Policy. Organizations which are successful in achieving high standards of health and safety have health and safety policies which contribute to their business performance, while meeting their responsibilities to people and the environment in a way which fulfils both the spirit and the letter of the law. In this way they satisfy the expectations of shareholders, employees, customers and society at large.

Their policies are cost effective and aimed at achieving the preservation and development of physical and human resources and reductions in financial losses and liabilities. The policies influence all their activities and decisions, including those to do with the selection of resources and information, the design and operation of working systems, the design and delivery of products and services and the control and disposal of waste.

Organizing. Organizations which achieve high health and safety standards are structured and operated so as to put their health and safety policies into effective practice. This is helped by the creation of a positive culture which secures involvement and participation at all levels.

It is sustained by effective communication and the promotion of competence which enables all employees to make a responsible and informed contribution to the health and safety effort. The visible and active leadership of senior managers is necessary to develop and maintain a culture supportive of health and safety management.

Their aim is not simply to avoid accidents, but to motivate and empower people to work safely. The vision, values and beliefs of leaders become the shared ‘common knowledge’ of all.

Planning. These successful organizations adopt a planned and systematic approach to policy implementation. Their aim is to minimize the risks created by work activities, products and services. They use risk assessment methods to decide priorities and set objectives for hazard elimination and risk reduction.

Performance standards are established and performance is measured against them. Specific actions needed to promote a positive health and safety culture to eliminate and to control risks are identified. Wherever possible, risks are eliminated by the careful selection and design of facilities, equipment and processes or minimized by the use of physical control measures. Where this is not possible systems of work and personal protective equipment are used to control risks.

Measuring performance. Health and safety performance in organizations which manage health and safety successfully is measured against predetermined standards. This reveals when and where action is needed to improve performance.

The success of action taken to control risks is assessed through active selfmonitoring involving a range of techniques. This includes an examination of both hardware (premises, plant and substances) and software (people, procedures and systems), including individual behaviour. Failures of control are assessed through reactive monitoring which requires the thorough investigation of any accidents, ill health or incidents with the potential to cause harm or loss.

In both active and reactive monitoring the objects are not only to determine the immediate causes of substandard performance but, more importantly, to identify the underlying causes and the implications for the design and operation of the health and safety management system.

Auditing and reviewing performance. Learning from all relevant experience and applying the lessons learnt are important elements in effective health and safety management. This needs to be done systematically through regular reviews of performance based on data both from monitoring activities and from independent audits of the whole health and safety management system.

These form the basis for self-regulation and for securing compliance with sections 2 to 6 of the HSWA. Commitment to continuous improvement involves the constant development of policies, approaches to implementation and techniques of risk control.

Organizations which achieve high standards of health and safety assess their health and safety performance by internal reference to key performance indicators and by external comparison with the performance of business competitors. They often also record and account for their performance in their annual reports.

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