A Journey

As I said earlier, continual improvement in health and safety is a journey. Hopefully companies will learn and improve as they go and there will not be fatalities in the process.

By improving design and work practices and systems, you can improve in these two areas:

1. Health hazards: Chemical (toxic, carcinogenic, flammable); biological (bacteria, viruses, blood, and mold); physical (noise, temperature, vibration, radiation, lifting); ergonomic (repetitive motion injury); psychosocial (violence in the workplace); psychological (working conditions, fatigue, stress)

2. Safety hazards: Mechanical (machine part guarding, moving parts, ladders, lock-out); other (handling of tools, equipment, working at heights, confined space, falls); special (weather, earthquakes, tornado); fire and explosion (fuel sources)

Measurable objectives, data, and reporting (such as dashboards) provide valuable timely information so decision makers can analyze and improve OH&S performance. When establishing and reviewing the OH&S objectives, take into account the legal and other requirements of the countries in which you operate.

As indicated earlier, some countries do not have standards in place, and no matter where you live, everyone has the right to a safe environment. The organization needs to do a proper risk assessment of the areas in which it is operating, ensuring a high standard of health and safety for all.

A proper management system structure in these countries would ensure that the framework for assessing risks is in place, as well as setting in place controls for these risks. A corrective action process is required to manage nonconformances and is ideal for continual improvement, as it assesses root causes and requires plans of action, which are then verified for completion.


Focus: Health and Safety – Prevention of Injury and Ill Health

1 In what areas has your company improved in occupational health and safety?

a. Design

b. Process

c. Work practices

d. Other

2 What processes do you have in place to manage continual improvement?

3 How often does your board of directors meet to review continual improvement in your organization? How often does senior management meet to review continual improvement?

4 What inputs does top management review for continual improvement?

a. Results of internal audits, compliance audits, third-party registration audits, supplier audits

b. Communication from external interested parties (government, complaints)

c. Review of status of objectives and targets

d. Changing circumstances and laws

e. Recommendations for improvement

f. Status of incident investigations and corrective and preventive actions

5 How has your organization contributed to outside improvement of occupational health and safety?

6 Is your leadership style such that your organization is flexible and has the ability to manage change? Do you have a changemanagement procedure in place?

7 Do your workers participate in identifying opportunitites for continual improvement to prevent injury and ill health? What innovative ideas did they come up with in the last year?

8 What improvements have you made in health and safety in emerging countries?

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