What separates a good company from a great one when it comes to health and safety performance? Hint: It is what comes after the main duties that matters. Having a health and safety manual is a great start, and performing inspections, investigations, and meeting with your Joint Health and Safety Committee continues the progress. But many organizations do not take the next step, and that is where the real improvements are made!
Follow-up is the key to success:
• After an inspection, take the time to list possible solutions, assign a responsible person/party, and a target completion date for each action.
• Emergency plans are important, but how do you know they will work in an emergency? Test the system with drills, identify any deficiencies and corrective actions required to improve the plan.
• Daily and formal hazard assessments identify hazards and controls, but it does not end there. Controls must be used in the workplace to prevent an incident. Supervisors should observe the work and make sure controls are in place and being used by their workers.
• Incident or near-miss investigations can seem daunting. Describe the incident, list possible causes, then identify potential solutions for the causes. Finally, identify a responsible person/party and a target date for each solution.
The final step in the process is checking back periodically to ensure items are being completed and documented. Management is demonstrating their commitment to health and safety by ensuring the actionable items are closed out and are effectively controlling the identified hazards and deficiencies.