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When it comes to improving safety, looking at policies and procedures probably isn’t your first thought! Instinctively, you might look at auditing and implementing more incident reporting/management systems, but your policies and procedures really need to be the first place you look to improve. Let’s delve into why that is.
By defining clear policies and procedures, every single person at every level of the business will know and understand what is expected of them. It’s about setting those standards, whether those be internal (such as a policy on how to report incidents) or external (like all those OH&S policies that apply specifically to your industry). Only after your team knows exactly what is expected of them, can they perform their job to the best of their ability and as safely as possible. Therefore, after you have set those expectations and are confident your team knows and understands those standards, can you improve safety and reduce the occurrence of risks.
We’re all guilty of leaving things up to common sense and assuming knowledge from time to time (I know I sure am), but when it comes to safety, we can’t leave anything to common sense. Why? Because that’s essentially gambling with serious risks. Now, I know that some of the things you’re outlining specifically in your policies and procedures is going to feel like a waste of time, but if you leave things out because “it’s just common sense” that’s when you can open yourself up to serious liability and anyone in your team could be vulnerable to some serious injuries or incidents. So get to making things crystal clear in those policies!
If you’ve already got your clear policies and procedures written out and stored in a dynamic operations manuals system, you’re doing awesome, but you still need to regularly review and update those policies. Particularly in today’s climate, we know that things are constantly changing, which means our policies and procedures have to as well. For example, we have seen a lot of snap changes with covid rules and regulations. While now we don’t have many regulations in place, previously we would have frequent changes to mask rules, density limits and cleaning requirements, therefore covid safety policies had to be regularly updated to ensure the safety of staff and customers. That’s an extreme example of constantly changing policies and most of yours won’t need to be updated quite as often, but updating your policies and procedures when changes occur and pencilling in perhaps a yearly review is a really good way to improve safety for your business.
Improving safety isn’t just about the audits and the incident management systems. To really make moves at improving safety, you need to start at the very beginning: with your policies and procedures. To find out more about using systems to manage your policies and procedures, schedule a live demo of Op Central.