Before a business can identify where it wants to be in terms of health & safety performance it needs to know where it stands right now. Many fail to consider this fundamental starting point; they set a course of action only to find the results not being achieved and then start to question why.
All businesses need to understand what underpins their health & safety performance and not to rely too heavily on the absence of accident/incident data alone. Failing to identify the bigger picture is an all too common approach to health and safety.
So what measures can be used to identify where you are?
- past performance indicators
- risk assessments
- accident records
- incident records
- near miss records
- training records
- staff surveys
- company documents of a similar nature
If you don`t possess the skills in-house to identify where you are, then it’s time to seek competent health and safety advice. However, a word of caution, make sure the consultant you turn to for this advice is competent to provide it; not all consultants will be.
Only once the bigger picture is known, can your business start to effectively plan realistic and meaningful objectives for improvement.
“Must Do” rules to consider when setting targets:
- In line with your health & safety commitments – make sure what you plan to do is in line with your health & safety policy.
- The improvements are realistic– there is no point in setting your self up to fail as this will affect your credibility with your staff, clients and any other interested parties.
- Allocate sufficient resources – make sure you allocate the time and funds to be able to achieve your plans.
- Make them relevant to your operations – once size does not always fit all and if your operations differ from area to area then make sure the targets are relevant to each area If not, then set different targets.
- Make sure you can measure the improvements – setting targets that are either not easily measurable and/or are not cost effective to measure will normally fail.
- Involve your employees – employee buy in is a key factor, but to get this they need to understand why the targets are being set and what contribution they will make. This can be achieved through staff briefings and training.
Clearly every business operates differently but by following these “must do” rules, your business will stand a much better chance of making positive changes to your health & safety performance.