All posts by tasmosite

Review of Health and Safety Performance

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Reviewing health and safety performance ensures the safety and health risk management system remains up to date and effective. This is basically the ACT part  of the health and safety management system and is a continuous process.

 

PURPOSE

Health and safety is reviewed to develop an effective health and safety management system. It helps to check the quality and take appropriate actions against any inadequacy.

In a review, we should examine the following things:

  • the operation and maintenance of the existing system;
  • the way how health and safety management system is designed, developed and installed to occupy altering circumstances;

 

PEOPLE INVOLVED AND PLANNED INTERVALS

Responses of a review will be needed:

  • to find a solution to the problems at workplace;
  • to remedy sub-standard performance;
  • to assess the health and safety plans at all levels;
  • to the results of audits;

Review plans may include:

  • monthly reviews of individuals, supervisors or sections;
  • three monthly reviews of departments;
  • annual reviews of sites or of the organisation as a whole;

 

 

ROLE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The board of directors have many responsibilities such as giving equal importance to reporting preventative details and incident data. They are also responsible to carry out periodic audits and check for the outcome of the introduction of any new work procedures or processes. The board of directors should make sure that procedures are followed in order to develop new and changed legal requirements.

The board should also review and examine the effectiveness of health and safety policies made by them. They should ensure that they are informed about risk management, health and safety shortcomings, the impact of the management decisions and also about the health and safety systems in the organisation. Once they are reported about these, they have to take appropriate decisions and implement control measures.

CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT

Continual Improvement is a key word in health and safety management system and without continual improvement there will not be any effective management of health and safety system. This is basically PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT.

As I step into the end of my final blog post I would like to say that Principles of OHS is an amazing course and it helps in the effective development and management of occupational health and safety. I would like to say that always remember the DEMING CYCLE that is PLAN DO CHECK ACT and make sure that ZERO workers are getting injured or dead due to poor management of occupational health and safety.

 

Recording and Reporting Incidents

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Incident recording and reporting contribute greatly towards an effective internal system of an organisation.

Video: Accident Reporting. Source

Type of accidents/incidents

In order to control occupational risks and hazards in an organisation, the following types of incidents/accidents should be detected or noted.

  • all injury accidents;
  • cases of ill-health;
  • sickness absence;
  • dangerous occurrences;
  • damage to property, the environment, personal effects and work in progress;
  • incidents with the ability to cause serious injury, ill-health or damage;

Analysis

Analysis of all information in report forms is very helpful for preparing an essential management data. Reports of analysis must display trends and comparisons using relevant tables and graphs and should be provided to all employees along with the managers either through the Health and Safety Committee and safety representatives or directly in small organisations. It is very important to take appropriate action if any faults are noted in the analysis report.

According to UK HSE, the formula for calculating an annual injury incidence rate is:

Number of reportable injuries in financial year / Average number employed during the year x 100, 000

The formula for calculating injury frequency rates is:

Number of injuries in period / Total hours worked during the period x 1,000,000

National authorities like UK HSE and industry prefer calculating incidence rates whereas other parts of the industry calculate the injury frequency rates.

Organisational Requirements and Reporting to External Authorities

The best way of recording accidents or incidents is maintaining an accident book or an accident report form with at least the name of the witness included in it so as to meet the requirements of an organisation.

A qualified or competent person should be appointed for recording and reporting the accidents/incidents. The competent person is accountable for reporting all the details on time to the safety representatives or any responsible employee as mentioned in the national laws and regulations. In addition, the reporting procedure can also be carried out through online official forms where the competent person receives a confirmation email along with the completed copy of the form once the person has send it to the notifier.

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Figure: Online version of incident reporting system. Source

Lessons Learnt

After evaluating the organisations’ working methods and identifying the areas of improvement the national authorities’ should make a plan which includes SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound) to help the organisations’ improvise the workplace environments and prevent further workplace accidents, injuries or illnesses. The plan of action should be checked for progress and must be modified frequently with reasonable safety instructions, safe working procedures and risk assessments if applicable.

Collection of Information, Compensation and Insurance Issues

The first objective of an investigation is to prevent workplace accidents or injuries that will lessen compensation claims. The second objective of an investigation is collecting and recording reasonable data in order to manage the compensation claims. Appropriate decisions should be taken as to which accidents has more chances of resulting in claims and then a detailed information must be collected on that basis.

Sources of Health & Safety Information

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A health and safety information is primarily the health and safety laws and information about other health and safety related issues provided by the management in order to be consulted by a manager, a health and safety professional or a worker in case of any health and safety issues. This helps the worker or employee to have a good knowledge of the basic rules to acquire a safe working environment and take appropriate action against any unsafe working conditions or procedures.

Today I found some excellent sources of health and safety information which I would like to share with all of you.

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

The link to their website is provided here.

Video 1: OSHA training for medical offices. Source

OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor and has an efficient website showcasing all their health and safety information. Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides details about their organisation and clearly specifies what their mission is along with the workers’ and employers’ responsibilities and duties. OSHA also display many other features such as their laws, regulations, safety standards, training sessions, keeping records of fatalities and injuries, enforcement programs, summer job safety of young workers, emergency preparedness and response activities and many more.

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Figure 1: Home page of OSHA.

According to me, the thing that stood out about OSHA is displaying the workplace fatality reports in their homepage and highlighting their objective to prevent or reduce workplace fatalities, illnesses and injuries which is very important for an occupational health and safety organisation.fatalityFigure 2: OSHA website showing workplace fatalities.

This is very attractive because OSHA is trying to be transparent and honest by providing workplace fatalities showing that they are highly committed to prevent workplace deaths and injuries rather than giving priority to their reputation.

International Labor Organisation (ILO)

Please click here to view their website

Video 2: The 106th ILO Conference. Source

The International Labor Organisation or ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and the only tripartite UN agency. Since 1919, the governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member states are brought together by ILO for organizing labor standards, developing policies and for planning programs to provide both men and women with decent jobs. The ILO also displays features which are quite similar to OSHA since they all work for the same purpose.

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Figure 3: Home page of International Labor Organisation.

In my opinion, the highlighting feature about ILO is that they display the dates of all the meetings and conferences that they carry out and their latest one was the 106th Session of the International Labor Conference which took place very recently and is posted in their opening page. This helps the internal and external interested parties to have some knowledge about the past and recent meetings and conferences which also shows ILO’s continual improvement towards health and safety of workers and other work-related issues.

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Figure 4: ILO’s meetings and conference dates page.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA)

HSA website link is provided here.

Video 3: HSA tips on healthy working practices. Source

Health and Safety Authority or HSA was founded in 1989 under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989. HSA perform a number of major roles such as ensuring safety of 1.8 million workers along with those with work-related injuries and illnesses and enforce occupational health and safety law.They also provide health and safety information in all working fields and try to make workers safe from unnecessary exposure from chemicals such as asbestos, carcinogens. HSA is also one of the important agencies involved in market surveillance in order to protect the public from unsafe products. HSA covers many areas of health and safety topics such as safe movement of chemicals, health and safety education, legislation, work-related vehicle safety, small business worker safety, workplace health and they also publish their latest news.

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Figure 5: Health and Safety Authority (HSA) home page.

The thing I liked the most about HSA is their safety alerts for each year which helps the employees to be alert about any unsafe working conditions. I also liked their special care towards the safe use of chemicals.

safety alertsFigure 6: Safety alerts page from HSA website.

Human Factors Influencing Health and Safety

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Human factor refers to the involvement of humans who behave at work in a way which can affect their health and safety. Health and safety is widely influenced by human factors such as job, organizational and individual or personal factors. 

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According to H.W.Heinrich’s accident pyramid or triangle, there are 330 opportunities to investigate minor accidents and near miss incidents to prevent a major accident. The UK HSE states that 90% of all accidents occur due to human factors and 70% of all accidents could have been eliminated if the management was proactive.

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Figure 1: Accident pyramid showing accidents/incidents ratios. Source

Organizational Factors

An organization is a company or corporate body that manages health and safety. It is necessary for an organization to have a positive health and safety culture which           means to have a properly developed and maintained OHS management system.

There are some restrictions which can make an OHS management system weak such as the members of the management who does not get enough training for their particular positions since the higher the position the lesser the training.

Therefore, an organization need to take measures that demonstrates a good health and safety culture and ensure the involvement of the workforce in order to enhance better health and safety. The factors that weakens a health and safety management system are:

  • imperfect work planning and high work pressure;
  • insufficient safety arrangements and the following obstacles;
  • not responding immediately to previous accidents or incidents;
  • management corresponding to one side communications;
  • ineffective coordination and responsibilities;
  • improper maintenance of health and safety;
  • weak health and safety culture.

Job Factors

Certain jobs can be extremely risky and hazardous and the insufficient management of these risks and hazards will not help in the effective management of health and safety at work. Therefore, health and safety plays an essential role in the planning stage of job and during the production period of any machinery or processes.

The aspects of a weak occupational health and safety are faulty equipment and machinery design, continuous restrictions and obstacles, improper communication of instructions, weak equipment maintenance, high workload and non-ergonomically designed work stations.

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Figure 2:  Example of an ergonomically designed chair and work station. Source

Individual Factors

Working individuals are prone to various types of personal factors that can influence their health and safety at work. There are numerous individual factors that affect health and safety such as hearing and memory loss, language and communication restrictions, poor physical health, age, current position and training and competence but the three important characteristics are psychological: attitude, motivation and perception.

Attitude: A person’s susceptibility to act in a distinct manner to a work situation which can affect their health and safety at work. Attitude should be changed in order to gain a positive health and safety culture.

Motivation: An irresistible energy or force that will stimulate a person to behave in a way which can help them to improve their psychological health and safety condition at workplace. Some conditions that can have an impact on motivation at work include recognition and promotion, job security and satisfaction and self-interest.

Perception: This is a way in which a person understands a work situation or any work hazards. The chances of accidents or injuries happening increases because of a person’s incapability of not identifying a risk or hazard. Some examples are, not using PPE, improper hand washing before and after meals and not complying with any of the safety laws.

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Figure 3: Examples of bad attitude and perception at work. Source

Human Errors and Violations

“A report by the UK HSE found that senior management failures resulted in 61% of all accidents, and 47% of those accidents had human causes.”

Human failures are failure of a planned action to achieve a desired outcome. They are primarily divided into errors and violations.

Human Errors are further divided into skill-based errors and mistakes and violations are further divided into routine, situational and exceptional violations.

Skill-based Errors

Slips: Unsuccessful performance during a task or unintended actions. Examples are:

  • not using correct switch
  • reading the wrong dial
  • choosing an incorrect component for an assembly
  • taking a step too early or too late for a particular working procedure

Lapses: Forgetting to carry out a step in a work process. An example of a lapse is a fork-lift truck driver leaving the keys in the ignition lock of his truck. Lapses can be fixed by reconstructing the equipment or procedure.

Mistakes

Rule-based mistakes: Occurs when a person takes a wrong step or recollects a wrong procedure during a task even though the rule is followed. Wrong counting or miscounting of a group of items is an example of rule-based mistakes.

Knowledge-based mistakes: Occurs due to insufficient knowledge of how to perform a task that results in the development of a solution which is incorrect and not expected. For example, measuring the foundation depth of a sandy soil for a building using a clay soil formula.

Violations

Failure to apply a good rule is known as violation.

Routine violation: A routine violation is one in which going against the rules is very common and normal to do. For example, using fork-lifts in greater speed in a warehouse to meet the deadline.

Situational violation: This occurs due to situational factors such as work time pressure, workplace design or inappropriate equipment that causes an individual to violate the rules since they find it difficult or unsafe to comply with the normal rule.

Exceptional violation: This violation is a fairly rare occurrence and happens when a safety rule is violated due to abnormal or emergency situations or to perform a new task. These violations are generally communicated during training sessions and an example of exceptional violation is breaking a rule during fires explosions.

errors Figure 4: Types of Human Errors. Source

Therefore, human factors are extremely effective in developing a positive health and safety culture. The management and employees of a company should try their level best to eliminate all the organizational, job and individual factors that lead to an unsuccessful OHS management system. An effective communication with the employees and others involved in the company and proper education and training will help to reduce or eliminate the human errors and violation in order to develop a successful OHS management system.

Key Features of a Health and Safety Policy

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A Health and safety policy is a written policy or statement which provides the basis for a company’s successful OHS management. The policy consists of aims and objectives that shows the management commitment to the company’s employees regarding their health and safety.

I will be assessing the health and safety policy of Vinci Construction UK Ltd. Health and safety policy of Vinci construction company is available on the company website Link and pdf document

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First of all, the company has two parts of health and safety policy. The first part can be accessed by the public through the website and the second part of policy is also made available to external parties and it includes specific responsibilities of the members in the management.

After assessing both the health and safety policies, part 1 and part 2, I think that Vinci construction has all the important elements essential for an effective management of the health and safety of its employees at workplace. The company has also adopted the current legal requirements of OHSAS 18001:2007 management which makes it even more effective.

The company’s policy statement of intent has stated their aims and objectives which is very important for a policy even though the policy statement of intent is not perfectly clear and concise and is not written in bullet points.sign However, the policy is signed and dated by the senior most officer i.e., the chief executive of the company, Mr. Bruno Dupety. The company also has non-specific performance HSE targets for the directors to ensure minimum safety standards and other HSE policies.

The management has mentioned their aims and objectives regarding the health and safety of their employees even though they are not easily understandable. The objectives are not time bounded and not specific enough since they believe that working within a time frame would not be very effective due to workload and pressure. However, they have given some information about what they want to achieve and what their aims are.

The organisation has clearly shown the hierarchy of officers and staff along with their names and designations. The policy has stated distinct responsibilities of those in the leading positions which includes the Divisional Managing Directors, Directors along with Senior Site Representatives. It also includes the duties that should be followed by all other employees and staff.

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      Figure 1: Hierarchy of officers and staff with their names and designations

The company has a very well maintained system of arrangements that carries out procedures such as incident investigation and reporting, close calls and positive interventions (reporting near miss events and reduce risk to safety/environment), scored inspections, internal audits and health and safety training. Other arrangements involve a disaster and emergency response plan, consultation of workers and special procedures for the selection of suppliers and contractors. In addition, they have greatly differentiated and explained each of these procedures and plans. However, they have not provided much information about some of the arrangements such as use of PPE, first aid, electrical equipment safety and maintenance, food hygiene procedures and much more.

arrangementsFigure 2: Some of the arrangements provided by Vinci construction

Vinci construction company has excellent reviewing procedures including monthly meetings, divisional HSE reviews and a divisional risk profile for continual improvement of the health and safety management system. The company has also hired a group of safety advisers or HSE advisers specially for taking care of the health and safety of workers. The HSE advisers carry out review meetings for the assessment of risk and hazards and to ensure safety at workplace. They have made sure that the policy is continually reviewed and altered in case of new work situations.

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Figure 3: Annual cycle of HSE review meetings for continual improvement

The policy also provides the dates for reviews and revisions

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Figure 4: Review dates

According to me, the policy was slightly disorganized since I found it difficult to understand the different sections of the policy. They did not specify the objectives and aims of the company using bullet points. Some features were either missing or was not specific, concise and clear such as performance targets, aims and objectives and provision of facilities.I also believe that they concentrated more on reviewing health and safety than any other features of health and safety policy.

Altogether, Vinci construction company has a tremendous health and safety policy for the successful running of the company and in my opinion Vinci construction company has set out rules that can be easily followed, implemented and is practical.

The Scope and Nature of OHS

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Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a field concerned with the safety, health and welfare of people at work. OHS play an important role in all sections of industries, business and commerce. This influences all types of work irrespective of what type of work field it is.

Obstacles and Incentives of OHS

There are many restrictions for acquiring a good standard of occupational health and safety which includes the following:

  • pressure of production or performance targets
  • financial constraints
  • the complexity of the organisation

These obstacles can be overpowered by maintaining the powerful incentives like:

  • Moral
  • Legal
  • Economic

Advantages of OHS

‘Corporate Responsibility’ is a term used to describe the social, economic and environmental impacts that an organisation or business can cause to the society and business. Health and safety is an important corporate responsibility issue in the workplace as concentrates on the impacts of an organisation’s business on the people and environment. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive(HSE), successful management of health and safety is necessary for the workers’ wellness and it also improves the financial status of the company or organisation along with its reputation.

Statistics of Occupational Accidents and Diseases

International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers health and safety management systems as an effective way in order to sustain a healthy and safe work environment since there are 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million occupational diseases every year throughout the world leading to approximately 2 million deaths each year.

Image result for occupational health and safety infographics with source

Important Definitions of OHS

  1.  Health : conserving people’s minds and bodies from occupational disorders.
  2.  Safety : refers to defensing workers from physical injuries.
  3.  Welfare : providing the workers with resources and facilities helping them  preserve their health and well-being at workplace.
  4.  Occupational or work-related ill-health : associated with physical and mental    disorders that could happen at workplace.
  5.  Environmental protection : organizing the workplace in such a way that would  help to prevent the workplace activities from causing any destruction to the  environment.
  6.  Accident : any unexpected happening or occurrence followed by injuries or  causing harm to the people or workers or destruction of properties or a business  loss.
  7.  Near Miss : any occurrence or happening that is capable of causing an accident.
  8.  Dangerous Occurrence : a serious damage or trauma that is generally referred by  the term “near miss”.
  9.  Hazard : referred to something with the ability to cause harm.
  10.  Risk : probability of something that has the ability to cause harm or a hazard.

Therefore, occupational health and safety of workers should be of great significance and value in any area of industry, business and commerce since workers are the foundation of any work field.