I love it when I am talking to a business owner and we get on the topic of safety. The business owner goes on to tell me that they spent xxx xxx thousands of dollars to have a custom manual built for them. I will ask if I can have a look and it is usually sitting on a desk collecting dust or buried under a bunch of paperwork. It has not been looked at for years and is never up-to-date.

There is a big difference between having a safety manual and having a health and safety management system/programme.  It doesn’t matter how much you have spent on a safety manual for your company if it isn’t being utilized. Using and implementing an effective health and safety system takes understanding, teaching, and learning of what is written and making it a culture. It is a commitment and is forever evolving and growing as your company does.

An effective health and safety management system must have the following 8 components in place:

-Identification and analysis of health and safety hazards at the work site

-Control measures to eliminate or reduce the risks to workers from hazards

-Clearly demonstrated management commitment and written company policy

-Worker competency and training

-Inspection program

-Emergency response planning

-Incident reporting and investigation

-Management system administration

These can be broken down further, but the fundamentals are the same. If you have a manual with all of this, that’s great and you are ahead of most of your counterparts. Now turn it into a management system and start doing what your manual says you will. This will help you prove compliance, due-diligence, build a strong culture and most importantly protect you the most valuable asset in business; your workers!

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