Asking the right questions: what Directors should be asking about health and safety in their workplaces
Sheila Pantry OBE
Businesses have to cope with an increasing regulatory burden but there are many other reasons why directors should take their responsibilities very seriously. It is a criminal offence in the UK, Europe and elsewhere in the world to breach the laws protecting safety, health and the environment. Also good companies increasingly recognise good management of risks to health and safety at work is essential to the success of their business.
Creating and sustaining a good health and safety culture is essential for everyone concerned - workers, managers and directors. Directors need to learn to ask the "right" questions, understand how performance can be measured for the purpose of good corporate governance and to give commitment and leadership to staff. When management failures result in death at work, serious injuries and long-term ill health there are heavy penalties levelled at the company and its directors. In addition, the company's reputation is damaged.
Directors and others can find out more by looking at the quality guidance produced by organisations and government bodies. These pieces of guidance really do help directors formulate the right questions and also obtain further information on how other organisations have succeeded. So to find out more why not use some of the reliable sources in collections of validated and authoritative information such as FIREINF, OSH UPDATE and IRISH OSH UPDATE. These collections are continuously enlarged as new information is published.
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This month's OSHWORLD FOCUS is on the Smarter Working Campaign that is looking at making changes in working practices in the UK. It is major five-year initiative that aims to bring about a fundamental change in working practices in the UK in encouraging a 'workstyle revolution'.
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Are you aiming to have a zero accident, incident-free and healthy year in 2007 in your workplace? Some would argue that this is not possible!