Workplace Health and Safety - lets talk about the real issue!

Health & Safety
Most companies and organizations know how important it is to have their health and safety documentation up to date and accurate. They spend a lot of time and money on updating procedures and policies, but in my experience they often fail when it comes to ensuring that their staff understand what these policies and procedures actually mean for them.

Lets face it - in many industries worldwide there is a lack of literacy skills. Why oh why do organization's insist on creating documentation loaded with complicated words and unwieldy paragraphs. This is not helpful at all to a large percentage of their workforce, which can often be made up of people where English is not their first language.

What is health and safety in the workplace?

Under the law employers are responsible for health and safety management. This means making sure that workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace.

Employers have a responsibility to not only create documentation but to ensure that it is understood by all their staff from the factory floor to top management. There are two key areas that need to be addressed:

1. Seriously look at rewriting your documentation so that it is in plain English

2. Provide training for your staff to ensure that they understand their responsibilities in regard to the policies.

I've worked with people from many different cultures and spent many worthwhile hours with them just deciphering workplace health and safety policies. This involved breaking down the vocabulary used within the documentation and giving them an understanding of how it applies to their roles. I take my hat off to management that made time for this training to happen. The benefits can be huge.

What are the 3 basic health and safety rights at any workplace?

Three basic rights:

1. The right to refuse dangerous work and know that you're protected from reprisal.

2. The right to know about workplace hazards and have access to basic health and safety information.

3. The right to participate in health and safety discussions and health and safety committees.

Health and Safety Training Resources

If you are a workplace trainer, a teacher, a facilitator or are just looking for resources to start with, check out these resources.