It should be tailored to your specific business, and must include the following key elements:
1. Health and safety policy
2. Organizational structure and responsibilities
3. Risk assessment
4. Safe systems of work
5. Training and awareness
6. Monitoring and review
7. Emergency preparedness and response
8. Incident investigation
9. Improvement of your management system
The new Health and Safety Act place a legal duty of care on South African businesses to take all necessary steps to ensure the health, safety, and welfare at work of their employees – including protection from environmental health risks. To manage this risk effectively, you must have a comprehensive management system.
The implementation of an effective health and safety management system can provide many benefits, including:
– Reduced sick leave due to work-related injuries – Better commitment from employees who understand their responsibilities – Improved morale among employees – Increase in productivity at the workplace – Improved business performance through reduced insurance premiums, claims, and improvement in ratings – Improved image with regulators, clients, and the public.
– Reduced risk of damage to equipment due to stress-related conditions – Reduction in legal claims for damages resulting from accidents at work – Reduction in large scale incidents which could lead to production downtime or harm third parties
– An opportunity to improve your organization’s relationships with its stakeholders through better communication – Fewer post-accident investigations (and therefore lower insurance premiums)
To ensure that your staff is well trained and aware of the importance of their safety at work, you should include health and safety training as part of your induction process for new employees. This will help to ensure high levels of awareness about the importance of personal safety on the job, as well as the need to follow all safe work procedures. You should also conduct regular refresher training sessions throughout the year and ensure that your employees receive safety messages and updates through newsletters and internal memos.
To guide you through the process of developing your health and safety system, we have developed a step-by-step guide to help you understand how to implement an effective risk management system for your business. The first step is to develop your health and safety policy statement.
1. Developing your Health and Safety Policy Statement
A health and safety policy statement provides a framework for your organization to develop a comprehensive management system.
A clear, well-communicated statement is important as it will establish the roles and responsibilities of those involved in developing and implementing your management system.
The policy should include strategies that establish how you intend to meet your obligations towards employees under the health and safety legislation.
Three key areas should be included in your health and safety policy statement:
a) Leadership commitment – Why is this important?
b) Risk identification – What are the hazards associated with my business or industry?
c) Risk management – How will I manage them?