An effective Risk Assessment process is the cornerstone of any effective safety management system. In turn a Safety Statement is a description of the organisations manner for securing safety and records in detail the risk assessments carried out. As a result, it is vital that organisations carry out a risk assessment and prepare a safety statement.
While both the risk assessment and safety statement are legally required, from an ethical perspective, the main reason to carry out a risk assessments and prepare a safety statement is to make sure that no one is killed or injured or becomes ill at your place of work. Carrying out risk assessments and preparing a safety statement will not in themselves prevent accidents and ill health but they will play a crucial part in reducing their likelihood.
Accidents and ill health can ruin lives, and can also affect business financially if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or if you have to go to court.
Employers, managers and supervisors should all ensure that workplace practices and procedures reflect the content of the in-house risk assessments and safety statement. The behaviour, the way in which everyone works, must reflect the safe working practices laid down in these documents. Supervisory checks and audits should be carried out to determine how well the aims set down are being achieved. Corrective action should be taken when required. Additionally, if a workplace is provided for use by others, the safety statement must also set out the safe work practices that are relevant to them.
Hence, it is important to carry out a Risk Assessment and prepare a Safety Statement for:
1. Financial reasons:
There is considerable evidence, borne out by companies’ practical experiences, that effective safety and health management in the workplace contributes to business success. Accidents and ill-health inflict significant costs, often hidden and underestimated.
2. Legal reasons:
Carrying out a risk assessment, preparing a safety statement and implementing what you have written down are not only central to any safety and health management system, they are required by law. Health and Safety Authority inspectors visiting workplaces will want to know how employers are managing safety and health. If they investigate an accident, they will scrutinize the risk assessment and safety statement, and the procedures and work practices in use.
It should be ensured that these stand up to examination. If the inspector finds that one of these is inadequate, he or she can ask the employer to revise it. Employers can be prosecuted if they do not have a safety statement.
3. Moral and ethical reasons:
The process of carrying out a risk assessment, preparing a safety statement and implementing what you have written down will help employers prevent injuries and ill-health at work. Employers are ethically bound to do all they can to ensure that their employees do not suffer illness, a serious accident or death. The HSA have assembled a set of guidelines to be followed.
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