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23rd August, 2018

10 Essential Principles Of Good Health And Safety Management

Need to improve your health and safety management? It can be done, and what's more, it doesn't have to be costly. The time and commitment made will be well worth it as you create a safer (and happier) workplace.

If you follow these 10 essential principles, from management actions down to worker engagement, your health and safety standards will rise as fast as your accident rates fall!

Many organisations struggle to achieve a positive safety culture at all levels. Good health and safety management means more than just documentation and form filling.

Completing risk assessments is great (and legally required!) but that should just be part of the process. Effective management of health and safety requires good leadership, workforce involvement, and regular assessment and review.

Your health and safety management systems and practices should ensure that risks are dealt with sensibly, proportionately and responsibly.

Start with these 10 essential principles for your health and safety management system, underpinning a positive health and safety culture.

Strong leadership from the top of the organisation

1. Visible and active commitment to health and safety from director level

Leadership is more effective when visible, reinforcing the message and demonstrating management commitment to safety. Lead from the top and by example, after all, if your directors don't take health and safety seriously, no one will.

2. Effective management structure

Consider health and safety responsibilities, attitudes and capabilities when deciding on your management team. You need health and safety procedures to be enforced and communicated. These are your health and safety leaders, showing others the way.

3. Clear downward communication systems

Make sure the health and safety message does not get lost on its way to your employees. Discussing health and safety in management meetings is great, it certainly should be on the agenda. But these decisions, outcomes, results and progress reports need to be communicated - get everyone on the same page.

4. Integration of health and safety management with business decisions

Health and safety must be a key consideration in business decisions to allow your health and safety management system to have any sustainable or substantial impact. When you are purchasing new equipment, taking on trainees, or changing a layout - give health and safety a thought. What changes need to be made to reduce the risks?

workforce involvement

Workforce involvement

5. Worker involvement in resolving safety challenges

Your workers carry out the processes and face the risks you are trying to control, this hands-on knowledge should be used to your advantage. They can help identify hazards or failures in current controls, and they can often come up with solutions.

6. Worker engagement in the achievement of health and safety targets

Workforce involvement above your legal consultation duties helps improve participation and safety achievements. Don't just give workers the what (in what needs to be done), but also explain why. Understanding the reason or importance of a safety rule or procedure helps to gain commitment and compliance.

7. Clear upward communication to management level

Make sure that health and safety issues can be raised to the people that can take action to resolve them. If you have a near miss, feedback or another reporting system in place, make action is taken where necessary in response. This encourages further reporting and an ongoing process of improvements.

Assessment and review

8. Identification and management of safety risks

Risks need to be identified before they can be managed. All work planned should be 'risk assessed' so that hazards are identified and risks controlled. As we mentioned earlier, risk assessment is a legal requirement. It also goes without saying that it is a vital element of good health and safety management.

Need help creating risk assessments? We have hundreds of pre-completed risk assessment templates for you to choose from - or start with the free blank risk assessment template.

assess and review
Assess, monitor, review, repeat.

9. Accessing and following competent advice

There are times we can come up against an unusual hazard or challenge, especially as technology changes and new materials or equipment are introduced. Get specialist advice for areas you are unsure about or take additional training, and make sure your workforce have access to the information they need to carry out work safely.

10. Regular monitoring, reporting and reviewing of performance

We live and we learn, or should that be, we work and we learn. You might not get things 100% right all the time, but we can learn how to do things better the next time. Record monitor and assess both preventative information (training, initiatives, targets) and incident data (accidents, sickness, near miss), so that you can continuously improve your health and safety management.


These 10 essential principles of good health and safety management will ensure that key areas of safety management are addressed, giving you the foundations for safety success.

For all the forms, documents, checklists and reports your business needs, browse hundreds of health and safety templates in our library.

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