Health and Safety is not something you are thinking about constantly. There are so many pressures you face in a day, around staff, productivity, customer expectations, financial concerns, the list goes on.
However it is important to assess whether the safety (and health) controls you have in place are effective and being used by your staff.
1)ACT : Take action on lessons learnt
2)PLAN : Assess the risk and identify suitable control measure (Talk with staff about this. )
3)CHECK : Monitor the performance of the control measure. (This includes workers reporting incidents and accidents. These may well show an ineffective control)
4)DO : (implement control measures that effectively eliminate or minimise the risk)
WorkSafe point out that PPE should not be the first or only control. In other words, the risk needs to be reduced or eliminated by other means first.
Here’s the recognised method as outlined in the HS Regulations:
1)Eliminate the risk altogether. If not possible :
2)Substituting a safer method or piece of equipment for the job. (a simple example is using battery operated tools instead of 240v tools. There’s no chance of being electrocuted!)
3)Isolating the risk. This might be fencing off the area being worked on, or putting a noisy piece of kit away from the work area
4)Engineering controls. Eg redesigning the tool to include guards. Or even making sure guards are always used!
5)Administrative controls. Eg Safe methods of work. Rotating jobs to reduce boredom etc
6)PPE. Earplugs, Gloves, Safety glasses etc
Start at the top. Get as many controls as you can in the first five areas. Then “mop up” the residual risk with PPE