Health and Safety can be seen as an onerous task. There are forms to fill in and boxes to tick. Companies who view it in this way are failing on multiple counts. Not only should a responsible employer see it as part of their duty of care to provide a safe and healthy working environment, there is also a legal requirement to do so. We look at some areas that might get overlooked and point to the positives of risk assessing employees effectively.
Why is risk assessing employees important?
Aside from the legal responsibilities, health and safety compliance in the workplace is essential for any successful business, supporting growth, protecting people and enabling innovation. Without it, productivity falls. The statistics are sobering. For example, in the UK, over 11 million days a year are lost to work-related stress, with an estimated economic impact of £5 billion. Musculoskeletal disorders account for over a third of all working days lost due to ill health. This isn’t just from manual handling, awkward or tiring positions whilst at the computer or driving, together with repetitive keyboard work, contribute to this total.1
What specific areas should I be looking at when risk assessing employees?
As well as the areas of your workplace that might be considered as high-risk for health and safety, there are also a number of people-based aspects that you need to consider. Common activities include: employees driving for work-related purposes (outside of the daily commute); lone working and home working; employees traveling overseas on business; Managing work-related stress; pregnant and returning mothers; staff members with special needs; employees who are new to their job, and those using display screen equipment. In all these cases, you should be confident that you have taken a ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach:2
- Plan: set out how you are going to assess and manage risks
- Do: Prioritise risks, and train your staff to manage them
- Check: Track your progress
- Act: Review your performance, and make the required changes
What should I do next?
Our advice is to find a system that will give you the peace of mind that your organisation is doing all it can to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. This means using a system that will:
- Help you distribute your health and safety policies and ensure they are read and understood
- Allow you to focus your training on areas that present the greatest risk to your business
- Measure how well you are doing, in terms of sharing information, training your staff, assessing and managing risks, and
- Evaluate your performance and make improvements where they’re needed.
The “Assess” module in WorkWize from EssentialSkillz is designed to help organisations with risk assessing employees effectively. The system will enable you to quickly carry out assessments on large numbers of people. At its heart, WorkWize is a compliance-focused learning management system. It allows the EHS Manager to roll out policies and training to the right groups and see on a dashboard where the non-compliance issues arise.
With the addition of the Assess Module, People based Risk Assessments can also be distributed. The Risk Management process is streamlined for activities like those listed above. The system sends automated email reminders for risk assessment questionnaires, provides configurable advice to enable employees to self-resolve the majority of low-level risks and prioritises risks according to a traffic light system.
The Risk data is displayed on a simple reporting dashboard. Now that could move your risk assessment away from mere compliance to adding real value.
WorkWize can be used in tandem with a traditional EHS system like those provided by SHE Software or Effective Software or linked to an HR or Payroll system to create a fully closed-loop compliance system. Linking to core systems means users are set up automatically, the need to re-key user data is eliminated and Training, Policies and Risk Assessments are allocated automatically based on their job role. Risk assessing employees effectively just got easier…