Importance of management commitment
- In order to develop a successful health and safety programme, it is essential that there be strong management commitment and strong worker participation in the effort to create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Effective management addresses all work-related hazards, not only those covered by government standards.
- All levels of management must make health and safety a priority. They must communicate this by going out into the worksite to talk with workers about their concerns and to observe work procedures and equipment. In each workplace, the lines of responsibility from top to bottom need to be clear, and workers should know who is responsible for different health and safety issues.
The importance of training
- Workers often experience work-related health problems and do not realize that the problems are related to their work, particularly when an occupational disease, for example, is in the early stages.
- Besides the other more obvious benefits of training, such as skills development, hazard recognition, etc., a comprehensive training program in each workplace will help workers to:
- recognize early signs/symptoms of any potential occupational diseases before they become permanent conditions;
- assess their work environment;
- insist that management make changes before hazardous conditions can develop.
Specific Training Needs
- Hazard recognition
- Training required in standards
- Emergency response
- Accident investigation
Role of the health and safety representative
As health and safety representative your role is to work proactively (this means taking action beforehazards become a problem) to prevent workers from being exposed to occupational hazards. You can do this by making sure management eliminates hazards or keeps them under control when they cannot be eliminated.
Steps to help you reach your goals are:
Be well informed about the various hazards in your workplace and the possible solutions for controlling those hazards.
Work together with the worker’s representatives/ union and the employer to identify and control hazards.
You may occasionally need to share some of this information with your supervisors and employer in the process of working towards a safe and healthy workplace.
Being a health and safety representative is not always easy, but helping to protect the lives of your fellow workers is worth all the time and effort you put into the job.
Hazards Prevention Planning
- Maintain the facility and equipment
- Emergency planning
- Training and drills, as needed
- Medical program
- First aid on site
- Physician and emergency care nearby
- Analyze work to identify potential hazards in area of responsibility
- Maintain physical protections in work areas
- Reinforce employee training through performance feedback and, if needed, enforcement of safe work practices
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