Occupational health and safety risk management – how effective are your risk controls?

Occupational health and safety risk management

Sword GRC Blog

Occupational health and safety risk management – how effective are your risk controls?

In an occupational health and safety context, it goes without saying that effective interventions should be in place in order to manage or mitigate workplace hazards, particularly within working environments that are deemed to be ‘high risk’. Machinery, equipment, materials, processes, working conditions and controlled environments all present high and diverse risk potential which must be effectively managed. Whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of operatives is an imperative, organizations must also meet regulatory requirements, seek to uphold their professional reputation and bottom line, avoid the financial impact of litigation.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, as a very minimum, employers in the UK are required ‘by law to protect employees, and others, from harm.’ The HSE website stipulates that: ‘Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

While it states it would be unrealistic to expect employers to be able to eliminate all risks, according to the HSE the expectation is to ‘do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble.’*

Having taken steps to identify risks, assess their impact and introduce specific control measures to minimize risk exposure throughout your organization, how can you ensure that the workforce is following best practice – that your risk controls are being correctly adhered to and that those controls are as effective as they can be?

“This is exactly why we developed Sword Verify, innovative app technology that when integrated with our project and enterprise risk management solution, evidences that specific control measures are being followed in practise and are doing what they should to help prevent incidents,” explains Jenny Ritson-Smith at Sword GRC. “In a climate where accountability, transparency and traceability are crucial, we wanted to help our customers – particularly those within mining, construction and infrastructure, where daily activity often involves the use of heavy equipment, hazardous materials, difficult working environments or complicated logistics – to push risk management higher up the agenda and help to promote safety culture within the organization. Integrating with ARM to complete the risk management lifecycle, our occupational health and safety app provides a user-friendly health and safety risk management solution, helping to mitigate risks and reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring, and supporting an organization’s legal obligation to provide a safe working environment.”

By digitalizing the health and safety risk management process to reduce an organization’s liability and the likelihood of workplace hazards, the Sword Verify app, when combined with Sword’s award-winning risk management software, closes the loop on the risk management process to benefit the whole organization from operators, site managers and risk and control owners, through to CEO, legal counsel and board.

According to HSE statistics, each year, over a million workers are injured or made ill by their work in Great Britain. ‘This can have serious effects on these individuals and their families, as well as employers, government and wider society. The impacts can be measured in terms of ‘human’ costs (the impact on the individual’s quality of life and, for fatal injuries, loss of life), and ‘financial’ costs, such as loss of production and healthcare costs.’**

Have confidence that your risk controls are appropriate, effective and are being adhered to.

Learn more about Sword GRC’s occupational health and safety risk management solution.

* Risk assessment: Steps needed to manage risk – HSE

** Statistics – Costs to Britain of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related ill health (hse.gov.uk)