HSE Management Systems for Beginners

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HSE Management Systems for Beginners

At Corporate OHS we are often approached by companies, both small and large, who have either poor or non existent health and safety risk management systems, procedures, processes or policies in place.

Usually, these companies approach us at a time when this lack of system has caused a very large issue within their business – there may have occurred an accident or incident, sometimes of a seriousness that the Police and Courts have become involved and a criminal case is underway.

Other times, we are approached when a company has received notice that they are barred or disqualified from the tendering process of an exciting potential contract which they have felt sure that they were aligned to win, due to their lack of demonstrable health and safety management system.

We have also been approached when a client has lost out on a contract renewal with an existing client that they have held for many years. Operations may have gone well, but, unbeknown to the company their clients Procurement division have strengthened their own risk management procedures and are now actively auditing and robustly managing their supply chain and contractors – meaning that the company no longer meet the minimum required criteria as a supplier of goods or services.

But what stops companies from approaching their health and safety risk management proactively ? I often think that it is the “fear” factor due to a lack of awareness of what a Health and Safety Management system comprises and what it looks like. Below I have outlined the basics for beginners:

What is a Health and Safety Management System ?

An Occupational Health and Safety Management System is a framework that allows an organisation to consistently identify and control it’s risks, reduce the potential for incidents or accidents, help achieve compliance with health and safety laws and continually improve the companies business performance

What does a Health and Safety Management System comprise of ?

The key elements of a successful safety and health management system are:

  • A policy which outlines the companies general approach to health and safety and is signed by the top management, showing the companies commitment to health and safety risk management
    Planning is a key step in the management of health and safety risk. A first step in developing the system will be to conduct risk assessments; identifying the hazards that are present within a companies operations and activities, who could be harmed, how they could be harmed, to what severity and what the likelihood could be
    Control measures would then be implemented into the companies operations, eliminating or reducing the risk of the hazards occurring, These are commonly referred to as “Safe Operating Procedures” or “Safe Systems of Work”
  • Core elements of the system would set out the procedures necessary to decide important issues such as; roles and responsibilities within the organisation, how health and safety will be communicated, procedures to measure or assess safety performance
  • The system will also contain all the necessary forms, checklists and registers needed to utilize the system, such as; training attendance and review forms, incident investigation forms and non-conformance notifications
  • Processes will also be written within the system to review the companies health and safety performance along with the audit and continuous improvement of the system

What else could my Health and Safety Management System do ?

Among other things, some examples of further uses of the health and safety management system could be to:

  • Effectively manage contractors performance and risks associated with their work activities
  • Develop selection and supply procedures which incorporate health and safety risk management into the procurement process
  • Develop emergency procedures for the company including evacuation drills
  • Perform training needs analysis and assess the need for further health and safety staff training

 Where can I learn more about health and safety management systems ?

A good health and safety course, such as the accredited NEBOSH International General Certificate, will give you a solid grounding and knowledge of health and safety management systems

Further information can be found on websites such as: The UK Government HSE Departments website Health and safety management systems (hse.gov.uk), the International Standards Organisation ISO – ISO 45001 — Occupational health and safety or OSHA, the United States Department of Labour Home | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

An addition to project based work, such as developing, implementing, maintaining and improving HSE management systems, Corporate OHS also offers the option of a flexible contract and a monthly retainer, meaning your company gets immediate access to specialized HSE services without the burden of a permanent cost. For enquiries or to find out more about our services, please visit our website or send an email to enquiries@corporateohs.com.

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