Where can an employer get a health and safety system or manual, and have it approved?
The terms health and safety 'plans', 'manuals', 'policies' or 'systems' are commonly used to describe the same thing. They are useful tools for recording all the necessary activity such as hazard management, information and training, incident recording and investigation, and emergency preparedness.
An employer can seek comment from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) as to whether its safety systems meet the requirements of the Workplace Safety Management Practices system - which would enable the company to receive discounts on ACC levies. Sample manuals are available under 'Injury Prevention' on ACC. Select 'Safer Industries' from the drop down menu.
It is the activity that is important. Effective health and safety management systems result from leadership, commitment and ongoing activity, including participation of employees in planning and implementation. Just as a driver's license and warrant of fitness don't guarantee safe driving, so a health and safety manual doesn't guarantee adequate practices (i.e. that all hazards are adequately controlled). Manuals are not the focus of regulators such as the Department of Labour, and it does not 'approve' individual manuals or systems.
Having a written system, manual or checklists can help ensure an employer has considered all potential hazards, but it is the daily practices, regular reviews and discussions with employees that will benefit the workplace and ensure health and safety is part of the workplace culture.
Another good source of ideas and resources is others in the same industry or the relevant industry body - check the current state of industry knowledge about the best way to manage particular hazards, and formally review how well health and safety systems are functioning at least once a year.
Some employers also choose to engage health and safety consultants to review their systems, but this is no guarantee that day-to-day practices in their workplace are safe and all hazards are adequately controlled.
Date Modified: Friday, 1 June 2012
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