Definition of health and safety management
The definition of health and safety management according to The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 is:
- to provide for the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery;
- the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work;
- to establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety; and
- to provide for matters connected therewith.
Health and safety management is an organised and systematic approach to reduce and manage any health or safety hazards by developing and using a health and safety policy or program within your organisation. In other words, an organised framework that identifies, manages and reduces health and safety risks and hazards and increases health and safety compliance.
What are the key elements of a health and safety management system?
The employer should prepare a health and safety policy that is well communicated to everyone in the organisation and which sets a clear direction for management and employees to follow in terms health and safety regulations.
In order to be effective, your organisation’s health and safety risks need to be profiled; employees should be motivated and empowered to protect their health as well as how to work safely; the correct tools and equipment must be provided to do the job properly and safely and health and safety training must be given
Health and safety performance should be monitored and evaluated on a continuous basis against agreed standards. This will show when and where improvement is needed as well as how well the health and safety management system is working.
An organisation’s system must be reviewed continuously so that improvements can be made if necessary to constantly improve the health and safety performance.
Why is it important to have a health and safety management system?
It is essential for ensuring the wellbeing of all your employees. Having set processes for health and safety requirements in the workplace helps to save money, minimises errors or accidents and increases systems efficiencies.
What are the benefits of having a health and safety management system?
- Improved health and safety performance:
All your employees will have a clear understanding of how to handle key activities, whether it’s reporting an incident, responding to an issue, or working through a problem.
- Reduced costs from incidents and accidents:
Without a system to track and monitor incidents or accidents, it will be difficult to reduce the risks faced by your employees. When employees feel that management doesn’t take their health and safety seriously, they’ll be less likely to be productive in their work.
- Improved employee morale and relations:
Health and safety management systems increase employee satisfaction and help to improve staff relations and morale. Employee retention rates and your company’s growth will also increase.
- Improved PR and public image:
Serious health-related injuries and accidents often become public and can cause irreparable harm to a company’s public image. That’s why putting a health and safety management system in place is a sensible precaution to take.
- Insurance premiums could be lower:
Insurance premiums are mandatory in today’s litigation culture, but insurers will offer lower premiums if you can demonstrate that you are effectively controlling risks to your employees on your premises.
- Increased legal compliance:
Whether due to negligence or human error, if you have no health and safety management system in place, the chances of unwittingly committing an offense are quite high. A proper health and safety management system will help your employees stay aware of current legal requirements. This will improve your health and safety compliance as well as lower the risk of you having to pay a fine.
How do you implement a health and safety management system with Absolute Health Services?
We have a team of health and safety practitioners that are able to assist clients in implementing their health and safety requirements in the workplace. The management system is a monthly recurring service offering, where we assist in implementing and maintaining the system, to achieve a positive and compliant health and safety status that is in line with health and safety regulations.
We also offer compliance health and safety training for your health and safety team. Our courses cover first aid, firefighting, evacuation planning, and health and safety representatives and supervisors.
It is clearly recognised that if a company’s health and safety is managed as any other part of a business is managed, in a systematic and planned manner, then there will be success in reducing the associated costs of poor control.