What does a safety management plan entail
A safety management plan is a company’s overall safety plan that dictates and lays out the company’s Occupational Health and Safety Act strategy. This comprehensive safety plan can be structured in any format and contain any content, but it must entail and cover the important sections and requirements of the OHS Act. Listed below are important sections which should be included in the safety plan:
Health and safety policy
A health and safety policy is developed in order to create a healthy, safe and prepared working environment for the company’s staff, visiting clients, contractors and suppliers. The health and safety policy must be communicated to all employees within the company, who must be made aware of specific and general OHS related content and requirements and the objectives of safety management.
The OHS Act states the following with regards to a Health and Safety Policy:
Section 7 – Health and Safety policy
(1) The chief inspector may direct
(a) any employer in writing; and
(b) any category of employers, by notice in the Gazette, to prepare a written policy concerning the protection of the health and safety of his employees at work, including a description of his organisation and the arrangements for carrying out and reviewing that policy.
(2) Any direction under subsection (1) shall be accompanied by guidelines concerning the contents of the policy concerned.
An employer shall prominently display a copy of the policy referred to in subsection (1), signed by the chief executive officer, in the workplace where his employees normally report for service.
A health and safety policy is a document that shows the company’s commitment to the safety management strategy and safety plan and health and safety in general. The company must ensure that their Health and Safety Policy Statement (1 page document) is signed by the CEO, framed and placed in the reception area of our workplace. This shows commitment to health and safety in the workplace.
The detailed health and safety policy must be published on an internal communication resource platform and be communicated to all employees and relevant external parties. The policy must be reviewed and maintained on an annual basis or if significant organisational changes occur in order to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.
Structures and Organogram
OHS team structures and organograms should be reviewed and updated regularly / every quarter to ensure that there are no non-compliances, vacancies or gaps within the structures and then saved in the safety plan documentation and policies. This review function can be performed by the OHS supervisors or management for each office within the company. The OHS structure in each office location should include an OHS supervisor, OHS representatives, first aiders, fire wardens and evacuation marshals. Once the OHS team members have received their training, they are appointed in writing and sign their appointment letters, which are stored on the employee’s employment file. When the safety management organogram is completed and all employees on the organogram have received the necessary OHS training, as per the agreed safety plan, then the company or department has a thorough health and safety in the workplace structure.
Appointments in a safety management strategy
OHS team member appointments are a critical element of any safety management strategy, as these appointees assist in managing and driving OHS generally and specific matters and challenges. OHS team vacancies should be communicated to all employees in the offices where vacancies exist and employees requested and encouraged to volunteer and forward nominee name for the vacant positions. The company management team should also have input into appointing appropriate staff to attend first aid training, firefighting training, and evacuation planning training, but the OHS representatives must be appointed by fellow employees and not management. To ensure that health and safety in the workplace is implemented, the OHS teams need to be appointed in writing. The OHS team appointment letters should be valid for a two year period, which is in line with the validity period of the OHS training course certificates. The safety management strategy and safety plan is managed and supported, by the OHS team members within the company.
The OHS committee is one of the primary driving forces mandated by the company’s CEO and management team, to assist in developing the safety management strategy, safety plans and successfully managing OHS on behalf of the company. Through communication and teamwork, the OHS committee creates and establishes documents, processes, systems, mechanisms and outputs that contribute to the success of OHS. The success of a OHS management and safety plans is directly related to the success of the OHS committee.
All companies need to send some of their staff on safety management training, this is an OHS Act requirement. Employees must nominate their OHS representatives through a nomination process and the nominated representatives then represent their OHS interests at the quarterly OHS committee meetings. The employer or management may not nominate the OHS representatives. Employees are encouraged to volunteer, or suggest suitable nominees as OHS team members, who are then trained and appointed into the various OHS disciplines, namely First Aiders, Firefighters, Evacuation Marshals and OHS Representatives. Once trained, each OHS team member is appointed in writing and together take an active role in implementing and managing OHS in each office within the organisation. The duration of the OHS training is as follows:
- First Aiders – 2 days;
- Firefighters – 1 day;
- Evacuation Marshals – 1 day;
- OHS Representatives – 1 day;
- OHS Supervisor – 2 days
The OHS training must be completed through a HWSETA and Department of Labour accredited company like Absolute Health Services. This will ensure that the OHS team know how to implement a safety plan and perform their duties correctly and implement health and safety in the workplace.
OHS and emergency equipment must be strategically placed in all the office locations of the entire organisation, to be utilised by the OHS teams in emergency or evacuation drills. This equipment is a critical element of effective safety management. The OHS team members must check the equipment at 3-monthly intervals and ensure that all the equipment such as:
- first aid boxes,
- firefighting equipment,
- evacuation plans,
- loud and clear devices or hailers etc.
are serviced and in a good condition. This equipment may not be tampered with or used unnecessarily by anyone. When the safety plan is developed, there must be funds allocated for the purchase of OHS equipment. This equipment will assist the OHS team in attending to emergencies and ensure health and safety in the workplace is applied.
The OHS Act states the following with regards to a Health and Safety Policy:
Section 15 – Duty not to interfere with, damage or misuse things
No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with, damage or misuse anything which is provided in the interest of health or safety.
What determines the complexity of the safety management plan
Developing the correct and tailored safety management plan
The complexity of the safety plan is determined by some factors of the business, department or organisation, such as:
- Organisational structure and location of the branches and offices – if the business structure is large or has a national infrastructure, then the safety plan needs to accommodate the large structure and service all the office locations. The larger the OHS structure the more challenging successful safety management of that large structure is.
- The type of services offered i.e administrative or industrial – If the business does not operate within a high risk environment, such as an administrative business, then the safety management and safety plan may be simple and easy to implement. However if the nature of the business is high risk such as industrial or mining, then the safety plan needs to be more detailed and complex to address the higher risk factor.
- The number of employees i.e 50 or 1500 – This is similar to organisational structure, as if the organisation is small in staff numbers then there is only a requirement for the safety plan to be small in size and cost. An example of this is with less than 20 staff, there only needs to be 1 person trained in OHS training disciplines such as first aid, firefighting, evacuation marshal and OHS representative.With larger companies of over 100 employees then, for every 50 employees someone needs to be trained in these OHS courses. The safety management team needs to be larger to ensure correct health and safety management in the workplace.
- The financial implications – This is similar to organisational structure and employee numbers, as the larger these elements then the larger the financial budget needs to be to implement a successful safety plan.
The correct procedure for implementing a successful safety management plan.
It is important to follow a procedure or process when implementing a safety management plan. Listed below is an example of such a procedure management or the OHS manager could utilise:
Management must develop the OHS and emergency evacuation policies in consultation with the employees and their OHS representatives. These policies will form part of the safety plan and detail the OHS direction / aims / objectives and commitment to manage the organisation’s safety management correctly, with the view to continual improvement of the policy, safety plan and everyone’s health and safety within the workplace.
To promote a positive safety culture within the organization and determining the roles and responsibilities and resources required to provide for a thorough safety plan and the leadership required to implement effective safety management, use the 4C’s:
- Competency of employees – knowledge, ability, training and experience;
- Commitment and control – allocating responsibilities, accountabilities;
- Co-operation internally and externally – between individuals and clients;
- Communication systems – orally, written, visible or example.
Planning / Implementation
Conduct an initial documented review of the organisation to establish the status of the OHS systems in the organisation and then identify the hazards and risks. Thereafter set safety management objectives and targets and set standards which comply with the OHS Act e.g. design specifications for equipment, products and services, safe systems of work, purchasing policies, emergency procedures etc to achieve the safety management objectives.
Measurement of performance (evaluation)
Develop procedures and systems to monitor, measure and record the safety plans performance, on a regular basis at different levels within the organisation. This can be achieved by “active monitoring” which includes monitoring of organisational achievements to prevent accidents and ill-health e.g. systematic inspections of equipment and premises, or “re-active monitoring” which monitors failures that have occurred e.g. accidents and near misses and dangerous occurrences, enforcement action etc. Through this evaluation the organisation has a benchmark to strive in improving on the health and safety management within the workplace, year by year.
This is the annual review and evaluation of the overall safety management plan by management or the OHS committee, to ensure the performance objectives have been met. There is always room for improvement on the overall safety plan and safety management process when looking after the health and safety in the workplace and wellbeing of all of the employees!