I was recently called by a distraught employer who had an unfortunate accident. In light of this event, I decided to write a simple memo and a 3 item check list that could prevent many workplace accidents in SMEs.
#1. How recently have you reviewed and updated your Safety Statement and health and safety communication to all employees? What has changed? Who knows what is in the old Safety Statement and do employees discuss overall safety reviews and leadership?
#2. Are there adequate records and refreshers for all employees in the area of Employee Training and Competence; do the managers and supervisors know how to manage safety? Does everybody have an up-to-date training record covering equipment / plant / vehicles / tasks / maintenance / materials and normal and emergency duties.
#3. Are the Hazard assessments, associated resources and control systems (e.g. fire safety / exits / PPE) up-to-date and functional. This depends on the complexity and risks of your organisation and work locations. Offices may be low risk but still require basic fire safety, lighting & electrical systems. Distribution, retail and logistical activities require manual handling, equipment and fleet safety controls. While manufacturing, workshops, processing, construction, entertainment and associated activities will have more detailed Risk Assessments, training and control systems.
When reviewing the above three items do not make an assumption that all is fine and has been the same for a number of years. Take a view based on a recent intern or work experience perspective. Was that person adequately aware and protected in your business? Is your “safety at work” programme limited to one person or one type of document or training situation? If so, that may not be adequate - review or draft a plan and do something to refresh and expand the 3 items detailed above.