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Effective Change Management for Health and Safety

Blog 47 Effective Change Management

As a Health and Safety Manager or person charged with occupational health and safety responsibilities, you will often have to both initiate and manage change within your company.

Whatever you are looking to change, and whatever the reason for the change. Be it developing and implementing a new safety management system such as ISO 45001, OSHAD Statutory Framework or OSHJ Statutory Framework. Or perhaps implementing any new risk assessment processes or safe ways of working following on from a gap analysis project.

Regardless of the reasons behind the change, change can be very disruptive to a company’s normal operations. This makes ensuring the correct application of your management of change process, and the monitoring of it’s effectiveness, of vital importance.

An effective management of change process is imperative to achieve the health and safety results that you require. Following best pratice as regards change management will also help to ensure that the risks associated with the change, including any additional health and safety risks, are assessed and then controlled.

What could be Reasons for Change for Health and Safety ?

As a Health and Safety Manager internal factors that you encounter that may necessitate change could be as a result of:

  • Periodic review of the companies health and safety documentation
  • Results of an internal audit
  • Results of risk assessments
  • Change in personnel
  • Implementation of a continual improvement programme
  • After an accident or incident

External factors that may necessitate change could be a result of:

  • Feedback from stakeholders
  • Change in other health and safety regulatory and/or legal requirements
  • New technology and/or new international standards
  • Unsatisfactory health and safety system performance
  • Feedback or request for change from an inspection or monitoring agency, such as Ministry of Labour Inspectors, OSHAD or OSHJ Inspectors


First Steps to Take

If you are the person wanting the change – the change initiator – start by clearly identifying the factors that may indicate a need for change. These factors may be internal or external. For health and safety, some specific examples are listed above.

Once identified, a management of change request would then be submitted.

Roles and Responsibilities

Next, look at identifying roles and responsibilities. This is the “who” is responsible for the “what”.

Even when well planned, blocks and setbacks can arise. Involving your colleagues participation from the get go is a powerful tool in ensuring the success of your initiative.

A review and consultation should follow the receipt of a management of change request. With the previously identified personnel reviewing the provided information and requesting any additional information required. That consultation should include all involved parties discussing:

  • The need and intent of the change proposed
  • The effect on the existing health and safety management system and safe ways of working
  • The effect on employees
  • The effect on the company
  • The cost associated with the change
  • If alternatives to the proposed change exist

Undergoing change is not always an easy process, however it is an essential part of any companies development. But, be sure to determine and assess if, and when, change is actually needed.

Creating a Roadmap for Change

Once buy in has been established with your stakeholders, document your strategy. The steps you will take. How you will know if you have been successful in your change.

The success of the management of change process should include consideration of the following:

  • How to monitor assumptions, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment and dis-benefits
  • How to ensure effective communication; informing various stakeholders of the reasons for the change, the benefits of successful implementation as well as the details of the change
  • Effective training on the area of change
  • How to provide information and communication to alleviate any change related fears
  • Monitoring the implementation of the change
  • Definition of measurable stakeholder aims

Gather Data for Evaluation

As you implement your plan for change, some changes will be easier to measure than others. Clear reports on progress help to facilitate communication and measure success.

Communicate !

Open communication will be the golden thread running through your change management programme.

Provide clear lines of communication throughout the transition. Allow colleagues to voice concerns, share success stories as regards what is not working, and make suggestions on what is not.

Monitor and Manage Risk during Change

A major risk to any change management project will be resistance to change. Particularly in the field of health and safety as there will be perceived additional risks associated with change.

Resistance is a normal reaction but can threaten the success of your project if not dealt with correctly. Anticipate and prepare for resistance by getting leadership on side, keeping communication open and being as transparent as possible.

Continuously Monitor, Review and Improve the effected Change

Following the implementation of change, the new process should be included as part of the periodic monitoring and audit process. This ensuring that the change is fully understood, adequately implemented and has not introduced new risks to the existing health and safety management system and processes.



Corporate OHS is a UAE based Health and Safety Consultancy whose HSE Consultants offer expert resources and superior performance to give you greater results.

We specialize in creating cost effective, user friendly solutions aligned to your operations and budget.

Our range of health and safety consultancy services includes;

  • Flexible monthly support packages giving access to HSE services without the burden of permanent costs
  • Long term or project based HSE outsourcing
  • Risk and fire risk assessments
  • Hazard identification and control measure implementation
  • Gap Analysis and audits
  • HSE legal compliance reviews and assistance
  • HSE management system development, implementation and improvement including locally compliant systems such as Abu Dhabi OSHAD, Sharjah OSHJ and/or accredited systems such as ISO 45001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and ISO 50001
  • Accident investigations
  • Business continuity and crisis management

To find out more about our services, please visit our website, send an email to or call  Caroline Savage on 052 566 0949

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