How are we doing? Actively monitoring your safety

In the previous blog we looked at the first two steps of Worksafe New Zealand‘s risk management framework and how your smartphone could be the next big risk management tool. In this blog we will discuss how to actively monitor your safety procedures and how to review them so that the health and safety of your team is always being improved and considered.

Step 3 – Check: Monitor the control measure

You have written your health and safety documents and filed them, however Health and Safety is not just documentation it is something that should be considered every day.  You should check that the measures you put in place are being used by your workers.  Are they wearing their PPE, using the hazard identification and risk mitigation methods?  How you monitor your team is up to you but you will probably use some or all of the following:

  • Inspections, observations and walk-throughs
  • Meetings and worker feedback
  • Checklists and audits
  • Independent reviews
  • Monitoring e.g. using alarms on machinery or checking noise levels

Safety should be being talked about every day.  At your morning meetings you might have a simple checklist with questions that can answered Yes or No, and be completed on your tablet or smartphone.  A robust system will allow results to be emailed to site management so they know that their team are thinking about safety daily.

A typical Toolbox talk form might have six simple questions:

  • Any new procedures to discuss?
  • Any new issues on the site?
  • What is todays work plan?
  • Does todays work plan introduce any new safety issues, if so, what are they?
  • Have any new people been inducted into the site?
  • Has everyone read and signed the Hazard ID?

Step 4 – Act: Review for continuous improvement

You should review your work activities on an ongoing basis to identify any new risks that might need to be managed.  A review will also mean looking at things that went wrong.  All incidents should be treated as learning experiences. At a minimum these questions should be asked:

  • What went wrong?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What can be done to prevent it happening again?

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Monitor your Health and Safety

Incidents need to be recorded quickly and easily.  Photos can be uploaded to show issues clearly or injuries that may have occurred. Accurate, on time reporting is often the key to preventing things happening again.  With this information available processes can be reviewed and altered if required.

Good documentations does not automatically lead to good on site health and safety; however it is the key to monitoring safety.  Call the SiteApp team now and find out how Siteapp can can create your day to day safety checklists or record incidents. By helping to streamline your health and safety processes Siteapp gives you more time to focus on minimising the risks in your business.

Your smartphone – a new tool for risk management

A change in legislation in April 2016 means new Health and Safety responsibilities for everyone in the workplace. The new law is aimed at reducing the number of serious work-related injuries and deaths in New Zealand.  The government wants this legislation to ensure that everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.  The introduction of this legislation has caused some confusion, however in essence it is about risk management.  Usually a business will not be able to eliminate all its risks but where they can’t be eliminated they do need to show that they have taken steps to minimise those risks.

Worksafe New Zealand has some great tools online to help you manage the risks.  In this blog we will discuss the first two steps of their risk management framework.

Step 1 – Plan: Identify and assess the risks

You walk around the work site.  You write a list of things that could seriously harm the health or endanger the safety of your workers and others (e.g visitors, bystanders, or contractors). These problems could be immediate or occur over a long period of time (RSI).  What do you do next?  You write them on a board or on a sheet of paper and file it; but are words always the best way to identify a risk?  In the age of smartphones, this is where a quick snap of the problem can help. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words.  By adding photos to a job specification your workers and contractors can see what the hazards are even before coming on site.

Now you have to prioritise the risk, here there are two things to consider:

  • the likelihood of exposure to that risk, i.e. how many people are exposed, how often etc, and
  • potential consequences of exposure to the hazard, i.e. whether serious injury may result.

By asking two simple questions and using a risk matrix assessment a “risk rating” can be given to each hazard. Where exposure is more likely and the potential consequences more severe the risk rating is higher.

Step 2 – Do: Eliminate or minimise the risks

How can this risk be reduced?  Include some hazard control measures and then reassess whether they have reduced the risk to acceptable levels.

Hazard control measures may include:

  • Eliminating the hazard or task totally.
  • Isolating the hazard by using barriers or distance e.g. put barriers up to keep the general public outside the danger zone.
  • Using engineering controls such ventilation to remove dust or fumes
  • Establishing safe work practices, such as restricting access to the area and keeping the areas clutter free.
  • Providing training and supervision at an appropriate level.
  • Providing the correct personal protective equipment and ensuring it is worn.

Taking photos of work site hazards may not be as interesting as taking “selfies”, but using the camera on your smartphone or tablet and Siteapp has the potential to reduce risk and make work site hazards more visible to your workers and contractors.

Keep work sites clean to reduce risk

Risk management can be as easy as taking a picture with your phone.

What jobs put your team at higher risk?  Siteapp uses colour coding for easy identification of high risk jobs. Call today and find out how Siteapp can simplify your risk assessment and keep your team in the green safe zone.