Strategies for Managing Health and Safety at Work

1)         Design of safe and health systems of work.

2)         Exhibiting strong management commitment.

3)         Inspect the workplace for health and safety hazards.

4)         Establish procedures and controls for dealing with health and safety issues.

5)         Promote safe working behaviors.

6)         Develop health and safety training programmes.

7)         Set up health and safety committee.

8)         Monitor health and safety policies.

9)         Draw an action plan and checklist.


1)         Design of Safe and Health Systems of Work.

The most direct approach to ensuring safe and healthy workplace is to design systems of work that are safe and without risk to health. This can be done satisfactorily only at the design, planning and purchasing stage.

Most accidents involve an element of failure in control which reflects a failure in managerial skill.

A guiding principle when drawing up arrangement for securing health and safety should be that as far as possible, work should be adapted to people and not vice-versa.

As managers identify processes and machines and substance that are hazardous to health and well being of employees, they must modify them to eliminate or reduce the hazard and risk at the source.

Provision of protective equipment is the typical means used by organization to reduce physical hazards. In some cases, robots can perform hazardous tasks such as spray-painting and wielding, screens on computers.

2)         Exhibit Management Commitment.

Senior management carries the prime responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. Health and safety should become an integral part of every manager’s responsibility, starting from the chief executive down to the lowest level supervisor. Anything less that total support from top management raises questions bout the sincerelity of the organization commitment in the eyes of employees, government agencies and the public at large.

To exhibit commitment managers, salaries and promotions may be tied to a satisfactory safety record and compliance with it. Specialist in health and safety areas such as safety engineers and medical technicians can be employed and given adequate authority in the management hierarchy in order to make and implement changes.

3)         Inspect The Workplace for Hazards.

Regular monitoring of the work environment and regular physical examination of employees is another proactive approach to management of health and safety. Construction sites and manufacturing plants require regular inspections to check the application of safety standards and relevant laws. In manufacturing processes, frequent monitoring of air and quality and levels of dust and noise is needed.

Organizations may also monitor a wide range of matters relating to employees health, from routine eye tests and chest x-rays to screening for cancer. A health survey of employees helps to identify hazardous and unhealthy processes.

Three main types of formal inspections can also be carried out.

  •  Accident inspection
  • Special inspection
  • General inspections.

Accidents inspection follows an accident in a workplace. Special inspection usually concentrates on a particular workstation or work system e.g. the safety committee might decide it is necessary to examine some work processes.

A general survey calls for a comprehensive survey of the entire workplace.

4)         Establishing Procedures and Controls.

A healthy and safety policy is likely to fail unless effective procedures and controls are established. Procedures for handling health and safety problems need to meet the following basic requirements.

  • Should allow employees representative to talk directly to decision makers on areas of safety and health.
  • They should operate without any undue delay whenever a problem related to health and safety is identified.
  • They should be able to handle emergency problems.
  • They Should permit discussions about long term decision affecting health and safety.

5)         Promotion of Safe Working Behavior.

There are several safety related behaviors that can improve safety performance in the workplace. Focus on behavior is based on the observation that 70-95% of workplace accidents resulting in injury are caused by unsafe behaviors. Managerial behavior which is related to health and safety issues can shapes the psychological contact in that an employees perception of a” safety climate” affects the employee behaviors, workers who perceive a positive safety climate in the organization are more likely to engage in safe working behaviors.

6)         Developing Training Programs.

One way to obtain compliance with health and safety regulation is through enhancing employees’ knowledge, understanding and commitment, which can be achieved through health and safety training programs.

The purpose of safety training is;-

  • To improve job knowledge and skills
  • To ensure optimum employee performance at the specified performance standards in health and safety training include: – attention to safety rules and regulations.
  • Like any other training, health and safety training should be developed systematically. The training needs will first be identified through inspection through accidents reports and discussions during health and safety committee meetings, training will then follow, ending with an evaluation of the training given.
  • Top management support is a key ingredient in the availability and success of health and safety training.
  • After employees have completed their safety training at the orientation stage, management should organize regular refresher course so that the training can have a long term effect on employees.
  • Managers, supervisors and safety representatives also need to be exposed to regular training.

7)         Setting up Health and Safety Committees.

There is substantial body of evidence to suggest that health and safety representatives can make an important contribution to the improvement of health and safety at work.

Organization should have safety committees which involve employees in health and safety issues. To make the committees even more effective, a senior manager of the management team should be a member of the committee.

The functions of the committee and their terms of reference depend on the individual company policy and relevant safety regulation but they include the following.

  • The study of accidents and disease statistics and trends, so that reports can be made to management on unsafe, unhealthy conditions and practices and recommendation for corrective action.
  • Assistance in the development of work safety rules and safe working systems.
  • An investigation of the safety content of employee training.

The work of the safety committee should supplement management arrangement for regular and effective monitoring of health and safety precautions.

8)         Monitoring Health and Safety Policies.

Research has shown that many safety and health polices are not that helpful in practice because of:

  • Failure to monitor their relevance to workplace arrangement.
  • Inadequate training.
  •  Supervisors and safety officers lacking authority to make decisions.

A proactive approach would involve managers in regularly checking to ensure that safety policies and management procedures at work are constantly monitored changed to ensure that they suit new developments or new work structures.

9)         Drawing up an Action plan.

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