Health and safety is not an add on. It is not an irritating additional cost that needs minimum attention. Maybe there seems to be little risk in a company’s activities. If there has never been any work related accident, is it necessary to bother with health and safety at all?
In a well run company or organization any kind then the health and safety of all employees have to be considered. Therefore, health and safety management is integral to the running of any business. Also with this comes the need for a health and safety plan.
In New Zealand the primary health and safety legislation is the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Under section 7 Identification of Hazards, it clearly states under “Duties of employers in relation to hazard management”, that every employer must systematically identify existing hazards to employees at work. It also states that employees should systematically identify any new hazards at work. Regular assessment has to take place. Assessment has to be made to determine if it is a hazard or not.
Section 25(1) clearly states that if an accident does occur then this must be recorded.
There is a need for a health and safety plan. Legislation now covers small business and the self employed so this may just mean one person taking responsibility for planning. There may be a designated Health and Safety Officer in a larger company. But all employees need to have some understanding of health and safety where they work.
Therefore, there needs to be an understanding of hazard identification. How can this be controlled. This usually takes the form of a risk assessment. In a factory, highly flammable fuels will obviously have a very high risk. But there is also a risk from a trailing power lead to the office computer. All of this needs to be recorded and regularly updated. Some factories and processes may need very sophisticated systems, but for a lot of businesses simple systems are all that are properly needed. Good housekeeping and maintenance routines will reduce a lot of hazards .
To be compliant with the 1992 Health and Safety act, then all companies and public organizations need to have a more thorough understanding of accident reporting and investigation. Combined with this are the important emergency routines. For example, the quickest but safest route to vacate a building in the advent of fire.
Training in general is very important. Health and safety routines should become part and parcel of the routines of any company or organization. The general well being of the work force is also very important. Mistakes and accidents often occur when people are tired. Think of motor vehicle accidents. This also applies to excessive stress in the workplace. Someone who is in a rush, or has too much to do could be thought of as being a risk. Added to this, then there is the position of contractors coming into work on a site. Provision has to be made for them as well.