Here at MiSAFE Solutions, we have developed many customised Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Management Systems as part of our service offerings. One system we completed recently was for a school in North Brisbane. This client didn’t just call us to do all the work for them. They understood that writing an effective Health, Safety and Environment Management System takes time and resources. Let’s look at an effective way that this might be approached by a quality OHS service provider:
To start a project like this, an OHS provider should first get to know the organisation and who its stakeholders are. After the requirements gathering process is completed, the system can be developed for the client. Close communication will be maintained with that client throughout the document creation process. The next step is to communicate the new OHS Management system to relevant stakeholders in the client’s workforce, then implement the system over a fair time period; say 12 months. Throughout that period, reviews and updates can be made to the system to ensure it is well received in the field. After the test period is over, the OHS Management System itself can be audited to measure its effectiveness in the field and the system can be finalised and rolled out from there. Of course that’s just the beginning, but that’s the story of a whole other blog!
When you look at writing your own organisation’s Occupational Health & Safety Management System, do you go straight to Google and key in a number of keywords until something works? Are you looking for a templated system written as a Word document where all you need to do is change some details to match your company’s scope of work and contacts? Once you’ve filled in all of the relevant placeholders in your documents, you’re off and running, right?
Well,… not exactly. If the Occupational Health & Safety Management System is not adequately understood and implemented, it will be placed on the shelf to gather dust and never be used. Avoid wasting your money on templated systems and consider these important points first before you embark on a new OHS Management System:.
1. Time required to complete the document
Time is money! Writing an effective and user-friendly system does take time. Even if you have purchased a templated Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems document, be wary of thinking it will be as simple as performing a find and replace for all the placeholders, and a quick change of the branding.
Writing a quality OHS Management System requires a lot of thought and understanding – not just about your company’s practices, but also about legislation, relevant standards and codes of practice.
Also consider that the size and complexity of your operations may influence the level of detail you need to give when writing your new management system. This cannot be taken into account by a free online template.
2. Human Resources
Matching the right resources to important projects is crucial to the success of any business. Think about your resourcing capabilities and current workloads when you decide to develop your own Occupational Health & Safety Management System. If the personnel you allocate to developing the system are not adequately qualified and already have enough on their to do list, then your new system may fail. Ensure that the person or persons seconded to write your OHS Management Systems are adequately trained, have authority to go and speak to others within the business without being ignored, and are provided with the right tools to ensure the systems are written professionally. This increases the likelihood that they will be effectively implemented in the field.
3. Audience for the OHS Management System
Some companies download templated OHS Management Systems simply to win a tender, or for the purpose of compliance and nothing else: ‘Yes we have an Occupational Health & Safety System in place’. The image you portray by submitting your OHS System for a tender is extremely important. If your new system looks exactly like you’ve purchased it online and doesn’t at all appear like a user-friendly (or user-useful) system, then your chances of winning the tender could be drastically reduced. Let’s not also fail to mention how impotent a system it will be if it fails to keep its real intended audience (your workers) safe.
4. Manner of implementation
Why would you write a new OHS Management System without implementing it? Consider doing some test runs with the systems you’ve written first before you start rolling out the new system. Once you’ve written it, you will need to communicate it to your workforce to ensure they get it and will use it. Planning and incorporating this step well could be the difference between successful uptake or relegation to the ‘too hard’ basket…along with all of the associated, and now wasted, costs.
5. Cost of hiring a skilled OHS Consultant to facilitate the process
This will certainly take the headache out of your document development. Ensure whoever is hired is qualified to the standard you require and has industry experience. Alternatively, seek out recommendations from your industry peers. It is difficult to ascertain the exact cost of having a consultant on board without a comprehensive scope of works. Some clients of MiSAFE Solutions ask us to simply source a templated Health, Safety and Environment Management System and tailor it to their business needs. This can be a very cost effective method of developing management systems documents, but can fall short of being relevant and user-friendly to the business’s requirements. The crude figures of hiring a consultant fall anywhere between $1200 and $100,000 (ex-GST). But what price can you put on safety? This will be the framework for your entire approach when it comes to keeping your workers safe. A quote is free, so there’s no harm to anyone in asking. And if MiSAFE Solutions is where you’d like to start, call us today on +61 7 5641 2101 or +61 400 977 769 for your obligation free quote. Our consultants are tertiary trained and experienced in a wide range of fields both within and outside Australia.