Operational Control

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

Establish, implement, monitor, measure, and maintain with change management control of functions, activities, and processes associated with hazards to manage occupational health and safety risks.

Emphasis on financial reporting alone distracts top management from ensuring that operational controls are in place and functioning. Many business failures have identified insufficient controlled risks at the operational level that have caused problems before the financials were even prepared.

Top management leads by creating and promoting a safe workplace, by ensuring that process activities that were identified to have hazards and risks or health and safety legal requirements have clear roles and responsibilities tied to operations, as that enables a business to function effectively and efficiently in its activities, products, and services.

Internal operational controls support the organization's objectives in managing its occupational health and safety risks, while complying with regulations and organizational policies.

Operational controls may be in the form of operating procedures, change management, controls related to purchased goods, equipment, and services, controls tied to contractors and other visitors, preventative maintenance, etc., which contribute to the prevention of pollution.

All employees can take a leadership role in health and safety. As well, there needs to be adequate field supervision to provide prompt feedback to employee concerns.

The organization ensures that the hazards not only within the organization but also outside the workplace that are capable of adversely affecting the health and safety of persons under the control of the organization within the workplace are considered not only when establishing and implementing its occupational health and safety management system but also when it is maintained. An organization needs to look at its design and development of new projects and facilities, its ongoing operations, and maintenance and change management activities.

Controls are put in place for prevention of injury and illness through operational controls. When determining controls, OHSAS 18001 outlines the following hierarchy: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, signage/warnings and/or administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.

Inspections aid in critical examination of the workplace by identifying and recording hazards for corrective action. Your joint occupational health and safety workplace committee can help plan, conduct, report, and monitor your inspections.

You may also include environment as part of your health and safety when doing inspections. When doing inspections it is helpful to view them by the process areas, by utilizing plant floor plans and drawings and understanding the main risks to inspect within that process area.

The use of photographs assists in reviews of hazards in operations. It is critical to have the details outlined properly in the reports, showing exact locations, situations, and characteristics. Monitoring and followup should be done from these inspections to ensure timely corrective actions are in place and to see if there are any trends that need to be addressed.

Your maintenance department is very aware of what operations require attention. They can provide feedback and input for equipment and process changes or requirements.

Research can be done on the types of typical hazards that apply to occupational health and safety and to your industry. Some studies indicate that the greatest injuries are sprains and strains. Your company can investigate any applicable injuries your company has had and look to areas to improve the use of alternate equipment, methods, or processes.


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

1 What operational controls are in place for purchased goods, equipment, and services? First, is consideration given to potential health and safety risks prior to purchasing work equipment? Do(es):

a. Chemical purchases have material safety data sheets.

b. New work equipment complies with the relevant legal requirements for safe design and construction.

c. New equipment has manuals for safe installation, use, and maintenance

2 Have you put any of the following controls in place?

a. Replaced a substance with a less hazardous substance

b. Used mechanical aids to reduce or eliminate manual handling

c. Adapted work areas by adjusting height tables or chairs (ergonomics)

d. Safeguarded machinery (switches that turn off the machine if someone tries to gain access to dangerous areas – adequately placed for use)

3 What results related to your facility did your insurance report outline? How do they compare to the results from internal audits and inspections?

4 What controls do you have in place for the following risks?

a. Hazardous materials

b. Fire

c. Radiation

d. Electric shock, electrical awareness, electrical control, lockout/tag out

e. Working at heights (fall arrest, elevated power platforms)

f. Confined space

g. Cranes and hoists

h. Machine guarding

i. Psychosocial

j. Health (noise, respiratory, dermatitis)

5 What operational controls are in place for the following?

a. Change management

b. Contractors

c. Visitors

d. Preventative maintenance

6 What input has your maintenance department given for improvement in operational controls for safety?

7 What input has your quality department given for improvement for operations?

8 What input have your contractors given for improvement for operations?

9 What was the most innovative change made in production or service provision at the company in the last year for health and safety?

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