Do you want a successful occupational health and safety strategy? Join us for regular updates on how to improve your workplace health and safety strategy. You will succeed if you have these essential elements! This, is a recipe for success in developing a solid, comprehensive approach to protecting you and your employees from potential workplace hazards. This is all part of working with others to maintain a healthy and safe workplace.

Legal reasons

There are clear legal reasons for effective health and  safety management systems. According to Hughes & Ferrett, (2016) there is clearly a strong moral, economic and legal case  to do more to reduce this unacceptable level of injury  and ill health in the workplace.

Hazard Recognition, evaluation and Control

This is an essential component of any health and safety approach. When asked, most people would say that this is the purpose of a safety strategy. This includes proactive hazard identification in terms of the environment (the workers’ surroundings), the principles of risk assessment, the people doing the work, the equipment/materials used in the work process, and the processes/practices themselves.

Hazards must be controlled once they have been identified and prioritised. Elimination/substitution, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and administrative controls are the generally accepted hierarchy of control.

Workplace design

When something goes wrong, we frequently see failure in this area; in fact, this is almost always the case. Designing for safety in the workplace is just as important as designing for efficiency (and these often go hand in hand). Building regulations/standards, for example, electrical standards, fire access and egress requirements, already do some of this. Other considerations include ergonomics, ventilation, and noise requirements for the anticipated work, equipment and machine safeguarding, materials handling and storage, and the use of automated processes.

Occupational Health

The nature and scope of an occupational health strategy can differ greatly from one company to the next. For example in a healthcare setting the following protocols will apply, pre-employment health evaluations, periodic medical surveillance, injury protocols (including first aid and sharps injury procedures or management of aggression protocols), and medical record maintenance are all common in healthcare settings, as is coordination with other departments when work-related health and safety issues arise.

Coordination of respiratory protection and hearing conservation is typically found within a company’s Occupational Health component strategy.

Training

Training can take many different forms, from online to classroom to hands-on, from general concepts to task-specific. The Irish Health and Safety Authority provide lots of free courses and support for employers. Employees must know what to do to perform their jobs correctly and safely, in addition to the regulatory requirements, The appointment of safety officers and ongoing health and safety training is a significant component of the health and safety strategy for every business. It can start with training programmes such as the IOSH approved  Level 3 Technical Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety for accreditation. Individuals successfully completing the qualification will be eligible to apply for Associate (AIOSH) / Technical (Tech IOSH) membership. This regulated qualification will give your staff the understanding they need to engage and support your appointed Health and Safety officer (which maybe yourself). This is the first rung on the ladder to becoming a Health and Safety Officer.