Effective health and safety policies set a clear direction for the organisation to follow. They contribute to all aspects of business performance as part of a demonstrable commitment to continuous improvement. Responsibilities to people and the environment are met in ways which fulfil the spirit and letter of the law. Stakeholders' expectations in the activity (whether they are shareholders, employees, or their representatives, customers or society at large) are satisfied. There are cost-effective approaches to preserving and developing physical and human resources, which reduce financial losses and liabilities.
An effective management structure and arrangements are in place for delivering the policy. All staff are motivated and empowered to work safely and to protect their long-term health, not simply to avoid accidents. The arrangements are:
- Underpinned by effective staff involvement and participation; and
- Sustained by effective communication and the promotion of competence which allows all employees and their representatives to make a responsible and informed contribution to the health and safety effort.
There is a shared common understanding of the organisation's vision, values and beliefs. A positive health and safety culture is fostered by the visible and active leadership of senior managers.
There is a planned and systematic approach to implementing the health and safety policy through an effective health and safety management system. The aim is to minimise risks. Risk assessment methods are used to decide on priorities and to set objectives for eliminating hazards and reducing risks. Wherever possible, risks are eliminated through selection and design of facilities, equipment and processes. If risks cannot be eliminated, they are minimised by the use of physical controls or, as a last resort, through systems of work and personal protective equipment. Performance standards are established and used for measuring achievement. Specific actions to promote a positive health and safety culture are identified.
Performance is measured against agreed standards to reveal when and where improvement is needed. Active self-monitoring reveals how effectively the health and safety management system is functioning. This looks at both hardware Successful health and safety management Page 8 of 98 Health and Safety Executive (premises, plant and substances) and software (people, procedures and systems) including individual behaviour and performance. If controls fail, reactive monitoring discovers why by investigating accidents, ill health or incidents which could cause harm or loss. The objectives of active and reactive monitoring are:
- To determine the immediate causes of sub-standard performance; and
- To identify the underlying causes and the implications for the design and operation of the health and safety management system.
Longer-term objectives are also monitored.