to measure each employee’s performance and ability to meet those goals.

A workforce that is trained and empowered to meet their goals will allow them great job satisfaction when they achieve those goals, and also lets everyone know that you are paying attention. It also opens the door to more discussion regarding incidents and how they could have been prevented. Having consequences can be a positive motivator for doing the right thing, the first step to taking personal responsibility for being safe.

Make sure 2019 is set to get engagement from your team:

Two recent surveys point out how difficult it is for companies to maintain an engaged workforce, to the point where both surveys claim more than 50 percent of workers are not engaged or disengaged. Safety presents an opportunity to engage workers in the job and in the company and does it in the most important area, personal safety.

  • There are several ways to engage workers, but the single, most-effective way is with monthly safety meetings. This is the opportunity to accomplish several of the key components of a strong safety culture

Make sure you recognize your team:

Recognition in front of peers for a job well done is a definite motivator. To achieve a goal is one thing, but the achievement is not as impactful as when that achievement is recognized publicly.

  • Use your monthly safety meetings as the forum to applaud team members who are meeting their goals.
  • Decide at the beginning of 2019 how you will recognize these employees. Some things you can do are to posting pictures, write an article in the newsletter, or a posting of some type – helps raise the importance of the award.
  • Rewarding your team by way of safety incentives is also a great technique and something you may want to agree with your top management for the year.

Make sure there is a plan in place to ensure each employee has the tools and training to meet those goals

  • 2019 is going to get faster with lower budgets and higher compliance requirements! It is critical you start with a year with a review of your systems and make sure they will keep pace with your plan!
  • Start the year by reviewing how you manage, administrate, and report your EHS plan. Scheduling tools can assist by automating repetitive tasks with the click of a button. They will also allow you to save and retain all information from multiple users in 1 place, so you can save time by not having to access several databases to access the information you need. They will also allow automated reporting and workflow controls to ensure the right people do the right thing at the right time.
  • They should also be able to automate training for your teams, ensuring new employees are properly inducted and existing employees are kept up to date.
  • An EHS software solutions provider can help you answer these questions – start the year by selecting one and getting their input.


South Africa will kick off 2019 in a financial recession. Job losses are on the rise and unemployment continues to increase.  As the person responsible for EHS in your organization, 2019 is going the be a challenging year. A plan that recognizes and provides for these challenges has a high chance of being a successful one.

Companies like OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the Africa Licensee of the award-winning Rapid Global Software, have been delivering EHS software solutions for over 15 years.  Their only business is the continued development and improvement of their software, to make sure that the solutions keep pace with the ever-changing landscape. They have used the learning of over 1 million users worldwide to develop a product that speaks to an organization’s EHS needs.