management of health and safety

Management of Health and Safety at Work

Management of Health and Safety at Work

In this article our H & S Consultant, Colin Jones, covers the importance of Health and Safety Management at Work.


Companies can often fall into two camps regarding the management of health and safety. The system and process are either non-existent or far too complicated. Either way, it can be argued that it is not fit for its purpose.


Plan, Do, Check, Act

Health and safety management should be an integral part of good management generally, rather than as a stand-alone system. The high-level descriptions may vary, depending on the industry or sector you are working in. However, a summary of the actions involved in delivering effective arrangements and how they are frequently described is given under the headings of Plan, Do, Check, Act.


The guidance for management of health and safety has moved away from using the POPMAR (Policy, Organising, Planning, Measuring performance, Auditing and Review) model of managing health and safety, to a ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach. The move towards Plan, Do, Check, Act achieves a balance between the systems and behavioural aspects of management.


The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

All organisations have management processes or arrangements to deal with payroll, personnel issues, finance and quality control. Managing health and safety should be no different. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. As a minimum, you should have the processes and procedures required to meet the legal requirements, including:


  • A written health and safety policy (if you employ five or more people)
  • Assessments of the risks to employees, contractors, customers, partners, and any other people who could be affected by your activities. Significant findings should be recorded in writing (if you employ five or more people). Any risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’
  • Arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment
  • Appoint competent people and arrange for appropriate information and training
  • Providing employees with information about the risks in your workplace and how they are protected
  • Instruction and training for employees in how to deal with the risks
  • Ensuring there is adequate and appropriate supervision in place
  • Consulting with employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures


Health and Safety Management Systems

A formal management system or framework can help you manage health and safety, it is your decision whether to use one or not. National and international standards such as; ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems; BS EN ISO 9001 Quality management system; in-house standards, procedures or codes; sector-specific frameworks such as; the Energy Institute’s High-level framework for process safety management; the Chemical Industries Association Responsible Care framework are good examples. Although, the cost and impacts of introducing these standards need to be considered carefully.


Although the language and methodology vary, the key actions can usually be traced back to Plan, Do, Check, Act.



Keep health and safety documents functional and concise, with the emphasis on their effectiveness rather than the sheer volume of paperwork. Focusing too much on the formal documentation of a health and safety management system will distract you from addressing the human elements of its implementation – the focus becomes the process of the system itself rather than actually controlling risks.


Attitudes and behaviours

Effectively managing for H & S is not just about having a management or safety management system. The success of whatever process or system is in place still hinges on the attitudes and behaviours of people in the organisation to adhere to and continuously behave in such a way to maintain a ‘safe culture.’


We are offering a free Health and Safety Health Check worth £350 to all businesses. We want to help provide you with peace of mind that you’re operating safely.  Get in touch with the team today to book in with our H & S expert.


If you have any concerns or would like to discuss Health and Safety further, please get in contact with the HPC team today


T: 0844 800 5932


Twitter: @HPC_HRServices


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