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Course 716 - Safety Management System Evaluation

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_____40. Top management policy establishes clear priority for safety and health.

Discussion

  • For the purpose of evaluating this element, no organizational safety and health system formally exists until it is established by top management policy. The purpose of a policy statement is to establish the priority of safety and health relative to other organizational goals such as profitability, productivity, and quality.
  • The policy on safety and health issued by top management must be effectively communicated to middle managers, supervisors, and employees. In most cases, this requires a written policy statement. However, in some very small organizations (no more than 10 employees) where policy is normally set and effectively communicated by oral instruction, there may be no need for a written policy statement.
  • The availability of a written statement establishes that policy has been set, if the statement has been developed or endorsed by top management. evaluator needs to conduct interviews to confirm whether a written policy has been effectively communicated. Verification of an unwritten policy depends totally on interviews.

_____41. Top management considers safety and health to be a "line" rather than a "staff" function.

Discussion

  • The term "line" refers to any position in your organization, such as the production supervisor, having authority over the work and personnel performing the work. It is authority legitimized by a "line" of delegation from the top manager.
  • The term "staff" refers to any position, such as the safety manager, that provides advice and support to line managers. However, the term "staff" is not synonymous with the support function of the business unit. Maintenance, sales, and marketing, for example, are support functions of a business, but the supervisors of these functions are in line positions.
  • It is a common practice in organizations to hold the safety director or safety committee responsible for safety and health performance. This practice frequently results in nominally responsible individuals who do not have the necessary authority to perform their assigned safety and health duties (Attribute 30). In addition, assignment of responsibility for safety and health protection to a single staff member, or even a small group, may leave other members feeling that someone else is taking care of safety and health problems.
  • This element calls for judgment regarding the attitude of top management. The surest way to get information to support such a judgment is to ask the top manager. Confirming or negating information can be obtained by interviews with other personnel and by any assessments performed for Attribute 26.

_____42. Top management provides competent safety and health staff assistance to line managers and supervisors.

Discussion

  • Staff support encompasses a wide range of activities and assistance. For example, this element may involve top management providing a part-time or full-time safety director, as appropriate. The existence of a competent full-time safety manager, empowered and positioned organizationally near top management, is one of the most certain indicators of an advanced safety and health system and of the top manager‘s commitment to its effectiveness. In larger organizations, this element may concern the justified need for specialized professionals (such as a plant nurse or industrial hygienist).
  • The exact nature of the staff support provided by a top manager should fit the particular needs and circumstances of your organization. In organizations with a company trainer, the top manager may dedicate a portion of the trainer‘s time to safety and health training. Some organizations need secretarial support for their safety and health committee, and many organizations need clerical support for maintenance of Form 300 logs and filing First Reports of Injury.
  • Providing competent safety and health staff support to line managers and supervisors is characteristic of the highest performing safety and health systems, and it contributes incrementally to excellence in these systems once the basic elements, particularly Attribute 26 and Attribute 41, are in place.

_____43. Managers personally follow safety and health rules.

Discussion

  • The premise of this element is that, if managers give high priority to safety and health protection in practice, others will see the example and follow. On the other hand, where there is lack of management involvement in this area, a written or spoken policy of high priority for safety and health will have little credibility. Managers who wear required personal protective equipment in work areas and follow all other established safety and health rules demonstrate such involvement.
  • Assessing adherence or non-adherence to established safety and health rules by managers or workers requires information about actual behaviors. This information may be direct or indirect. Direct information is obtained by observation. However, the likelihood of a evaluator actually observing a manager following or breaking a safety rule during a facility walk-around is not great. When the observed manager is seen breaking a safety rule, the infraction is a negating cue. When the observed manager is seen following a rule, it is a confirming cue because no hazard was created when the rule was followed. Indirect information on rule adherence by managers can be obtained through interviews with workers who often observe whether these managers avoid hazards by following safety rules. Interviews with the managers, themselves, may also be revealing.

_____44. Managers personally follow safety and health rules.

Discussion

  • This element can be assessed by interviews with managers and, perhaps, by review of documents. Interviews should reveal management‘s philosophy and practice regarding delegation of authority to personnel with assigned responsibilities for safety and health tasks. The evaluator should learn from these interviews whether or not management grants the necessary authority over the work, authority over resources, and authority over subordinates.
  • Interview is the most likely source of information, documents that contain information on delegated authority may exist in larger organizations. These documents may include your organization chart, position descriptions, and the charter of the safety and health committee.

_____45. Managers allocate the resources needed to properly support your organization's safety and health system.

Discussion

  • Assessment of this element can be achieved by interviews with managers and, perhaps, by review of documents. Interviews should reveal management‘s philosophy and practice regarding allocation of resources for safety and health.
  • A confirming assessment cue is established when managers report current allocations for safety and health purposes and /or plans for future allocations to achieve safety and health
  • improvements. Resources include personnel or personnel-effort, supplies, equipment, facilities, and services.
  • Interview of the owner/operator is the most realistic source of top-down information on resource allocation in very small organizations. In larger organizations, a safety and health budget or identifiable safety and health components in the general budget may exist as a source of information on the resources allocated to safety and health.

_____46. Managers ensure that appropriate safety and health training is provided.

Discussion
  • This element can be assessed by linking it to hazard-related information through Attribute 29.
  • Assessment of this element can be achieved by interviews with managers. Review of the six training elements (Attributes 34 through 39) provides the evaluator with specific information and issues to be addressed by the managers during interview.

_____47. Managers support fair and effective policies that promote safety and health performance.

Discussion

  • Assessment of the element can be achieved by interviews with managers and, perhaps, by document reviews. Interviews should reveal management‘s philosophy and practice regarding motivation of performance for safety and health. This includes both the positive and negative aspects of motivation.
  • In very small organizations, interview of the owner/operator is the most realistic source of information on how personnel are motivated for safety and health. In larger organizations, however, there may be a written disciplinary policy, personnel evaluation forms, position descriptions, and written policies on pay raises, bonuses, and promotions. Review of such documents should provide information to assess this element.

_____48. Top management is involved in the planning and evaluation of safety and health performance.

Discussion

The term "involved" means that the top manager is engaged at some appropriate level in organizational planning and evaluation relative to workplace safety and health. Some top managers may personally participate in such planning and evaluation activities. This level of involvement would be especially appropriate for the owner/operator of a very small business. In larger organizations, the top manager may simply receive and review reports and make decisions concerning recommendations. In any event, all top managers should be familiar with the safety and health planning and evaluation efforts undertaken by their organizations. This includes awareness of what has been done, who did it, what were the results, and what actions were taken in response. Review of the six planning and evaluation elements (Attributes 20 through 25) provides the evaluator with specific information and issues to be discussed with the top manager during interview.

_____49.Top management values employee involvement and participation in safety and health issues.

Discussion

  • This element calls for a judgment on the part of the evaluator regarding an attitude of top management. The surest way to get information to support such a judgment is to ask the top manager. The top manager should be able to describe how employee input on safety and health issues is solicited, and how voluntary participation in safety and health efforts of your organization is encouraged.
  • Information obtained from interview with the top manager should be confirmed or negated by interview of other personnel and by any assessments performed for elements in the Employee Participation section (Attributes 50 through 58).

_____50. Top management values employee involvement and participation in safety and health issues.

Discussion

  • Assessment of this element should begin with interviews with management or staff to determine what, if any, process has been established for employee input on safety and health issues. An effective process for employee involvement should provide for (1) the solicitation of input, (2) the receipt of input, and (3) the acknowledgment of input. The established process may provide a single way or multiple avenues for soliciting, receiving, and acknowledging employee inputs.
  • Common methods for soliciting input are postings, paycheck flyers, e-mail postings, chain-of-command distributions, and company-wide meetings. Common standing methods of receiving employee inputs on safety and health issues are chain-of-command reporting, managerial open-door policies, suggestion boxes, organizational e-mail systems, and direct reporting to the safety director or safety and health committee.
  • A highly effective way of both soliciting and receiving employee input is to ensure that employees are represented in small group meetings where safety and health issues are discussed. Safety committees are one example of this approach. In evaluating the process that provides acknowledgment, it is important to remember that any acknowledgment message should not only confirm that the employee input was received, but it should also provide feedback to the employee concerning how the information or suggestion was used. There is no single best way to achieve employee input on safety and health issues.
  • Much depends on the culture of your organization and the management styles of the managers. The best system is the one that works for your organization.
  • Information obtained in assessing Attributes 51 through 53 (which pertain to employee involvement in specific safety and health issues) may also be relevant to the assessment of this element.