Occupational Health & Safety Management

Taylor & Taylor are specialists in improving occupational safety performance and do so by addressing a variety of aspects, including Behavioural Safety, Safety Leadership, Employee Engagement, Cultural Change and by putting in place a structure or system (a Safety Management System or SMS). We can empower clients to lead their organisation to Safety, a place of zero harm, safe efficient production and increased quality that provides a return on investment and increased profitability.

Workplaces are often very dangerous places to be in and all to often the job itself may be hazardous, compounded by other hazards present including the environment, untrained employees, poor supervision, chemicals, moving machinery, bad weather and so on. Creating a sustainably safe workplace is unachievable by simply producing more rules and procedures, attending more training courses or by shouting and cursing at an employee who is not wearing his or her Personal Protective Equipment (someone broke a safety rule then?). Taylor & Taylor can show you how to identify and anticipate hazards and at-risk behaviours, and to, in effect, see an accident scenario for real before it happens and to be able to implement proactive strategies to prevent the accident ever happening.

It is about putting an effective safety culture in place, Taylor & Taylor can empower you to do just that.

Safety Culture

An active safety culture with visible leadership and commitment is essential to the continuing success of improving Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S). A safety culture is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behaviour that determine commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organisation’s health and safety management and is one where employees, leaders and contractors demonstrate their commitment to safety even when they not under scrutiny. It’s the ‘walking the talk’ and the ‘way we do things around here’ (even when no one is looking). 

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Creating a culture of safety is by no means a quick and easy task. It requires strategic leadership (courageous leadership), planning, commitment and stakeholder buy-in. At the centre of a successful culture of safety there needs to be a Safety Management System (SMS) that collects and analyses relevant data, and actively disseminates safety information.

Employees must be engaged with the company or organisation so that they willingly and confidently report safety concerns without fear of blame or retribution, must know that their confidentiality will be maintained and that the information they submit will be acted upon, lest they decide that there is no benefit in their reporting.

Organisations have to be able to learn from their mistakes and make changes. This will require the organisation and the employees to be able to adapt effectively, according to demands and changes within their environment.

In the event of an unintentional unsafe act or error being committed, employees, leaders and contractors should know that they will be held to account and not punitively acted against or punished. Where acts of deliberate recklessness or unjustifiable risks are taken, it must be understood that robust disciplinary action against those perpetrators will be actioned. The safety culture will then be informed, engaged, reported on, one of learning, flexible, just and successful.

iStock 000020926324SmallBehavioural-Based Safety coaching plays an important role in addressing safety behaviours, attitudes, beliefs and myths. In a systematic approach, the coach observes the behaviours of an individual (an operator, a supervisor etc.) and then provides constructive feedback related to the observations. It is useful to perform the observations with a copy of the job procedure and a workplace observation checklist. Safety coaches will support the safe behaviours they witness and provide encouraging, non-confrontational feedback regarding any at-risk behaviour observed. Reports should be produced, data analysed to identify any behaviour that requires priority attention and suitable interventions put in place to address them. Intervention design should include the workforces who were under observation so as to create ‘ownership’ and aid the process of mind-sets rejecting unsafe acts and behaviour in favour of safe behaviour as being the norm.

Safety Leadership

Leadership is central to a successful safety culture. Leaders must set and demonstrate the highest standards, standards that are to be demanded from employees and contractors who are to be lead or influenced. Demonstration of low standards of safety behaviour by leaders will be detrimental to improving safety performance and any improvement in the safety culture.        

By ignoring low (no communication) standards, leaders, employees and contractors are in effect approving them. Communication of the actions and standards demanded by safety leadership can be conveyed by words, actions and silence.

Safety leadership should ensure everyone in the organisation is trained to do their job in a safe and competent manner, that Risk Assessments, Job Hazard Assessments and risk reduction actions are performed and controls in place. When leaders, employees and contractors are proactively looking for hazards, the organisation will then be approaching a new level of safety that is behaviour driven. Employees have the right to refuse unsafe work, though most don’t know it, therefore, a communication exercise would be necessary.

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A ‘Dare to Intervene’ message and philosophy should be adopted by all organisations, in an effort to stop unsafe acts and prevent accidents and injuries.

All the elements of a safety culture must be actively encouraged and demonstrated by presidents, CEOs, VPs, managers and leaders on a regular basis to reinforce and encourage all employees and contractors to participate in achieving, maintaining and improving the culture of safety.

Doing so will entail leaving the comfort and relative safety of cosy offices, donning the safety gear and going out to meet and engage with the workforce, even if there is inclement weather and the workforce are a long trudge away and deep underground at the coal face, or in the smelter plant or laying new rail tracks 400 miles away on a mountainside in a blizzard.

Safety Management System (SMS)

At the centre of success in OH&S is a Safety Management System (SMS) that provides the dynamic energy needed to ensure that the system provides a continuous cycle of improvement as required. Driving the SMS and seeking to obtain continued improvements in safety performance can only be achieved by leadership, on-going commitment, creating and maintaining a culture of engagement and by setting a good example for all to follow.

iStock 000009460868SmallAn SMS is not - contrary to popular belief, a computer system or programme. An SMS is a management tool for the management of safety by an organisation or company. The implementation of an SMS framework should be commensurate with the size of the organisation or company and the complexity of the services provided. In creating an SMS and setting standards for safety and compliance in the organisation, adopting international standards for safety, quality and environment management will provide the framework, clarity and rigour, thereby delighting auditors and prospective clients, and the scrutiny of legal parties and insurers.

The standards are BS 18001 (ISO 45001) for OH&S, ISO 19001 for Quality and ISO 14001 for Environmental management. 

The journey to ISO accreditation in all three standards will be more than paid for in branding, market share and prestige returns. 

An SMS will provide an efficient, systematic and coordinated resources structure to identify hazards and control risks throughout different areas in the company or organisation. It permits the coordination of processes and people, and establishes that the risk controls in place are fully functional and effective.

An SMS also provides for goal setting, planning and measuring safety performance. When applied and integrated appropriately, the SMS becomes part of the culture and the way people believe, behave and do their jobs. 

Whilst there are often safety initiatives in place and underway in companies, they tend to be disparate (even if good-intentioned) and not part of a holistic, strategic and coordinated approach to managing safety and reducing risks. These separate individual or group initiatives can be perceived as cumbersome, confusing and impractical, undertaken for formality and not for genuine assessment of behaviour or performance. 

Therefore, an SMS is the ‘anchor’ point that gives people throughout the organisation a core foundation and focus, and creates a learning environment for on-going safety awareness, performance and, with effective leadership and supervision, an SMS can be successful and achieve results that secure and maintain a culture of safety.

Safety Gap Analysis

Most companies and organisations will have some sort of system whereby OH&S is managed, for better or worse. The system utilised will be an SMS in one form or another and may or may not be delivering meaningful or desired results. This is where it would be prudent to call Taylor & Taylor and engage us to conduct a Safety Gap Analysis of the SMS and overall safety performance. The Safety Gap Analysis will identify differences between a company’s existing processes and practices against regulations, standards and performance and the requirements of an effective SMS.

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The analysis report will contain sufficient information to explain what was done, when and by whom; and identify current strengths and weaknesses in safety management compared to the future requirements of an SMS. It will identify the presence (or absence) of documented policies and procedures, and their functionality in practice. The completed report will guide the production of an SMS implementation plan.

Competence Development

The essence of competence is in the relevance to the workplace. It is important that there is a proper focus on both the risks that occur most often and those with serious consequences.

Competence is the ability for every President, CEO, VP, manager, leader and employee/contractor to recognise the risks in operational activities and then apply the right measures to control and manage those risks.

Compliance with legislative requirements should be regarded as the minimum acceptable standard. Truly effective health and safety management requires competency across every facet of a company or organisation and interwoven through each level of the workforce. There is the need for health and safety training to place greater emphasis on competency and coaching so that every President, CEO, VP, manager, leader and employee/contractor alike are able to determine what is sensible and reasonable. It is also important that the Learning & Development function embeds the basic understanding of risk as a life skill in their interventions so that new people joining the workforce are more risk aware.

Taylor & Taylor can deliver your safety management solutions. We are also able to conduct risk assessments, produce job hazard assessments, deliver on-site project safety management, provide legislation updates and interpretations, develop emergency response plans, assessments, and drills, conduct incident/accident investigations, deliver safety-focused coaching, conduct safety culture surveys and analyse data to extrapolate the cost of an accident and a lost time incident.

Contact Taylor & Taylor Consultants if you'd like further assistance with any aspect of Occupational Health & Safety.