Start the New Year by getting Health and Safety right…

At Complisafe, we often get lots of calls in January regarding Health and Safety Services such as training, risk assessments, audits and inspections from companies wanting to get off to a good start for the arrival of the new year. This is good news and can really benefit everyone within a business if the right approach is taken.

The thing is, Health and Safety is never done, it’s a constant, whether we like it or not. It also needs to be managed like every other business function (operations, finance, sales and marketing, research and development for example) in terms of having a plan, direction, organisation, resources, performance, targets, checks and balances and audits.

By taking a look at the below model Plan, Do, Check, Act we can apply most of this to any department.

Plan - Do - Check - Act

Policy, Organisation and Risk Profiling

A Health and Safety Policy is a good place to start and forms part of the plan. It should clearly show intent and commitment, who is responsible and what needs to be done in each of the risk areas. It needs to be understood and communicated but also implemented.

Assessing the risks via risk assessments is only part of the process and should not be completed in isolation, assessments need to involve staff and include consultation. Understanding of the purpose of risk assessment and how these need to be managed needs to take priority over just completing the form, just doing this is a pointless exercise and does not equal compliance. Hazards need to be identified and understood as well as what harm can be realised and to whom. A review of the existing controls forms part of the assessment as well as the assessors then having the competence to identify where additional controls may be required. This often presents problems for companies as complacency often sets in, they are not kept up to date with industry standards, developments or legislation and are blissfully unaware of where they are falling short.

Risk Assessments are not about ticking boxes, keeping clients happy, satisfying insurers, keeping the HSE happy or just a yearly chore. They are a part of the process in managing risk, not the end solution.

Risk assessment actions often include familiar terms such as training, signage, segregation, use of PPE, supervision, guarding, isolation, restricted access, use of permits, etc and why these buzz words may have been included, do they actually get implemented and monitored? Are they following the hierarchy of controls in the right order?

Below is an example for dust controls – note where PPE sits.

OK, so we have completed some great risk assessments following the 5 steps to risk assessment and we have a clear understanding of the control measures needed, now what?


You may be lucky enough to have an internal department who plays a significant role in Health, Safety and Fire Management but they still need everyone to get involved and play their part otherwise it simply falls down. If you don’t have someone in house then you may retain an advisor/consultant such as ourselves to help you with specific areas such as policies, training, risk assessments, inspections and audits. Internally someone still need to be involved with the daily items and implementation as well as the administration for records, monitoring and accreditations

Getting things done is important, get clarity on what controls are needed and if these are suitable and sufficient. Keep a record of what you do and why. If you are not sure get help from your advisor who can often save you time and effort in how far you need to go.

“Whatever you document make sure it works and its being applied in terms of controls. If it’s not happening or effective you need to ask why? Is it too complicated, impractical, misunderstood even? Don’t be afraid to challenge and speak to staff about why as they often have the answers if they understand what the hazards are. Regular inspections and checks don’t have to be lengthy or complex but they are critical in the management of risk cycle.”

Rob Anderson

If you are not sure where to start or you are just stuck then please get in touch for free initial advice to get things moving for 2024. At Complisafe we promote ownership and management not just a resource for documentation and training.

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