Why health and safety performance should be reviewed
Reviewing is the process of making judgements about the adequacy of performance and deciding the nature and timing of the actions necessary to remedy deficiencies.
Reviews are essential to determine:
- the level of legal compliance within the organisation;
- the adequacy and effectiveness of existing control measures;
- the damage caused where control is lacking;
- priorities for action to address any shortfalls in legal compliance or good risk management; and
- the ongoing effectiveness of the system (including any associated issues regarding certification to ISO 45001).
The primary sources of information for reviewing H&S performance come from monitoring and auditing activities. However, reviews should also consider the impact of external information, such as new legislation or changes in good practice.
What the review should consider
Although there are legal requirements to monitor and review health and safety performance, there is no legal requirement to publish the information in annual reports.
There is, however, guidance suggesting how health and safety issues should be addressed in published annual reports on business activities and performance.
As a minimum, the annual report should include the following information:
- the broad context of the health and safety policy;
- the significant risks faced by employees and others and the strategies and systems in place to control them;
- the health and safety goals, as per the safety policy;
- report on progress towards achieving health and safety goals in the reporting period and on health and safety plans for the forthcoming period;
- the arrangements for consulting employees and involving safety representatives.
In addition, the report should provide the following data on health and safety performance for the reporting period:
- the number of RIDDOR reportable injuries, illnesses and dangerous occurrences (presented as the rate of injuries per 100,000 employees);
- brief details of the circumstances of any fatalities and of the actions taken to prevent any recurrence;
- the number of cases of illness, disability or health problems that are caused or made worse by work;
- the total number of employee days lost due to all causes of occupational injury and illness;
- the number of enforcement notices served on the company and detail of the requirements;
- the number of convictions for health and safety offences, their outcome, penalty and costs, and what has been done to prevent a recurrence;
- the total cost to the company of the occupational injuries and illnesses suffered by staff in the reporting period.
Companies are encouraged to go beyond the minimum standards and include additional information such as the outcome of health and safety audits and the extent and effectiveness of health and safety training provided to staff.
Feeding review outputs into action and development plans
Continual improvement is about seeking better performance at each stage of the health and safety management system, from establishing the policy to the lessons learned through review of performance.
All available information should be reviewed to determine the need to redesign or amend any parts of the health and safety management system or to change the systems overall direction or objectives.
Feeding information on success and failure back into the system is an essential element in motivating employees to maintain and improve performance.
The most important aspect of reviewing is that it closes the loop. The outcomes of the review become what the organisation plan to do next with health and safety.