You’ve made it to Step 5, the last in our 5 Steps to Employee Protection.
It’s now time to focus on setting up your organisation to maintain the comprehensive safety system you have created and implemented.
Fulfil your duty of care
From a duty of care and compliance perspective, you must ensure your safe systems of work are followed. If an incident or accident were to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive, they will consider investigating. If ‘it is clear that all reasonably practicable precautions were in place at the time of the incident to reduce the risk of it occurring’, then no further investigation will take place.
If your employee was following all of your robust policies and procedures at the time of the event, then no further action could be taken. If the employee was found not to be adhering to the safe systems of work, then questions will be asked. So the key to successful safety standards is on-going management.
Managing Solution Usage
Working closely with the managers of your lone working employees is the most effective way to ensure compliance. The lone worker’s manager is best placed to ensure the employee is adhering to policy.
How can a manager ensure compliance?
When health and safety is at risk, it’s crucial that employees follow policies and use the solutions provided. The manager must therefore:
- Ensure the employee understands what is expected of them
- Ensure they understand how to use the solution
Having this knowledge leaves no excuse for non-compliance.
What can a manager do?
There is a range of effective management tools that can keep this important issue top of the agenda:
- Discuss at regular meetings and raise EVERY time to reiterate the importance of using the solutions, while recognising and rewarding the top users
- Highlight any decreased use, noting the consequences of this on operations and safety of the team
- Put our posters up in meeting rooms reminding employees of the importance of solutions and their benefits
- Work health and safety policies, solution usage and policy compliance directly into annual performance reviews
- Set targets for usage along with other role-based targets for the next 12 months
- Regularly check usage levels, noting any drop-off in usage and acting swiftly, requesting an explanation and a commitment to correct this immediately
- Follow disciplinary processes for non-compliance with repeat offenders. Not only does this demonstrate the importance of compliance to others, but it emphasises the organisation’s commitment to safe working practices.
If lone worker protection is not managed properly, usage can quickly decrease across the organisation, which can become problematic. Intervention can be effective with a few considered steps:
- Assess the root cause for low usage – there may be several reasons why employees are not using the solution in line with your set policies.
- Based on the root cause(s), develop a corrective action plan for immediate implementation
- Work with managers on their management of solution usage
Remember, these 5 steps are an on-going cycle. At this point you should have excellent safety systems in place and compliance with your policies across the organisation. This is a hard task and a massive achievement.
To ensure the level of safety achieved is maintained, it’s important that on-going monitoring and management is maintained.
Organisations have a responsibility to report major incidents (RIDDOR) but you should also record minor accidents, injuries and near misses. Not only does this ensure your compliance under social security law, it helps you to identify any new or evolving risks. It’s important to always keep an eye out for new and changing risks. In line with changes to the document, you should make any required updates to your policies and procedures to mitigate against the changed risk profile. Communication is then required, as is further training.