Developing a health and safety system
Last week I was asked to meet with an organisation to talk about providing health and safety support to them. This happens frequently, which is just as well, or I wouldn’t have a business. Why am I writing about this meeting – what was different about it? The difference is that I had first spoken to them a few years ago. Three years ago, we had almost the same conversation. I told them what Safewise could do to support them and they talked about being able to do it themselves. That was the option they chose.
At the time they considered doing it themselves was a cost-effective way to develop and run their health and safety system. There is nothing wrong with developing your own health and safety system. It can be more cost-effective, and it can work very well. There is a lot of information available to assist organisations to do this. You can download the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and you can download templates and forms. You can even download an entire hazard risk register.
What you can’t download is experience, time and knowledge. This organisation had written a reasonably good health and safety system. It was very long and had confused some aspects of the old Health and Safety in Employment Act and the current Health and Safety at Work Act, but overall it was adequate.
What wasn’t adequate was the implementation of the system. The person charged with running health and safety had it tacked onto the end of an already full role. This person had limited knowledge of health and safety and didn’t really know how to drive it, how to excite people about it, how to make it part of the way they work.
Using a consultant can help in all these areas. A good consultant should be able to work with you to help you get the best outcome for your organisation. Maybe they write the system, maybe they provide training, maybe they are a back-up to what you are doing. A good consultant should have qualifications, experience and belong to a health and safety organisation, such as the NZ Institute of Safety Management (NZISM), and, preferably, be on the Health and Safety Association of NZ (HASANZ) register. They should also be someone you connect with.
Go it alone or use a professional – it’s your choice. Remember that a robust, well-implemented health and safety system will save you downtime from injuries or damage. It will ensure you have a plan to stop things going wrong, but will also have a plan for managing the things that do go wrong.
How can Safewise help? We work with organisations that need more health and safety knowledge, or more time, than they have in-house. For more information, check the website.