1/. Risk Assessment: A Risk Assessment forms the basis of any Health and Safety system. It is a tool which identifies all hazards in the workplace. Once these hazards have been identified they are evaluated to determine the level of risk each one poses and then prioritised according to their risk. Remedial actions, known as control measures, are then determined for each hazard, which can be applied to reduce each hazard to an acceptable level.
2/. SOPs: A safe operating procedure (SOP) is a document which instructs a person on how to perform a task safely. An SOP is closely aligned to each task hazard and so is the first control measure to put into place, in order to lower the risk of the hazard to an acceptable level. More importantly, in the event of an incident, it provides proof of training of employees by the company.
3/. Policies: Policies are the driving documents behind Health and Safety and are Management’s way of endorsing and driving Health and Safety down through the company.
4/. Appointment Letters: Appointment letters play an important part in Health and Safety as they define the responsibilities and accountabilities of persons involved with Health and Safety.
5/. Health and Safety Representatives: Health and Safety representatives play an important role in ensuring Health and Safety in the workplace. In addition to performing workplace inspections, Health and Safety representatives act as communicators between management and employees, communicating Health and Safety concerns in the workplace to management and remedial actions back to employees, which have been taken by management, to reduce Health and Safety risk in the workplace.
6/. Health and Safety Committees: Health and Safety committees play an important role in ensuring Health and Safetyin the workplace. They form the main platform for communication between management and employees. At Health and Safety committee meetings, Health and Safety concerns are discussed and appropriate actions determined. The recording of these meetings forms an important means of validating company actions towards Health and Safety.
7/. Smoking: Smoking has a major impact on any company because of the stringent legislation associated with it. The fines which can be levied for non-compliance, can be avoided by a company simply implementing the basics required by legislation.
8/. Emergency Preparedness: Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of Health and Safety which deals with the preparations a company has made in the event of an emergency on-site. This includes responses to basic medical needs arising to more complex responses, such as the evacuation of the premises due to a fire or other type of emergency.
9/. Contractor Management: Contractor management involves the use and control of contractors on-site. Any person or company who is hired to perform work on a company’s premises becomes the Health and Safety responsibility of the company, just as if they were direct employees of the company. Contractors and their employees may not have the same Health and Safety culture as that of the company and are not aware of all of the hazards associated work performed on the premises. This makes it very important that the company controls contractors and their actions whilst they perform work on-site.
10/. External Training: External training relates to any Health and Safety training which cannot be performed by someone with the necessary skills and competency within the company or who does not have the necessary accreditation.
11/. Internal Training: Internal training relates to any Health and Safety training which can be performed by someone with the necessary skills and competency within the company and which does not require any particular accreditation in order to be conducted.
12/. Hygiene Surveys: Hygiene surveys play an important role in Health and Safety by determining and confirming that the work environment is healthy and safe. Environmental aspects such as lighting conditions, noise areas and air quality may need to be checked and monitored to ensure they are suitable for employees to work to there safely, without any health risks. In environments where hazardous chemicals are in use every day, the need for hygiene surveys becomes even more necessary to ensure healthy conditions are maintained. In cases where hygiene surveys are required, these will need to be reviewed against the risk assessment for the company, since they may form an important control measure aspect.
13/. Medical Surveillance: Medicals and medical surveillance of employees plays an important Health and Safety role in a number of areas. Medicals are required for certain specific work tasks, such as when using a forklift or where work needs to be performed at height. Medical surveillance is important where certain types of chemicals are constantly used or where there may be exposure to chemicals such as lead or asbestos or where there may be employee exposure to extreme heat or cold. In cases where medical surveillance is required, this will need to be reviewed against the risk assessment for the company, since this may form an important control measure aspect.
14/. Inspections: Inspections play an important role in Health and Safety in the workplace as they are used to continuously monitor and assess Health and Safety situations in the workplace as well as identify new hazards arising in the workplace. In addition to inspections being proactive measures in Health and Safety, the recording of Health and Safety inspections forms an important means of validating ongoing company actions in the interests of Health and Safety.
15/. Hazardous Chemical Substances: Hazardous chemicals are commonly found in most workplaces. In addition to companies who work with chemicals on an industrial scale, most companies use cleaning chemicals to ensure hygiene is maintained. These cleaning chemicals are commonly overlooked because they are domestic chemicals. Nonetheless, they are still hazardous by nature and so, must be regarded in the same way that industrial chemicals are. Other chemical aspects which fall under this category include lead and asbestos exposure and the use and handling of compressed and cryogenic gases. This category may also have links with hygiene surveys and medical surveillance and will also need to be reviewed against the risk assessment for the company, since these hazards and their control measures will need to included in the overall risk assessment for the company.
16/. Electrical: Electrical involves any Health and Safety aspects related to electricity and its use in the workplace. This includes electrical installations, electrical machinery and general use of electricity. Electrical installations include existing installations as well as new ones and also applies to any transformers or transformer rooms which may be situated on-site on the company’s premises, whether they are under the company’s control or that of the local municipality. In cases where your company is small and rents part of a larger building complex, these aspects still apply. Although you may not be directly responsible for their functioning and maintenance, you will be responsible for ensuring that you have liaised with the parties that are, since the malfunctioning of these can still affect the safety of your employees.
17/. Machinery: Machinery involves any Health and Safety aspects relating to machinery use, whether it is electrically powered or not. Machinery use will applicable to office and laboratory environments as well as the more common warehouse, workshop and outdoor environments, since equipment such as printers, copiers and laboratory equipment is still machinery which has moving parts with the ability to injure persons if it is not controlled or maintained correctly.
18/. Signage: Signage plays an important role in Health and Safety as it acts as a visible means of creating Health and Safety awareness, warning of particular workplace hazards and assisting persons on actions to be taken in the event of an emergency occurring in the workplace.
19/. Working At Heights: Working at height is considered as any place where, if there are no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance which causes personal injury or worse and is a common major cause of serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace. This category involves all audit questions relating to any work conducted at height. Although many of the questions may relate to the construction work, if you perform any work where height may be involved or if you hire a contractor to perform any height work on your site then any questions present will be applicable to you.
20/. Environmental: Environment relates primarily to Health and Safety aspects which don’t particularly fall into any of the other categories but which affect the health and safety of the workplace environment. Even though they may be miscellaneous they nonetheless include important Health and Safety aspects which need to be attended to.
21/. Construction: Construction generally forms a Health and Safety area on its own. In these cases, the company will find these questions relevant to them. However, there are a number of construction aspects which may apply to other companies from time to time. These include aspects such as work at heights, excavation work, demolition work and use of construction vehicles or mobile plant from time to time.
22/. IODs: Injuries on duty (IODs) form an important part of Health and Safety in the workplace, particularly when employees may have been injured (or worse) in the course of their work duties. The process is an important one which requires constant documentation, communication and feedback to the Department of Labour (DOL), in order to ensure the injury is properly dealt with and closed off. Proper closure of IODs is also important in maintaining a good relationship with the DOL.
23/. ROEs: Return of earnings (ROEs) forms an important part of Health and Safety in the workplace, particularly in respect of establishing a good relationship with the Department of Labour (DOL) and in obtaining your Letter of Good Standing (LOGS), which is commonly required by other companies when you conduct work for them on their premises. In some cases, you may even find that by maintaining a good working relationship with the DOL, your company is eligible for a rebate or reduction in the levies rate.
24/. PPE: Personal protective equipment (PPE) plays an important role in Health and Safety in the workplace as a last means of protecting employees from direct contact with workplace hazards, after all other control measure aspects have been applied.
25/. AIA: Authorised Inspection Authorities (AIAs) play an important role in Health and Safety in the workplace since certain areas of work require external authorities to oversee or approve certain work practices and machinery. Examples where this is true include certain hygiene surveys being approved and certain machinery, such as transportation plants, being approved.
26/. Management System: Management system is a category that is used for questions which are more complex in nature and which require other questions to be answered first before they can be answered completely. For example, a question may ask “Does the company have an effective Health and Safety system in place?” This can not be answered directly as “yes” or “no” since there is not enough information to do so. In order to be answered “yes” or “no”, more information is required and this comes from answering questions making up aspects of this question, such as a risk assessment is in place, appointment letters are in place, Health and Safety representatives form part of the Health and Safety structure, Health and Safety committees are in place and meet regularly, etc. Only once these questions can all be answered “yes” can the initial question be answered “yes”. Where aspects are missing (some questions are “no”), the answer has to be “no” until all these aspects have been addressed.