From financial and quality controls to security systems and procedures, every business relies on management systems to contain risks and maximize efficiency (and profit). Health and safety risks are no different. Ignoring risk needlessly endangers the success and viability of your company.
An Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system is designed to control the risk of exposing your employees to workplace hazards that lead to occupational injury or disease. Accidents at work can be tragic and costly, and they can be prevented. In fact, WorkSafeBC (like all other safety regulators) requires that every employer must have an overall OHS program, as well as specific programs, systems and policies to comply with OHS requirements so that work is carried out without undue risk of injury or occupational disease.
Costs associated with accidents, injuries and disease include not just lost time for injured workers, but additional costs for:
• lost time to investigate the incident
• implementing corrective measures
• hiring and training replacement workers
• repairing or replacing damaged equipment and property
• increased insurance and WorkSafeBC (WCB) assessments
Beyond these costs, there are other, less tangible costs including the effect of the accident on injured workers and their families, lower employee morale and motivation, reduced job performance, and increased absenteeism.
A well designed OHS management system can reduce these costs and make your company a safer place to work. By implementing measurable systems to verify OHS performance, you can be sure that your OHS management system remains effective. You will be able to increase your company's reputation and demonstrate that you are meeting your legal and moral responsibilities to provide your employees with a safe place to work. Research clearly shows that professionally designed OHS management systems are associated with long-term business efficiency.
No matter how large, small, basic or complex your organization is, your OHS management system needs commitment and leadership from the top management levels all the way to the shop floor, including sufficient financial and human resources for successful implementation. Workers need to see that the program is relevant and fully incorporated as part of day-to-day activity of the business. Regular updating of the management system in consultation with employees will help the system adjust to changes in the workplace and ensure continuous improvement.
Peter Gilmour represented WorkSafeBC and assisted in the development of CSA Standard Z1000 (Occupational Health and Safety Management). As a certified OHS professional (CIH 1992-2018), Peter can help your company develop and implement an OHS management system to control your risks, minimize the likelihood of occupational injury and disease, and comply with your legal obligations.