A couple of weeks ago we started a series of articles on better managing your first aid systems. We looked at the 3 steps to managing your systems effectively – Plan, Implement and Review.
The final piece of the puzzle, as with any work health and safety plan is review. This week we will look at why this is so important and how it can save your business a lot of trouble.
Is it really so? Review your work health and safety plans
You’ve put in the hard yards. You’ve got a first aid plan that management has approved. You’ve implemented the changes and had regular toolbox talks to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. Your plan is a success, right? Or is it?
To know if your plan is working you need to find out what effect it has had on the workplace. This is when you conduct your review. You compare the situation now to how it was before you made the changes. Depending on what changes you made improvements should be seen in a variety of performance indicators. Broadly speaking there are two types of indicators that need to be considered, namely:
- Negative Indicators – These are events you want to decrease in the workplace. The obvious examples of these are work time lost injuries and near misses.
- Positive indicators – These are events you want to increase in the workplace. Examples of these could be things like maintaining first aid kits, number of toolbox talks or even meeting the target of new first aid officers trained.
So how do we find out if we have improved on these indicators
LOOK AT THE DATA.
The first place to look for information is the data that your workplace collects at all times. This includes:
- Accident and incident reports
- Training records
- Safety meeting and toolbox talk records
It’s not always easy to know what to look for when comparing this information but here are some questions that can help you get a good idea of what is going on:
- For accident and incident reports, how many were there?
- How much work time was lost or could have been lost?
- How does this compare to six months ago? A year ago?
- For safety training, are we meeting or exceeding our targets for the number of people first aid or fire safety trained?
- Has every employee been involved in as many safety meetings or tool box talks as possible?
It’s important not just to take the data at face value. For example, is it a bad thing if reports of near misses are up in the last few months? That will depend on whether reporting has improved, work has increased or more equipment/employees have been engaged.
If you have been working hard on educating your workers about the need to report near misses, it may a good thing that they are getting reported rather than ignored. After all it’s only when you know about something that you can fix it. On the other hand it may be that the same type of near miss is happening repeatedly. This could reveal a weakness in the systems that need fixing or the need for improved training.
The important thing is to look at the data you have collected and look for ways to improve. If you can make specific recommendations to the WHS committee you can work out any needed changes to your work health and safety plan and implement the improvements.
What if you find yourself needing more information about a particular situation in the workplace? The next step is to…
CONDUCT A SURVEY
Another good way to assess your work health and safety performance is to conduct a survey of your workers and how they feel about the effectiveness of your systems. These can range from a broad survey of all workers and their attitudes to a very targeted survey of 2 or 3 workers that may be the only ones performing a particular task.
How big and detailed your survey can be will often depend on the resources you can dedicate to the task. It may not be practical to ask everyone to compete a 100 question survey. You may choose to one ask workers 3 or 4 questions but ask their supervisors more. They are more likely to have the big picture answers you are looking for.
The thought of reviewing your plan and the changes you made may be daunting, however there are many tools out there to help you do an effective job
Tools to help
Here are some free tools to help you effectively review and implement your first aid policy: