Make a health and safety plan

Developing a safe and healthy workplace makes good business sense. Your employees will feel more valued and visitors will be protected from harm. It’s likely to increase productivity and reduce the cost impact on your business of any downtime from employee injuries.

Effective health and safety management systems result from your leadership and commitment. Everyone has a duty to work safely and report hazards, but you still need to manage and coordinate the overall health and safety programme.

What you must do

What you could do

The ACC WorkSafe Cycle is a simple and effective method you can use to set up and operate your safety systems. Following the three steps in a continuous cycle enables you to keep on improving your health and safety systems.

ACC Worksafe Cycle diagram.

Step One: Review

Meet with your staff to identify all the hazards in your workplace. Since this is a continuous improvement cycle, you need to return regularly to the review step to monitor your planning and action steps, investigate any incidents that have occurred and review your injury management and emergency readiness. Any suggested improvements feed through to the planning step.

Step Two: Plan

Decide how you will manage the hazards. Your priorities are:

  1. Eliminate the hazard if possible. For example, replace a toxic chemical with a non-toxic substitute or replace a noisy machine with a quieter one.
  2. If you can’t eliminate the hazard then isolate it. For example, fit protective guards around dangerous machinery parts.
  3. If you can’t eliminate or isolate the hazard then minimise it. For example, require people to wear protective ear muffs, hard hats, goggles, masks and boots when working in dangerous areas.
  4. Include a process for monitoring the health and safety of employees exposed to hazards.

Use the planning step to cover issues such as training and supervision, emergency readiness and injury management.

Step Three: Action

Adapt the sample Health and Safety Plan [XLS, 13kB] to map out your health and safety programme. Remember to assign responsibility for each required action, include a budget if necessary and set a timeframe for completion.

Commitment and communication

Two further key elements in the WorkSafe Cycle are commitment and communication. It’s important to get your whole team involved in health and safety. Commitment starts with you. If you don’t take health and safety seriously then why should others?

Open and honest communication throughout the cycle is vital to keep everyone involved and contributing to the health and safety improvement cycle.