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Management Responsibility for Safety Management

P&PC is pleased to introduce Safety Matters, a new column focussing on safety at the workplace. Topics will range from safety management and perspectives (by John E. Little, risk management consultant...

July 1, 2002
By Pulp & Paper Canada


P&PC is pleased to introduce Safety Matters, a new column focussing on safety at the workplace. Topics will range from safety management and perspectives (by John E. Little, risk management consultant) to safety alerts and information provided by Herb Tessier (senior consultant with DuPont Safety Resources and coordinator of the safety aspects within PAPTAC’s mechanical engineering and maintenance committee). Readers are encouraged to contribute information and feedback at anyao@businessinformationgroup.ca

To direct efforts Leadership & administrationSet policy, goals, budgets, management
commitment, etc
To identify and/or anticipate all hazards/risks Health, ind. hygiene controlsYou can’t stop what you can’t see. These
to its employees, materials, equipment and Incident reporting, investigation & analysiselements all critical to recognising the hazards
the workplace environment Job analysisthat must be controlled on a worst- first basis.
Planned inspectionsHazards include process chemicals,
Purchasing & engineering controlsequipment, work methods,
Job observationsEmployee/management attitudes
Audits, surveys
To take corrective action by eliminating these By making the necessary changes to theEstablish priorities.
hazards/risks where practical and safety management system element(s)After analysis (technical, financial-roi),
economically feasible. concerned to eliminate the underlying (root)implement the most cost-effective risk
causescontrol solutions
To accommodate these hazards/risks with Safe job proceduresAvoid the exposure to the hazard with safer
proper safeguards Personal protective equipmentwork methods or protectve equipment
To choose the appropriate people Hiring and placementAssess/control possible health risk to
employee of tasks to be performed
To train them to work safely, properly Employee skill/safety trainingProvide employee with necessary knowledge,
& productively Workplace safety rulesinformation and skills to avoid exposures
Personal communicationsand review new risks immediately
To ensure that they maintain standards Planned job observationsVerify employee safe work behaviour,
Group meetingsreview hazard exposures constantly.
To be prepared for all contingencies Emergency preparednessDespite best plans, fires, disasters,
Health & ind. Hygiene controlsinjuries -illnesses occur. Be ready.
To get injured/ill employees back to work Return-to-work procedures,Proper, timely follow up of injured/ill
as soon as possible claims managementemployees can accelerate return to work
To ensure continuous safety performance Performance metricsEvery element of the system should be
measurementmeasured for effectiveness
To maintain good flow of timely, accurate OHS information system,Information is critical to successful safety
information to all concerned documents and recordssystem management, continuous
improvement & optimization
To keep employees on the job by keeping Off-the-job safetyOff-the-job injuries still penalize both
them safe & healthy off-the-jobemployer and employee.
To ensure total accountability of compliance OHS program audit/survey systemAudits and surveys (hygiene, perception)
are essential evaluation tools

Note: This summary was first produced by the author in 1980 when he was with Abitibi-Price Inc. (now Abitibi-Consolidated), as a tool to explain the basics of the International Safety Rating System (ISRS) developed by the International Loss Control Institute Inc. (ILCI) of Georgia, USA. ILCI has since been purchased by Det Norske Veritas(DNV), a well-known global loss management consulting firm. The ISRS formed one of the world’s first comprehensive set of standards for safety management systems. It was used by many employers as a profiling tool to identify strengths and weaknesses in their safety programs. It came in the form of a questionnaire that focused on the safety management process composed of those activities designed to generate the desired safety performance outcomes ( i.e lower lost time accident rates). It emphasized the use of near-miss or close call incidents (vs. lost time injuries) as before-the-fact or pro-active indicators of hazards that allowed management time to take correct action before these hazards led to serious lost time accidents. It stressed that the safety management activities were “upstream” activities designed to prevent accidents.It listed activities and practices used by companies that had established the best safety performance at the time. It set standards for those activites that could then be measured for compliance and effectiveness. It is still in use by thousands of companies world wide. An earlier version of the Management Responsibility summary produced by the author was used by ILCI in its ISRS training course material as a tool to assist participants and management to grasp the principles of the safety management system.

John E. Little is a risk management consultant specializing in safety management optimization technology. He can be contacted at jelittle@solabs.com