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It is accepted practice to develop annual plans for sales, marketing, production and all manner of operational activities. All too often, however, we fail to prepare an annual plan to meet our occupational health and safety objectives. Without a concrete plan of action, with specific dates and allocated responsibilities, “Zero Harm” and “Continuous Improvements” are just pious hopes.
A quick perusal of any major newspaper will support the view that the current economic downturn is likely to continue for at least a year or longer. What does this mean for your Occupational Health and Safety programme?
For the employee there are visions of working in their pyjamas, being there for the kids, and no more commuting. For the employer there is the prospect of retaining valuable staff, cutting rental costs, and no more loafing about the water cooler. But both parties have responsibilities under the OHS legislation, and these need to be taken into account when entering into a work from home arrangement.
What if you could look into the future, see what causes your next accident, and fix it now? You can! That’s exactly what you are doing when you conduct a hazard inspection.
Toolbox meetings got their name from the way maintenance or construction employees would sit on their toolboxes while discussing the job they were working on with their supervisor.
A company owner recently asked me how he could ensure that his company’s Occupational Health and Safety programme was complying with legislation, and was meeting current standards and customer requirements. His recent quotes for a supply and installation job with a major builder were rejected because of inadequate safety documentation, and he was keen to get his safety programme up to the expectations of this potential customer.
Quite a few years ago I conducted a statistical survey in Queensland for the Department of Safety that involved reviewing every lost time injury in thirty companies over a period of six months. Over half of all the injuries occurred to employees who had been employed in their current job for less than twelve months.
Many manufacturing companies producing building products often find themselves in a “supply and install” contract. Frequently they handle this situation by sub-contracting the installation side of their business; but they are still responsible for their sub-contractors. Of course, many organisations employ their own installation staff, but tend to leave the site safety to the builder.
The saying “Those who do not learn from their history are doomed to relive it.” has been attributed to many great minds. When it comes to accidents and injuries, it is definitely true.