Keeping your workplace safe and compliant with The Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations can be a full-time job even at the best of times.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, requires the employer to provide and maintain as far as reasonable and practical a work environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees.
We share five workplace safety tips to help you stay on top of your risk and compliance management plan and ensure that critical hazards don’t slip through the gaps.
SAFETY TIP 1
Make Occupational Health and Safety easy for the whole team.
When you make processes easy for someone, they are more likely to do it. Easy processes help form the right habits.
We firmly believe that simplicity underpins good OHS management. When your people are forced to wade through piles of paper forms, spreadsheets, and home-grown systems — often varying between regional offices and job sites — good health and safety practices can be easily lost in the mix. Hazards can also be created when people don’t have effective induction programs and don’t follow procedures.
Workplace health and safety procedures and other administrative controls underpin and support your entire workplace safety management plan and contractor’s management compliance. It’s critically important to make your systems easy for people to use, so that good workplace health and safety will become a habit:
- Length — people aren’t interested in reading an operational document that is 25 pages long and follows a work procedure that has 20 or 30 steps. Break the information down into manageable chunks that can be easily digested and understood.
- Layers — don’t design a procedure that needs the operator to reference multiple documents or has too many handoffs to other people. When procedures have too many layers people start taking shortcuts and skipping key steps.
- Language — workplace health and safety procedures aren’t the place for big words, lots of acronyms, and complex jargon. People are more likely to read and follow a procedure that uses common vocabulary and conversational language.
Most importantly, make sure your workplace health and safety systems integrate across departments and job sites, making it easier for quality and compliance health and safety auditing.
SAFETY TIP 2
Workplace Health and Safety Management starts at the top.
Having workplace health and safety systems that are accessible to senior management during review meetings helps the executive team identify, assess, and evaluate strategies that achieve a positive safety culture.
We know that workplace health and safety management starts at the top, but also recognises that an organization’s top executives juggle a wide range of managerial and compliance responsibilities. Making safety easy for your whole team also means making it easy for your senior managers.
Having workplace health and safety systems that integrate risk management, safety inductions and training, contractor compliance, visitor entry, incident reporting, and safety auditing — all in one live system — keeps senior management in the loop. It also ensures that critical risks are acted on immediately, and included in the budget.
Did you know that Rapid workplace health and safety systems seamlessly integrate all aspects of safety management?
Do you think your CEO would value being instantly advised of a compliance breach, and your production supervisor would appreciate being assigned a corrective action — at the same time?
SAFETY TIP 3
OHS is more than ticking the boxes
OHS is not about ticking boxes and having a piece of paper for compliance It’s about having a system that is complete with audit checks and balances. When you report a safety issue, it enters the system and you know it will get managed.
Top Safety Leaders understand that OHS is not about ticking boxes, it’s about people. All leaders have a responsibility to keep workers safe, and they can only do this if their team is committed to the goal.
- Making it easy for workers at all levels (including external contractors) to report safety incidents and hazards.
- Ensuring work areas, operating procedures, and safety equipment are regularly audited.
- Inducting and training staff (and contractors) when they first start work.
- Checking the ongoing skills and competencies of workers (and contractors) when they are on the job.
- Teaching people how to identify and respond to the hazards in their work areas.
- Reviewing hazard control measures to ensure they are working and are effective.
A good workplace safety management system ensures that compliance breaches, hazards, and incidents are immediately flagged for corrective action — and that these are followed up to ensure that action does take place. When using Rapid systems, your team will receive notifications from the system automatically, so they can easily follow the right process.
SAFETY TIP 4
Get an Incident Management System.
An incident safety reporting system ensures your team carries out investigations within a required timeframe, and your executive team gets notified when critical or dangerous incidents occur.
Under the OHS Act, employers are required to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. This includes taking measures to prevent accidents and injuries, as well as providing necessary protective equipment and ensuring that all machinery and equipment is in good working order.
Safety incidents and near misses are an immediate indicator that something isn’t right in the workplace. Someone may need more training, equipment may be broken, and there aren’t enough entry controls at the front gate —using Rapid Incident Reporting and Investigation will help your organisation uncover hazards and unsafe work practices.
A good accident reporting system includes everyone in the organisation and has:
- Clear reporting methods so all hazards, safety issues, near misses, and dangerous incidents are immediately reported and logged.
- Relevant managers and key personnel are assigned to investigate and take corrective action.
- Executives and managers are alerted to critical and dangerous incidents, plus they receive live updates as control measures are introduced or hazards are eliminated.
- The system automatically produces activity and status reports for HSE Managers and executive teams.
- Incidents and hazards remain active until investigated or controlled.
SAFETY TIP 5
Stop managing your contractors with a spreadsheet
Spreadsheets are only good for the person who created the original document and knows how to use it. Plus they are so vulnerable to data loss or data inaccuracy — one person can easily wreak havoc on a single spreadsheet.
Managing the people who enter your workplace has never been more important. There is an ever-increasing range of new hazards, safety controls, and compliance obligations — and spreadsheets can be risky to use with the large amount of data that must be processed.
Large job sites that carry dangerous goods, heavy vehicles, manufacturing plants, food processing machinery, or data storage centers require strict visitor controls to keep people safe. And if you are looking across a line/cell in a spreadsheet, the information may not be immediately relatable to the (sometimes hundreds of contractors) who are actually on your worksite.
- Use the Rapid App to identify individual contractors in the field by photograph and ID, plus check all their qualifications.
- Check contractor licenses and permits at any sites from the head office mainframe.
- Prequalify and train sub-contractors before entry to the worksite.
- Issue reminders and compliance alerts to contracting companies about individual sub-contractors, and then sort it out offsite.
For many industries managing your contractors and site visitors is a legal requirement. Using a dedicated contractor management and visitor management system that was built for the purpose can help you achieve this with ease and cost-effectively.
Improve your safety management processes
If you’re looking for more than just workplace safety tips — but a comprehensive workplace health and safety solution that incorporates all facets of risk management, training, incident reporting, and contractor management — get in touch with the team at OVS Solutions. Our workplace health and safety gives you the tools you need to seamlessly manage your business risk, safety, and compliance — all in one place.