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Introduction to

International Health
and Safety at Work
This publication is endorsed by NEBOSH as offering high quality support for the delivery of NEBOSH
quali­fications. NEBOSH endorsement does not imply that this publication is essential to achieve a NEBOSH
qualification, nor does it mean that this is the only suitable publication available to support NEBOSH quali­
fications. No endorsed material will be used verbatim in setting any NEBOSH examination and all responsi­
bility for the content remains with the publisher. Copies of official specifications for all NEBOSH qualifications
may be found on the NEBOSH website – www.nebosh.org.uk
Introduction to
International Health
and Safety at Work
The Handbook for the NEBOSH International General

Phil Hughes MBE, MSc, CFIOSH, former Chairman NEBOSH 1995–2001

Ed Ferrett PhD, BSc (Hons Eng), CEng, MIMechE, MIET, CMIOSH,
Vice Chairman NEBOSH 1999–2008


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Copyright © 2010, Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

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10  11  12  13  14  15  10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1





1.1 Introduction  2
1.2 Some basic definitions 3
1.3 Moral, social and economic reasons for maintaining and promoting good standards
of health and safety in the workplace  4
1.4 The role of national governments and international bodies in formulating a framework
for the regulation of health and safety  12
1.5 The nature and sources of information on health and safety  17
1.6 The framework for health and safety management  18
1.7 Major occupational health and safety management systems  19
1.8 Other key characteristics of a health and safety management system  26
1.9 The benefits and problems associated with occupational health
and safety management systems  29
1.10 Sources of reference  29
1.11 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 1  29
Appendix 1.1  Scaffolds and ladders 31

2 POLICY  33
2.1 Introduction 34
2.2 ILO recommendations 34
2.3 Key elements of a health and safety policy 34
2.4 Review of health and safety policy 37
2.5 Sources of reference 39
2.6 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 2 39
Appendix 2.1  Health and Safety Policy checklist 40


3.1 Introduction 44
3.2 Control  44
3.3 Employers responsibilities  45
3.4 Employee responsibilities 47
3.5 Organizational health and safety responsibilities of directors  47
3.6 Typical managers’ organisational responsibilities  49
3.7 Role and functions of health and safety practitioners and other advisers  50
3.8 Persons in control of premises  51
3.9 Self-employed  51
3.10 The supply chain 52


3.11 Contractors 55
3.12 Joint occupation of premises 58
3.13 Consultation with the workforce 59
3.14 Sources of reference 60
3.15 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 3 60
Appendix 3.1  Detailed health and safety responsibilities 62
Appendix 3.2  Checklist for supply chain health and safety management 64


4.1 Introduction 68
4.2 Definition of a health and safety culture 68
4.3 ILO perspective on health and safety culture  68
4.4 Safety culture and safety performance 69
4.5 Human factors and their influence on safety performance 70
4.6 Human errors and violations 75
4.7 The development of a positive health and safety culture 77
4.8 Effective communication 79
4.9 Health and safety training  80
4.10 Internal influences 82
4.11 External influences 84
4.12 Sources of reference  85
4.13 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 4 85

5.1 Introduction 90
5.2 The need for risk assessment 90
5.3 Forms of risk assessment 91
5.4 Some definitions 91
5.5 The objectives of risk assessment 92
5.6 Accident categories 93
5.7 Health risks 93
5.8 The management of risk assessment 93
5.9 The risk assessment process 95
5.10 Special cases 98
5.11 Sources of reference 101
5.12 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 5 101
Appendix 5.1  Procedure for risk assessment and management (European Commission) 103
Appendix 5.2  Hazard checklist 103
Appendix 5.3  Example 1 - A UK-based risk assessment record 105
Appendix 5.4  Risk assessment example 2: Hairdressing salon 107
Appendix 5.5  Risk assessment example 3: Office cleaning  109


6.1 Introduction 112
6.2 General principles of prevention  112
6.3 General hierarchy of control measures 113
6.4 Controlling health risks 120
6.5 Safe systems of work 121
6.6 Development of safe systems 123
6.7 Lone workers and working abroad 125
6.8 Permits-to work 127
6.9 Emergency planning procedures 131
6.10 First-aid at work 133


6.11 Sources of reference 136

6.12 Practice NEBOSH Questions for Chapter 6 136
Appendix 6.1  Job safety analysis form 138
Appendix 6.2  Essential elements of a permit-to-work form 138
Appendix 6.3  Asbestos examples of safe systems of work 140
Appendix 6.4  International Travel Tips 142
Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries world-wide  144


7.1 Introduction 150
7.2 The traditional approach to measuring health and safety performance 151
7.3 Why measure performance? 151
7.4 What to measure 152
7.5 Proactive or active monitoring – how to measure performance 153
7.6 Measuring failure – reactive monitoring 155
7.7 Who should monitor performance? 155
7.8 Frequency of monitoring and inspections 156
7.9 Report writing 156
7.10 Review and audit  158
7.11 Sources of reference 161
7.12 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 7 161
Appendix 7.1  Workplace inspection exercises 163
Appendix 7.2  Specimen workplace inspection report form 165
Appendix 7.3  Workplace inspection checklist 166


8.1 Introduction 172
8.2 Reasons for incident/accident investigation 172
8.3 Which incidents/accidents should be investigated? 175
8.4 Investigations and causes of accidents/incidents 176
8.5 Organizational requirements for recording and reporting incidents 179
8.6 Organization level internal systems for collecting and analysing incident data 181
8.7 Compensation and insurance issues 182
8.8 Sources of reference 184
8.9 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 8 184
Appendix 8.1 ILO Code of Practice: Annex F: Classification of industrial accidents according
to the nature of the injury 186
Appendix 8.2  ILO Code of Practice: Annex G: Classification of industrial accidents according
to the bodily location of the injury 187
Appendix 8.3  ILO Code of Practice: Annex H: Classification of industrial accidents according
to type of accident 187
Appendix 8.4  ILO Code of Practice: Annex I: Classification of industrial accidents according to agency 188
Appendix 8.5  ILO Code of Practice: Annex B: Proposed list of occupational diseases 189


9.1 Introduction 194
9.2 Hazards to pedestrians 194
9.3 Control strategies for pedestrian hazards 196
9.4 Hazards in vehicle operations 199
9.5 Mobile work equipment 200
9.6 Safe driving 203
9.7 Control strategies for safe vehicle and mobile plant operations 203
9.8 The management of vehicle movements 204


9.9 Managing occupational road safety 204

9.10 Sources of reference 209
9.11 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 9 209


10.1 Introduction 212
10.2 Manual handling hazards and injuries 212
10.3 Manual handling risk assessments 213
10.4 ILO Recommendations on manual handling 217
10.5 Safety in the use of lifting and moving equipment 218
10.6 Types of mechanical handling and lifting equipment 219
10.7 The examination of lifting equipment 224
10.8 ILO Recommendations on the use of lifting equipment 226
10.9 Sources of reference 228
10.10 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 10 228
Appendix 10.1  Manual handling of loads: Assessment checklist 231
Appendix 10.2  A typical UK risk assessment for the use of lifting equipment  234


11.1 Introduction and types of equipment 236
11.2 Suitability of work equipment and basic safety standards 237
11.3 Use and maintenance of equipment with specific risks 238
11.4 Information, instruction and training 239
11.5 Maintenance and inspection 240
11.6 Operation and working environment 242
11.7 Operator responsibilities 245
11.8 Hand-held tools 245
11.9 Hand-held power tools 247
11.10 Mechanical machinery hazards 251
11.11 Non-mechanical machinery hazards 252
11.12 Examples of machinery hazards 252
11.13 Practical safeguards 255
11.14 Other safety devices 258
11.15 Application of safeguards to the range of machines 260
11.16 Guard construction 267
11.17 Sources of reference 268
11.18 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 11 268
Appendix 11.1  Machinery risk assessment 270


12.1 Introduction 274
12.2 Principles of electricity and some definitions 274
12.3 Electrical hazards and injuries 276
12.4 General control measures for electrical hazards 282
12.5 The selection and suitability of equipment 282
12.6 Inspection and maintenance strategies 284
12.7 Portable electrical appliances testing 286
12.8 Sources of reference  289
12.9 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 12 289


13.1 Introduction 292
13 2 Fire legislation and standards 292


13.3 ILO Standards 294

13.4 Basic principles of fire 295
13.5 Methods of extinguishing fire 296
13.6 Classification of fire 297
13.7 Principles of heat transmission and fire spread 297
13.8 Common causes of fire and consequences 299
13.9 Fire risk assessment 300
13.10 Dangerous substances 304
13.11 Fire detection and warning 307
13.12 Means of escape in case of fire 308
13.13 Principles of fire protection in buildings 310
13.14 Provision of fire fighting equipment 312
13.15 Inspection maintenance and testing of fire equipment 316
13.16 Fire emergency plans 316
13.17 People with special needs 318
13.18 Sources of reference 320
13.19 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 13  320
Appendix 13.1  Fire risk assessment as recommended in Fire Safety Guides published by
the UK Department for Communities and Local Government in 2006 322
Appendix 13.2  Example form for recording significant findings  324
Appendix 13.3  Typical fire notice 325
Appendix 13.4  Example fire safety maintenance checklist 325


14.1 Introduction 332
14.2 Forms of chemical agent 332
14.3 Forms of biological agent 333
14.4 Classification of hazardous substances and their associated health risks 333
14.5 Routes of entry to the human body 335
14.6 Health hazards of specific agents 339
14.7 ILO requirements to protect workers from chemical agents  342
14.8 Details of a hazardous substance assessment 343
14.9 The control measures required for hazardous substances 349
14.10 Health surveillance and personal hygiene 356
14.11 Further controls required to prevent exposure to a carcinogen, mutagen or substances
that cause asthma. 357
14.12 Maintenance and emergency controls 357
14.13 The transport of hazardous substances by road 357
14.14 An illustrative example using hazardous substance controls 358
14.15 Environmental considerations 358
14.16 Sources of reference 361
14.17 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 14 361
Appendix 14.1  A typical set of hazardous substance assessment forms 365
Appendix 14.2  Hazardous properties of waste  366
Appendix 14.3  EU Existing Risk Phrases  368
Appendix 14.4  EU Existing Safety Phrases 371
Appendix 14.5  GHS hazard (H) statements (health only) 374


15.1 Introduction 378
15.2 Task and workstation design 378
15.3 Welfare and work environment issues 388
15.4 Noise 390


15.5 Heat and radiation hazards 396

15.6 The causes and prevention of workplace stress 405
15.7 Causes and prevention of workplace violence 406
15.8 The effects of alcohol and drugs 409
15.9 Sources of reference 411
15.10 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 15 411
Appendix 15.1  Example of a Workstation Self-assessment Checklist 415
Appendix 15.2  Example of a noise assessment record form 418


16.1 Introduction 420
16.2 The scope of construction 420
16.3 Construction hazards and controls 421
16.4 The management of construction activities 429
16.5 Working above ground level or where there is a risk of falling 432
16.6 Excavations 440
16.7 Sources of reference 442
16.8 Practice NEBOSH questions for Chapter 16 442
Appendix 16.1  Scaffolds and ladders 444
Appendix 16.2  Inspection recording form with timing and frequency chart 445
Appendix 16.3  Checklist of typical scaffolding faults 449
Appendix 16.4  Recommendations for excavation work in the ILO Code of Practice ‘Safety
and health in construction’ 450

17.1 ILO international conventions on OSH 452
17.2 Typical OSH legal frameworks in the USA, EU and UK 458
17.3 National implementing legislation 464
17.4 Common themes in national legislation 514
Appendix 17.1  Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work 520
Appendix 17.2  ILO - C155 Occupational Safety and Health Convention,1981  522


18.1 Introduction  528
18.2 Find a place to study  528
18.3 Make a study plan  528
18.4 Blocked thinking 528
18.5 Taking notes 528
18.6 Reading for study  529
18.7 Free learning resources from the Open University  529
18.8 Organizing for revision 529
18.9 Organizing information  530
18.10 How does memory work? 531
18.11 How to deal with exams  532
18.12 The examiners’ reports 533
18.13 Conclusion 534
18.14 References 534



19.1 Introduction 536
19.2 The written examinations 536
19.3 Hand drawn sketches 541
19.4 IGC3 – the practical application 541
Appendix 19.1  The practical assessment  546


20.1 Introduction 554
20.2 How to search the internet effectively 554
20.3 For-a-fee searches 556
20.4 Don’t forget the phone book 556
20.5 Privacy issues 556
20.6 Some useful websites 556


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About the authors

Phil Hughes MBE is a well-known UK safety professional with over 40 years‘ world-
wide experience as Head of Environment, Health and Safety at two large multina-
tional companies, Courtaulds and Fisons. Phil started work in health and safety in
the Factory Inspectorate at the Derby District in 1969 and moved to Courtaulds in
1974. He joined IOSH in that year and became Chairman of the Midland Branch,
then National Treasurer and was President in 1990–1991. Phil has been very active
in the NEBOSH Board for over 10 years and served as Chairman from 1995 to 2001.
He is also a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and
has lectured widely throughout the world. Phil received the RoSPA Distinguished
Service Award in May 2001 and became a Director and Trustee of RoSPA in 2003. He
received an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2005 for services to Health and Safety.

Ed Ferrett is an experienced health and safety consultant who has practised for
over 22 years. With a PhD and Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from
Nottingham University, Ed spent 30 years in higher and further education, retiring as
the Head of the Faculty of Technology of Cornwall College in 1993. Since then he has
been an independent consultant to several public and private sector organizations
including construction businesses and the Regional Health and Safety Adviser for
the Government Office (West Midlands), and was Chair of West of Cornwall Primary
Care NHS Trust for 6 years until 2006.
Ed has been a member of the NEBOSH Board since 1995 and was Vice Chair from
1999 to 2008. He has delivered many health and safety courses and is a ­lecturer in
NEBOSH courses at the Cornwall Business School and for other course providers. He
has recently been appointed as the External Examiner for the MSc course in Health
and Safety at a UK University and a Reporting Inspector for Independent Further
and Higher Education with the British Accreditation Council. Ed is a Chartered Engi-
neer and a Chartered Member of IOSH.

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How to use this book
and what it covers

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work is basically designed to:

  1. cover the syllabus of the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and other
level 3 OSH awards;
  2. go beyond the NEBOSH syllabus in covering occupational road risks;
  3. provide a good basis in OSH for students who wish to progress to the NEBOSH Diploma or a University first or second
  4. provide a text which more than covers the IOSH Managing Safely syllabus or other similar awards;
  5. show the reader how some major OSH frameworks cover the subject including the USA, Europe and the UK;
  6. give summaries of national OSH legislation from 21 countries particularly where there are the most candidates for the
IGC courses;
  7. help students study, revise and sit the examinations;
  8. provide guidance to students who carry out the practical assessment
  9. provide guidance for searching the internet and supplying a range of significant web sites;
10. provide a good updated reference text for managers with OSH responsibilities and OSH practitioners in industry and

We expect the book to be used as a basis for training, and as further reference when students are back in their own work-
places. We believe that all questions can be answered from the material in the book but we would also urge students to
study some of the documents given as reference sources at the end of each chapter. Also, it would be advantageous to visit
some of the web sites where further detailed guidance is available.
Figure X.1 shows an overview of occupational health and safety and how it fits with the NEBOSH International General

How to use this book and what it covers

Figure X.1 Health and safety overview and link to NEBOSH IGC syllabus.

Managing things NEBOSH Unit IGC1 Managing people

Management of Health
and Safety at Work
Foundations: Chapter 1 Foundations: Chapter 1

Policy: Chapter 2 Organizing: Chapter 3

Why ?
Principles of control: Chapter 6 Moral Legal Economic Principles of control: Chapter 6
Monitoring and audit: Chapter 7 Chapter 1 Monitoring and audit: Chapter 7

Investigation of incidents: Chapter 8 Investigation of incidents: Chapter 8

Safe Workplace Safe Person

Construction activities:
Psychological health hazards
Physical health hazards;
PPE: Chapter 14&15
Control of
Manual handling: Chapter 10
Fire hazards: Chapter 13 Workplace Hazards
Movement of people: Chapter 9
Electrical hazards; Chapter 12

Work equipment: Chapter11

Technical Control Measures NEBOSH Unit IGC1 People Control Measures

How to use this book and what it covers

The NEBOSH IGC syllabus is divided into 3 units. Each of the first two units is further divided into a number of elements.

Table X.1  Syllabus for the NEBOSH International General Certificate

Element No Chapter Title Recommended

Study Hours
Unit IGC1 Management of International Health and Safety
1 1 Foundations in health & safety 6
2 2 Policy 3
3 3 Organizing for health & safety 3
4 4 Promoting a positive health & safety culture 4
5 5 Risk assessment 6
6 6 Principles of control 5
7 8 Monitoring, review and audit 6
8 8 Occupational incident and accident investigation, recording 4
and reporting
Minimum total tuition time for Unit IGC2 37
Recommended private study time for IGC2 23
Unit IGC2 Control of international workplace hazards
1 1 Movement of people and vehicles hazards and control 4
2 2 Manual and mechanical handling hazards and control 5
3 3 Working equipment hazards and control 6
4 4 Electrical hazards and control 3
5 5 Fire hazards and control 6
6 6 Chemical and biological health hazards and control 7
7 7 Physical and psychological health hazards and control 6
8 8 Construction activities - hazards and control 6
Minimum total tuition time for Unit IGC2 43
Recommended private study time for IGC2 26
Minimum total tuition time 80
Recommended private study time 49
For more detail see the NEBOSH syllabus guide at www.nebosh.org.uk

How to use this book and what it covers

Fig X.2 Chapters in this book which cover the NEBOSH International General Certificate Syllabus

How to use this book and what it covers

Figure X.3 Chapters 17-20

The extra chapters in figure X.2 are designed to help the student understand their own OSH legislation. There is information on how to study, the standard
for NEBOSH answers, how to research the internet and essential web sites for OSH information.
There is also a companion web site <site to come> where copies of the forms in WORD are available for down loading. Many of the illustrations are also
available for downloading and use in training materials.

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The authors would like to thank NEBOSH for giving them permission to use past examination questions.
At the end of each chapter, there are some examination questions taken from recent NEBOSH National General Certifi-
cate papers. Some of the questions may include topics which are covered in more than one chapter. The answers to these
questions are to be found within the preceding chapter of the book. NEBOSH publishes a very full examiners’ report after
each public examination which gives further information on each question. Most accredited NEBOSH training centres will
have copies of these reports and further copies may be purchased directly from NEBOSH
The authors’ grateful thanks go to Liz Hughes and Jill Ferrett for proof reading and patience and their administrative
help during the preparation of this edition. The authors are particularly grateful to Liz for the excellent study guide that
she has written for all NEBOSH students, which is included at the end of this book and for the section on report writing
(Section 7.9). Liz gained an honours degree in psychology at the University of Warwick, later going on to complete a
­Master’s degree at the same university. She taught psychology in further and higher education, where most of her students
were either returning to education after a gap of many years, or were taking a course to augment their existing professional
skills. She went on to qualify as a social worker specializing in mental health, and later moved into the voluntary sector
where she managed development for a number of years. Liz then helped to set up and manage training for the National
­Schizophrenia Fellowship (now called Rethink) in the Midlands.
We would also like to acknowledge the contribution made by Hannah Ferrett for the help that she gave during the
research for the book and with some of the word processing. The advice given on the specimen practical application and
risk assessments (Appendices 5.4 and 5.5) by John Tremelling, Health and Safety Consultant from Penzance, is also grate-
fully acknowledged.
We would like to thank Teresa Budworth, the Chief Executive of NEBOSH, for her support and the team at Elsevier who
have worked hard to translate our dream into reality.

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List of principal abbreviations

Most abbreviations are defined within the text. Abbreviations are not always used if it is not appropriate within the
particular context of the sentence. The most commonly used ones are as follows:

ACL Approved carriage list

ACM Asbestos-containing material
ACOP Approved Code of Practice
ACPO Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
AIB Asbestos Insulation Board
ALARP As low as reasonably practicable
APAU Accident Prevention Advisory Unit, now Operations Unit
ARCA Asbestos Removal Contractors Association
BA Breathing apparatus
BAT Best available techniques
BRE Building Research Establishment
BSI British Standards Institution
CAR Control of Asbestos Regulations
CBI Confederation of British Industry
CD Consultative document
CDM Construction (Design and Management) Regulations
CECA The Civil Engineering Contractors Association
CEN Comite Europeen de Normalisation
CENELEC Comite Europeen de Normalisation Electrotechnique
CHIP Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging) Regulations
CIB Chartered Institute of Building
CIRA Construction Industry Research and Information Association
CLAW Control of Lead at Work Regulations
CONIAC Construction Industry Advisory Committee
COPFS Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
CORGI Council for Registered Gas Installers
COSHH Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations
COSLA Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
dB(A) Decibel (A-weighted)
dB(C) Decibel (C-weighted)
DSE Display screen equipment
DSEAR Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations
DWP Department for Work and Pensions
E&W England and Wales
EAV Exposure action value

List of principal abbreviations

EC European Community
ELV Exposure limit value
EMAS Employment Medical Advisory Service
EPA Environmental Protection Act 1990
EU European Union
FSA Financial Services Authority
FSB Federation of Small Businesses
HAV Hand–arm vibration
HGV Heavy goods vehicle
HIE Highlands and Islands Enterprise
HOPE Healthcare, Occupational and Primary for Employees
HSAC Health and Safety Advice Centre
HSCER Health and Safety (Consultation with Employers) Regulations
HSE Health and Safety Executive
HSL Health and Safety Laboratory
HSW Act Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
HWL Healthy Working Lives
IAC Industry Advisory Committee
ILO International Labour Office
IOSH Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
LBRO Local Better Regulation Office
LEAL Lower exposure action level
LOLER Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
LPG Liquefied petroleum gas
MCG The Major Contractors Group
MEL Maximum exposure limit
MHOR Manual Handling Operations Regulations
MHSW Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
MORR Management of Occupational Road Risk
MoT Ministry of Transport (still used for vehicle tests)
NAWR Control of Noise at Work Regulations
NEBOSH National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health
NVQ National Vocational Qualification
OHSAS Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series
OSH Occupational Safety and Health
PF Procurator Fiscal
PHASS The Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland
POOSH Scotland Professional Organizations in Occupational Safety & Health
PPE Personal protective equipment
ppm Parts per million
PUWER The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
RCD Residual current device
REACH Registration Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals
RES Representative(s) of employee safety
RIDDOR The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
RoSPA Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
RPE Respiratory protective equipment
RRFSO Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order
RTA Road traffic accident
SaHW Safe and Healthy Working
SBSA Scottish Building Standards Agency
ScotPHO Scottish Public Health Observatory

List of principal abbreviations

SCVO Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations

SE Scottish Executive
SEPA Scottish Environment Protection Agency
SHAW Scotland’s Health at Work
SPL Sound pressure level
STEL Short-term exposure limit
STUC Scottish Trades Union Congress
SWL Safe working load
SWP Safe working pressure
TLV Threshold limit value
TUC Trades Union Congress
TWA Time-weighted average
UEAL Upper exposure action level
UK United Kingdom
VAWR Vibration at Work Regulations
WAHR Work at Height Regulations
WBV Whole body vibration
WEL Workplace exposure limit
WHO World Health Organization
WRULD Work-related upper limb disorder

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Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Health and safety

foundations 1
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Outline the scope and nature of occupational health and


nn Explain briefly the moral, social and economic reasons for

maintaining and promoting good standards of health and
safety in the workplace

nn Outline the role of national governments and

international bodies in formulating a framework for the
regulation of health and safety

nn Identify the nature and key sources of health and safety


nn Outline the key elements of a health and safety

management system

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

 1.1    Introduction

ccupational health and safety is relevant to all ää report publicly on health and safety issues within their
branches of industry, business and commerce organization, including their performance against
including traditional industries, information tech- targets.
nology companies, hospitals, care homes, schools, univer-
sities, leisure facilities and offices. The HSE believes that effective management of health
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the and safety:
foundations on which appropriate health and safety
ää is vital to employee well-being;
management systems may be built. Occupational
ää has a role to play in enhancing the reputation of busi-
health and safety affects all aspects of work. In a low
nesses and helping them achieve high-performance
hazard organization, health and safety may be super-
vised by a single competent manager. In a high hazard
ää is financially beneficial to business.
manufacturing plant, many different specialists, such
as engineers (electrical, mechanical and civil), lawyers, The need for a global approach to occupational health
medical doctors and nurses, trainers, work planners and and safety management was recognized as a logical and
supervisors, may be required to assist the professional necessary response to increasing economic globaliza-
health and safety practitioner in ensuring that there tion, while the benefits of systematic models of manag-
are satisfactory health and safety standards within the ing occupational health and safety became apparent as a
organization. result of the impact of ISO standards for quality and the
There are many obstacles in the way of achieving environment. Current management science theories sug-
good standards. The pressure of production or perfor- gest that performance is better in all areas of business,
mance targets, financial constraints and the complexity of including occupational health and safety, if it is measured
the organization are typical examples of such obstacles. and continuous improvement sought in an organized
However, there are some powerful incentives for organiza- fashion. Successful management of health and safety is
tions to strive for high health and safety standards. These a top priority throughout the world and for this reason a
incentives are moral, legal and economic. comparison of the three major occupational health and
Corporate responsibility, a term used extensively in safety management systems is covered in this chapter.
the 21st century world of work, covers a wide range of The International Labour Organization (ILO), the
issues. It includes the effects that an organization’s busi- World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations
ness has on the environment, human rights and Third (UN) have estimated that there are 270 million occupa-
World poverty. Health and safety in the workplace is an tional accidents and 160 million occupational diseases
important corporate responsibility issue. every year throughout the world – and these are recog-
Corporate responsibility has various definitions. nized as relatively conservative estimates due to probable
However, broadly speaking, it covers the ways in which under-reporting. The ILO estimates that 2 million people
organizations manage their core business to add social, die each year as a result of occupational accidents and
environmental and economic value in order to produce a work-related diseases. Table 1.1 shows the global numbers
positive, sustainable impact on both society and the busi- in more detail.
ness itself. Terms, such as ‘corporate social responsibility’, In the USA in 2002, approximately 2 million workers
‘socially responsible business’ and ‘corporate citizenship’, were victims of workplace violence. In the UK, 1.7% of
all refer to this concept. working adults (357 000 workers) were the victims of one
The UK Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) mission is or more incidents of workplace violence.
to ensure that the risks to health and safety of workers are Ten per cent of all skin cancers are estimated to be
properly controlled. In terms of corporate responsibility, it attributable to workplace exposure to hazardous sub-
is working to encourage organizations to: stances. Thirty seven per cent of miners in Latin America
have silicosis, rising to 50% among miners over fifty years
ää improve health and safety management systems to of age. In India 54.6% of slate pencil workers and 36.2% of
reduce injuries and ill-health; stone cutters have silicosis.
ää demonstrate the importance of health and safety In the course of the 20th century, industrialized coun-
issues at board level; tries saw a clear decrease in serious injuries, not least

Health and safety foundations

The size of the health and safety ‘problem’ in terms of

Table 1.1 Numbers of global work-related numbers of work-related fatalities and injuries and inci-
adverse events dence of ill-health varies from country to country. How-
ever, these figures should be available from the statistics
Average branch of the national regulator, similar to their availability
Event (daily) Annually in the UK from the annual report on health and safety sta-
tistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Work-related 5000 2 000 000
   1.2      Some basic definitions
Work-related 60 22 000
deaths of children
Before a detailed discussion of health and safety issues
Work-related 740 000 270 000 000 can take place, some basic occupational health and safety
accidents definitions are required.

Work-related 438 000 160 000 000 ää Health – The protection of the bodies and minds of
diseases people from illness resulting from the materials, pro-
cesses or procedures used in the workplace.
ää Safety – The protection of people from physical injury.
Hazardous 1205 440 000
The borderline between health and safety is ill-defined
substance deaths
and the two words are normally used together to indi-
cate concern for the physical and mental well-being of
Asbestos-related 274 100 000 the individual at the place of work.
deaths ää Welfare – The provision of facilities to maintain the
(Source: ILO) health and well-being of individuals at the workplace.
Welfare facilities include washing and sanitation
because of real advances in making the workplace health- arrangements, the provision of drinking water, heat-
ier and safer. The challenge is to extend the benefits of this ing, lighting, accommo-dation for clothing, seating
experience to the whole working world. However, 1984 (when required by the work activity or for rest), eating
saw the worst chemical disaster ever when 2500 people and rest rooms. First-aid arrangements are also con-
were killed, and over 200 000 injured, in the space of a sidered as welfare facilities.
few hours at Bhopal. This affected not only the workers, ää Occupational or work-related ill-health – This is
but also their families, their neighbours and whole com- concerned with those illnesses or physical and men-
munities. More than twenty years later many people are tal disorders that are either caused or triggered by
still affected by the disaster and are dying as a result. The workplace activities. Such conditions may be induced
rusting remains of a once-magnificent plant exists as a by the particular work activity of the individual or
reminder of the disaster. by activities of others in the workplace. They may
Experience has shown that a strong safety culture is be either physiological or psychological or a combi-
beneficial for workers, employers and governments alike. nation of both. The time interval between exposure
Various prevention techniques have proved themselves and the onset of the illness may be short (e.g. asthma
effective, both in avoiding workplace accidents and ill- attacks) or long (e.g. deafness or cancer).
nesses and improving business performance. Today’s high ää Environmental protection – These are the arrange-
standards in some countries are a direct result of long-term ments to cover those activities in the workplace which
policies encouraging tripartite social dialogue, collective affect the environment (in the form of flora, fauna,
bargaining between trade unions and employers, and water, air and soil) and, possibly, the health and safety
effective health and safety legislation backed by potent of employees and others. Such activities include waste
labour inspection. The ILO believes that safety manage- and effluent disposal and atmospheric pollution.
ment systems like ILO-OSH 2001 provide a powerful tool ää Accident – This is defined by the UK Health and Safety
for developing a sustainable safety and health culture at Executive (HSE) as ‘any unplanned event that results
the enterprise level and mechanisms for the continual in injury or ill-health of people, or damage or loss to
improvement of the working environment. property, plant, materials or the environment or a loss

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

of a business opportunity’. Other authorities define an

1.3.1  Moral reasons
accident more narrowly by excluding events that do
not involve injury or ill-health. This book will always The moral reasons are supported by the occupational
use the HSE definition. It is important to note that accident and disease rates. The ILO estimates that glob-
work-related accidents may not always occur at the ally some 2.2 million people have work-related accidents
place of work. Commuting accidents occur during or contract work-related diseases every year. There are
work-related travel (usually by road). around 270 million occupational accidents and 160 mil-
ää Near miss – This is any incident that could have resulted lion victims of work-related illnesses annually.
in an accident. Knowledge of near misses is very According to the ILO, deaths due to work-related acci-
important as research has shown that, a­ pproximately, dents and illnesses represent 3.9 per cent of all deaths and
for every 10 ‘near miss’ events at a particular location 15 per cent of the world’s population suffers a minor or
in the workplace, a minor accident will occur. major occupational accident or work-related disease in
ää Dangerous occurrence – This is a ‘near miss’ which any one year. A large number of the unemployed – up to
could have led to serious injury or loss of life. Speci- 30 per cent – report that they suffer from an injury or dis-
fied dangerous occurrences are always reportable to ease dating from the time at which they were employed.
the enforcement authorities. Examples include the The number of fatal occupational accidents, especially in
collapse of a scaffold or a crane or the failure of any Asia and Latin America, is increasing.
passenger carrying equipment. The main (preventable) factors for accidents are:
ää Hazard and risk – A hazard is the potential of a sub-
ää Lack of a preventative safety and health culture;
stance, person, activity or process to cause harm.
ää Poor management systems;
Hazards take many forms including, for example,
ää Poor supervision and enforcement by the government.
chemicals, electricity and working from a ladder. A
hazard can be ranked relative to other hazards or to a
possible level of danger. A risk is the likelihood of a sub- Accident rates
stance, activity or process to cause harm and its result- An employee should not have to risk injury or death at
ing severity. A risk can be reduced and the hazard can work, nor should others associated with the work environ-
be eliminated or controlled by good management. ment. Accidents at work can lead to serious injury and even
death. Although accident rates are discussed in greater
It is very important to distinguish between a hazard detail in later chapters, some trends are shown in Tables
and a risk – the two terms are often confused and activi- 1.2–1.5. A major accident is a serious accident typically
ties such as construction work are frequently called high involving a fracture of a limb or a 24-hour stay in a hospital.
risk when they are high hazard. Although the hazard will An ‘over 3-day accident’ is an accident which leads to more
continue to be high, the risks will be reduced as controls than 3 days absence from the workplace. Statistics are col-
are implemented. The level of risk remaining when con- lected on all people who are injured at places of work, not
trols have been adopted is known as the residual risk. just employees. A certain amount of caution must be used
There should only be high residual risk where there is poor when quoting global workplace accident/incident data
health and safety management and inadequate control due to the significant level of under-reporting in many
measures. countries.
Table 1.2 gives statistics for various countries and a
fuller version can be found in Chapter 17. Table 1.3 shows
   1.3      Moral, social and economic the distribution of the 351 000 fatal occupational injuries
and fatality incidence rates around the major global eco-
reasons for maintaining and nomic geographical areas in 2001.
promoting good standards Table 1.4 compares the number of fatalities due to
of health and safety in the work-related accidents and diseases for the same eco-
nomic areas. Table 1.5 shows the top eight causes of work-
workplace related fatalities across the world.
Commuting accidents are often included in work-
The reasons for establishing good occupational health related fatality statistics as recommended by the ILO. Vari-
and safety standards are frequently identified as moral, ous researchers have estimated that approximately 30%
social (and/or legal) and economic. Each will be discussed of all global work-related accidents are due to commuting
in turn. accidents. A study for the ILO has estimated that there are

Health and safety foundations

Figure 1.1  At work.

approximately 350 000 work-related fatalities annually, of related disease. The ILO has estimated there to be 160
which 160 000 are due to fatal commuting accidents. million incidents of work-related disease each year. This
It can be seen from these tables that the fatality rates estimate is reasonable for the 2.8 billion global work force,
are much lower in the developed or established market if non-recorded, part-time, child and other informal sector
economies than under-developed or emerging econo- workers are taken into account.
mies of Asia and South America. It is, however, important Hazardous substances kill about 438 000 workers
to stress that many of the hazardous industries have re- annually; asbestos alone claims 100 000 lives. Most of the
located from the developed to the emerging economies. other deaths are due to various forms of cancer. Another
major killer is silicosis, which affects 37 per cent of miners
Disease rates in Latin America.
Work-related ill-health and occupational disease can lead Accident rates amongst female workers are different
to absence from work and, in some cases, to death. Such to those of male workers. ILO research appears to show
occurrences may also lead to costs to the State (such as that even in the same jobs, women tend to adopt more
Industrial Injuries Schemes) and to individual employers ­preventive and protective ways of carrying out work.
(sick pay and, possibly, compensation payments). On the other hand, with large numbers of women work-
Diseases related to work cause the most deaths ing in agriculture in developing countries, they are par-
among workers. Of the 2.2 million work-related deaths a ticularly vulnerable to communicable diseases, such as
year, 1.7 million – or nearly four-fifths – are due to work- work-related malaria, hepatitis, schistosomiasis (infection

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Table 1.2  Estimates of work-related occupational accidents and diseases for several countries in 2002

Country Labour Force ILO Estimate of Fatal Fatal accidents

Accidents (2002) per 100 000 (2002)

Australia 9 796 300 236 2.40

Brazil 83 000 000 11 304 13.62

Canada 16 200 000 899 5.55

China 737 000 000 73 595 9.99

EU 224 050 000 11 369 5.07

Egypt 19 200 000 3 884 20.23

India 443 000 000 48 176 10.87

Korea (South) 22 100 000 3148 14.24

Malaysia 9 600 000 1578 16.44

Nigeria 51 600 000 9631 18.66

Philippines 33 300 000 6019 18.08

Russian Federation 63 600 000 6974 10.97

Saudi Arabia 5 800 000 1096 18.90

South Africa 11 300 000 2643 23.39

Trinidad and Tobago 572 000 92 16.08

UK 27 200 000 225 0.83

USA 141 800 000 6821 4.81

World 2001 2 848 000 000 351 000 12.32

World 2003 2 941 000 000 358 000 12.17

(Source: ILO)

Health and safety foundations

ILO average estimate 3 day accidents per Deaths: work-related Total death: disease+
of 3 day plus lost time 100 000 diseases accidents+ dangerous
accidents substances

180 486 1842 6634 8133

11 366 000 13 694 44 375 70 133

789 000 4870 10 962 14 206

68 692 000 9320 414 024 597 279

4 340 000 1937 50 279 79 606

2 245 000 11 693 26 175 34 500

30 627 000 6914 325 350 432 572

1 542 000 6977 11 665 16 439

920 000 9583 5279 7682

7 167 000 13 890 68 747 92 512

4 269 000 12 820 16 658 26 356

1 786 000 2808 60 040 78 561

632 000 10 897 8660 11 243

1 455 000 12 876 15 102 20 139

70 999 12 412 302 462

180 000 662 20 522 24 339

5 069 000 3575 98 210 124 133

268 000 000 9410 2 033 000 2 380 000

337 000 000 11 458 1 950 000 2 310 000

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

28 million working days lost, compared to 6 million due

Table 1.3  Distribution of fatal occupational to workplace injury. Over the last 3 years, 5700 cases have
injuries and incidence rates around the world been assessed for industrial injuries disablement benefit.
(2001) The largest groups were vibration white finger, carpal tun-
nel syndrome and respiratory diseases. 8.8 million working
Region Percentage Fatal days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders causing
share accidents each sufferer to have, on average, 21 days off work. 13.5
of fatal per 100 000 million working days were lost due to stress, depression
injuries workers and anxiety causing each sufferer to have, on average, 31
days off work. Recent research has shown that one in five
Established 5 4.5 people who are on sickness leave from work for 6 weeks
Market will stay off work permanently, leaving paid employment.
Economies The WHO has estimated that 37% of low back pain,
16% of hearing loss, 13% of chronic obstructive pulmo-
Former 5 13.0 nary disease, 11% of asthma, and 8% of injuries are related
Socialist to workplace activities.
1.3.2  Social reasons
India 11 11.0
In all countries, employers owe a duty of care to each of
China 26 10.0 their employees and others that might be affected by
their undertaking, such as contractors and members of
the public. This duty must not be assigned to others, even
Other Asia and 22 20.5
if a consultant is employed to advise on health and safety
matters or if the employees are sub-contracted to work
with another employer. This duty may be sub-divided into
Sub-Saharan 15 21.0 five groups. Employers must:
1. p rovide a safe place of work, including access and
Latin-America 11 15.0 egress;
and Caribbean 2. provide safe plant and equipment;
3. provide a safe system of work;
Middle 5 17.0 4. provide safe and competent fellow employees; and
Eastern 5. provide adequate levels of supervision, information,
Crescent instruction and training.
The requirement to provide competent fellow
WORLD 100 employees includes the provision of adequate ­supervision,
instruction and training. In many countries, employers are
(Source: ILO)
responsible for the actions of their employees (vicarious
liability) provided that the action in question took place
by a water-borne parasite) and other bacterial, viral and during the normal course of their employment.
vector-borne diseases. While men are more likely to be Employer duties (see Section 1.4.3) are often mirrored
involved in fatal accidents and other work-related deaths, in national legislation and apply even if the employee is
the everyday burden of muscular-skeletal disorders, stress, working at a third party premises or if he/she has been
and violence hits women hard, but the outcome may often hired by the employer to work for another employer. These
be long-term disabilities rather than death. employer responsibilities indicate clear social reasons for
In many countries, accident figures are reasonably- sound health and safety management systems to protect
well reported but the same cannot be said for occupa- employees, members of the public and, in some cases, the
tional or work-related diseases. general environment.
In the UK during 2007/08, there were an estimated Occupational health and safety requirements may be
2.1 million people suffering from work-related illness, of reinforced in national civil law and/or criminal law as many
whom 563 000 were new cases in that year. This led to countries accept that without the extra ­‘encouragement’

Health and safety foundations

Table 1.4  Global estimates of work-related fatalities caused by occupational accidents and work- related
diseases for 2001

Region Economically Fatal Fatal Total

active population occupational work-related work-related
accidents diseases fatalities

Established Market 419 732 002 15 879 281 364 297 243

Former Socialist 183 089 714 17 416 148 194 165 610

India 443 860 000 40 133 261 891 302 024

China 740 703 800 90 295 386 645 476 940

Other Asia and Islands 415 527 598 76 886 178 786 255 672

Sub-Saharan Africa 279 680 390 53 292 211 262 264 554

Latin-America 219 083 179 39 372 108 195 147 567

and Caribbean

Middle Eastern Crescent 135 220 721 17 977 120 725 138 702

World 2 836 897 404 351 251 1 697 061 2 048 312
(Source: ILO)

of potential regulatory action or litigation, many Costs of accidents

­organizations would not act upon their implied moral Any accident or incidence of ill-health will cause both
obligations. direct and indirect costs and incur an insured and an unin-
sured cost. It is important that all of these costs are taken
into account when the full cost of an accident is calculated.
“… Prevention is paying not only in human terms but also
in better performance by businesses and national In a study undertaken by the UK HSE, it was shown that
economic strength. Together we can make sure that indirect costs or hidden costs could be 36 times greater
decent work is safe work ...”. than direct costs of an accident. In other words, the direct
costs of an accident or disease represent the tip of the ice-
(Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand)
berg when compared to the overall costs (Figure 1.3).
Figure 1.2  Economic reasons for good health and safety In 2000, the European Union estimated that the
management cost of occupational accidents among the Member
States (15 at that time) was 55 billion Euro each year.
This was probably an underestimate and did not cover
the costs of work-related diseases. It further sug-
1.3.3  Economic reasons gested that the costs due to work-related diseases
Poor occupational health and safety performance results may be twice as high as that caused by accidents at
in additional costs to both public and private sectors of work. The ILO has estimated that there were 120 000
the economy of a country. annual deaths in the EU in 2000 caused by work-

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Accident Iceberg

Insured costs
Injury, ill health

Uninsured costs
Product and material damage
£8-36 Legal costs
Emergency supplies
Cleaning up site
Production delays
Temporary labour
Lost orders
Investigation time
Loss of expertise etc.

Figure 1.3  Insured and uninsured costs.

related ­d iseases, compared to 6000 fatal occupational

accidents during the same timeframe. Table 1.5  Causes of global work-related fatalities
in 2005
Direct costs
These are costs which are directly related to the accident Fatality cause Percentage
and may be insured or uninsured. Insured direct costs nor- share (%)
mally include:
Cancer 32
ää claims on employers and public liability insurance;
ää damage to buildings, equipment or vehicles; Cardiovascular 23
ää any attributable production and/or general business
Accidents and violence 19
ää the absence of employees.

Uninsured direct costs include: Contagious diseases 17

ää fines resulting from prosecution by the enforcement Respiratory system 7

ää sick pay; Psychological disorders 1
ää some damage to product, equipment, vehicles or
process not directly attributable to the accident (e.g. Digestive system 1
caused by replacement staff );
ää increases in insurance premiums resulting from the Uro-genital system 0.4
ää any compensation not covered by the insurance pol- (Source: ILO)
icy due to an excess agreed between the employer
and the insurance company; Again these may be insured or uninsured. Insured indirect
ää legal representation following any compensation claim. costs include:

Indirect costs ää a cumulative business loss;

These are costs which may not be directly attributable ää product or process liability claims;
to the accident but may result from a series of accidents. ää recruitment of replacement staff.

Health and safety foundations

Uninsured indirect costs include: to settle a claim and only 10% of claimants ever see any
ää loss of goodwill and a poor corporate image;
No-fault compensation systems are available in
ää accident investigation time and any subsequent
many parts of the world, in particular New Zealand and
remedial action required;
some states of the USA. In these systems, amounts of
ää production delays;
compensation are agreed centrally at a national or state
ää extra overtime payments;
level according to the type and severity of the injury. The
ää lost time for other employees, such as first-aid staff,
compensation is often in the form of a structured contin-
who tend to the needs of the injured person;
uous award rather than a lump sum and may be awarded
ää the recruitment and training of replacement staff;
in the form of a service, such as nursing care, rather
ää additional administration time incurred;
than cash.
ää first-aid provision and training;
The no-fault concept was first examined in the 1930s
ää lower employee morale possibly leading to reduced
in the USA to achieve the award of compensation quickly
in motor car accident claims without the need for litiga-
Some of these items, such as business loss, may be tion. It was introduced first in the state of Massachusetts in
uninsurable or too prohibitively expensive to insure. 1971 and is now mandatory in nine other states, although
Therefore, insurance policies can never cover all of the several other states have either repealed or modified no-
costs of an accident or disease because either some items fault schemes.
are not covered by the policy or the insurance excess is In 1978, the Pearson Commission in the UK rejected a
greater than the particular item cost. no-fault system for dealing with clinical negligence even
though it acknowledged that the existing tort system was
Employers’ liability insurance costly, cumbersome and prone to delay. Its principal rea-
In many countries, employers are required to take out sons for rejection were given as the difficulties in review-
employers’ liability insurance to cover their liability in ing the existing tort liability system and in determining
the event of accidents and work-related ill-health to the causes of injuries.
­employees and others who may be affected by their oper- In New Zealand, there was a general dissatisfaction
ations. This ensures that any employee, who successfully with the workers’ compensation scheme, which was
sues his/her employer following an accident, is assured of similar to the adversarial fault-based system used in
receiving compensation irrespective of the financial posi- Australia and the UK. In 1974, a no-fault accident com-
tion of the employer. pensation system was introduced and administered by
Many countries have either fault or no-fault compen- the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). This fol-
sation schemes for workers involved in accidents. Knowl- lowed the publication of the Woodhouse Report in 1966
edge of these schemes is important for those who work in which advocated 24-hour accident cover for everybody
more than one country. in New Zealand. The Woodhouse Report suggested the
following five principles for any national compensation
Fault and no-fault injury compensation system:
In the UK, compensation for an injury following an acci-
ää community responsibility;
dent is achieved by means of a successful legal action in
ää comprehensive entitlement irrespective of income or
a civil court. In such cases, injured employees sue their
job status;
employer for negligence and the employer is found liable
ää complete rehabilitation for the injured party;
or at fault. This approach to compensation is adversarial,
ää real compensation for the injured party; and
costly and can deter injured individuals of limited means
ää administrative efficiency of the compensation
from pursuing their claim. In a recent medical negligence
claim in Ireland, costs were awarded against a couple who
were acting on behalf of their disabled son, and they were The proposed scheme was to be financed by channel-
faced with a bill for £3 million. ling all accident insurance premiums to one national orga-
The spiralling cost of insurance premiums to cover nization (the ACC).
the increasing level and number of compensation awards, The advantages of a no-fault compensation scheme
despite the Woolfe reforms in the UK (see Chapter 8), has include:
led to another debate on the introduction of a ­no-fault
compensation system. It has been estimated that in 1. A
 ccident claims are settled much quicker than in fault
medical negligence cases, it takes, on average, six years schemes.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

2. A ccident reporting rates will improve. s­ ociety. Long hours, unsafe, unhygienic and dangerous
3. Accidents become much easier to investigate because conditions were common in low-paid manufacturing
blame is no longer an issue. careers. Indeed, in the wake of the Russian Revolution,
4. Normal disciplinary procedures within an organiza- there was concern that such working conditions could
tion or through a professional body are unaffected lead to social unrest and even other revolutions. The ILO
and can be used if the accident resulted from negli- was created as a tripartite with governments, employers
gence on the part of an individual. and workers represented on its governing body.
5. More funds are available from insurance premiums The ILO formulates international labour standards and
for the injured party and less used in the judicial and attempts to establish minimum rights including freedom
administrative process. of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining,
abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and
The possible disadvantages of a no-fault compensa- treatment and other standards that regulate conditions
tion system are: across all work-related activities.
Representatives of all ILO Member States meet annu-
1. T here is often an increase in the number of claims,
ally in Geneva for the International Labour Conference,
some of which may not be justified.
acting as a forum where social and labour questions of
2. There is a lack of direct accountability of managers
importance to the entire world are discussed. At this con-
and employers for accidents.
ference, labour standards are adopted and decisions made
3. Mental injury and trauma are often excluded from no-
on policy and future programmes of work.
fault schemes because of the difficulty in measuring
The ILO has 178 Member States but if a country is not a
these conditions.
member, the ILO still has influence as a source of guidance
4. There is more difficulty in defining the causes of many
when social problems occur.
injuries and industrial diseases than in a fault scheme.
The main principles on which the ILO is based are:
5. The monetary value of compensation awards tend
to be considerably lower than those in fault schemes 1. labour is not a commodity;
(although this can be seen as an advantage). 2. freedom of expression and of association are essential
to sustained progress;
No-fault compensation schemes also exist in coun-
3. poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity
tries such as Canada and the Scandinavian countries.
However, a recent attempt to introduce such a scheme in
4. the ‘war against want’ is required to be carried out
New South Wales, Australia, was defeated in the legisla-
with unrelenting vigour within each nation, and by
tive assembly.
continuous and concerted international effort in
which the representatives of workers and employers,
enjoying equal status with those of governments,
   1.4      The role of national join with them in free discussion and democratic
governments and international decision with a view to the promotion of the com-
mon welfare.
bodies in formulating a
A recent campaign launched by the ILO has been
framework for the regulation of to seek to eliminate child labour throughout the world.
health and safety In particular, the ILO is concerned about children who
work in hazardous working conditions, bonded child
1.4.1  The role and function of the labourers and extremely young working children. It is
International Labour Organization (ILO) trying to create a worldwide movement to combat the
problem by:
The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
that seeks to promote social justice through establish- ää implementing measures which will prevent child
ing and safeguarding internationally recognized human labour;
and labour rights. It was founded in 1919 by the Treaty of ää withdrawing children from dangerous working con­
­Versailles at the end of the First World War. ditions;
The motivation behind the creation of such an orga- ää providing alternatives; and
nization was primarily humanitarian. Working conditions ää improving working conditions as a transitional mea-
at the time were becoming unacceptable to a civilized sure towards the elimination of child labour.

Health and safety foundations

ILO Conventions are international treaties signed

1.4.2  ILO Conventions and Recommendations
by ILO Member States and each country has an obliga-
The international labour standards were developed for tion to comply with the standards that the Convention
four reasons. The main motivation was to improve work- establishes.
ing conditions with respect to health and safety and career In contrast, ILO Recommendations are non-binding
advancement. The second motivation was to reduce the instruments that often deal with the same topics as
potential for social unrest as industrialization progressed. Conventions. Recommendations are adopted when the
Thirdly, the Member States want common standards so subject, or an aspect of it, is not considered suitable or
that no single country has a competitive advantage over appropriate at that time for a Convention. Recommenda-
another due to poor working conditions. Finally, the union tions guide the national policy of Member States so that a
of these countries creates the possibility of a lasting peace common international practice may develop and be fol-
based on social justice. lowed by the adoption of a Convention.
International labour standards are adopted by the ILO standards are the same for every Member State
International Labour Conference. They take the form of and the ILO has consistently opposed the concept of
Conventions and Recommendations. At the present time, different standards for different regions of the world or
there are 187 Conventions and 198 Recommendations, groups of countries.
some of which date back to 1919. See Chapter 17 for more The standards are modified and modernized as
information on the background of the ILO Conventions needed. The Governing Body of the ILO periodically
and Recommendations. reviews individual standards to ensure their continuing
International labour standards contain flexibility mea- relevance.
sures to take into account the different conditions and Supervision of international labour standards is con-
levels of development among Member States. However, ducted by requiring the countries that have ratified Con-
a government that ratifies a Convention must comply ventions to periodically present a report with details of the
with all of its articles. Standards reflect the different cul- measures that they have taken, in law and practice, to apply
tural and historical backgrounds of the Member States as each ratified Convention. In parallel, employers’ and workers’
well as their diverse legal systems and levels of economic organizations can initiate contentious proceedings against
development. a Member State for its alleged non-­compliance with a con-
ILO occupational safety and health standards can be vention it has ratified. In addition, any member country can
divided into four groups, and an example is given in each lodge a complaint against another Member State which, in
case: its opinion, has not ensured, in a satisfactory manner, the
1. Guiding policies for action — The Occupational Safety implementation of a Convention which both of them have
and Health Convention, 1985 (No. 155) and its accom- ratified. Moreover, a special procedure exists in the field of
panying Recommendation (No. 164) ­emphasize freedom of association to deal with complaints submitted
the need for preventative measures and a coherent by governments or by employers’ or workers’ organizations
national policy on occupational safety and health. against a Member State, whether or not the country con-
They also stress employers’ responsibilities and the cerned has ratified the relevant Conventions. Finally, the ILO
rights and duties of workers. has systems in place to examine the enforcement of inter-
2. Protection in given branches of economic activity — national labour standards in specific situations.
The Safety and Health in Construction Convention, The ILO also publishes Codes of Practice, guidance
1988 (No. 167) and its accompanying Recommen- and manuals on health and safety matters. These are often
dation (No. 175) stipulate the basic principles and used as reference material by either those responsible for
measures to promote safety and health of workers in drafting detailed Regulations or those who have respon-
construction. sibility for health and safety within an organization. They
3. Protection against specific risks — The Asbestos Con- are more detailed than either Conventions or Recommen-
vention, 1986 (No. 162) and its accompanying Recom- dations and suggest practical solutions for the application
mendation (No. 172) gives managerial, technical and of ILO standards. Codes of Practice indicate ‘what should
medical measures to protect workers against asbestos be done’. They are developed by tripartite meetings of
dust. experts and the final publication is approved by the ILO
4. Measures of protection — Migrant Workers (Sup- Governing Body.
plementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143) For example, the construction industry has a Safety
aims to protect the safety and health of migrant and Health in Construction Convention, 1988 (No. 167)
workers. that obliges signatory ILO Member States to comply

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

with the construction standards laid out in the Conven- See Chapter 17 for more details on occupational
tion – the Convention is a relatively brief statement of health and safety Conventions and Recommendations.
those standards. The accompanying Recommendation The ILO Conventions, Recommendations and Codes
(No. 175) gives additional information on the Conven- of Practice often use the terms ‘practicable’ and ‘reason-
tion statements. The Code of Practice gives more detailed ably practicable’ when describing duties or recommen-
information than the Recommendation. This can best be dations. These two terms together with ‘absolute’ form a
illustrated by contrasting the coverage of scaffolds and hierarchy or levels of duty which also appear in the health
ladders by the three documents shown in Appendix 1.1. and safety laws of several countries. These levels of duty
The ILO Codes of Practice and guidelines on health have particular and precise meanings.
and safety matters that are relevant to the International
General Certificate are:
1.4.3  Levels of duty
ää Safety and Health in Construction (ILO Code of Practice);
The three levels of duty are absolute, practicable and rea-
ää Ambient factors in the Workplace (ILO Code of
sonably practicable.
ää Safety in the Use of Chemicals at Work (ILO Code of
Absolute duty
This is the highest level of duty and, often, occurs when
ää Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents
the risk of injury is so high that injury is inevitable unless
and Diseases;
safety precautions are taken. Many health and safety man-
ää Ergonomic Checkpoints;
agement requirements contained in national health and
ää Work Organization and Ergonomics;
safety law place an absolute duty on the employer. Exam-
ää Occupational safety and health management systems
ples of this include the need for written safety policies, risk
(ILO Guidelines).
assessments, information and training.
Important ILO Conventions (C) and Recommenda-
tions (R) in the field of occupational safety and health Practicable
include: This level of duty is more often used than the absolute
duty as far as the provision of safeguards is concerned
ää C 115 Radiation Protection and (R 114), 1960; and, in many ways, has the same effect. A duty that ‘the
ää C 120 Hygiene (Commerce and Offices) and (R 120), employer ensures, so far as is practicable, that any control
1964; measure is maintained in an efficient state’ means that if
ää C 139 Occupational Cancer and (R 147), 1974; the duty is technically possible or feasible then it must be
ää C 148 Working Environment (Air, Pollution, Noise and done irrespective of any difficulty, inconvenience or cost.
Vibration) and (R 156), 1977;
ää C 155 Occupational Safety and Health and (R 164), Reasonably practicable
1981; This is the most common level of duty and means that if
ää C 161 Occupational Health Services and (R 171), 1985; the risk of injury is very small compared to the cost, time
ää C 162 Asbestos and (R 172), 1986; and effort required to reduce it, no action is necessary. It
ää C 167 Safety and Health in Construction and (R 175), is important to note that money, time and trouble must
1988; ‘grossly outweigh’, not balance the risk (see Figure 1.4).
ää C 170 Chemicals and (R 177), 1990; This duty requires judgment on the part of the employer
ää C 174 Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents and (R (or their adviser) and clearly needs a risk assessment to be
181), 1993; undertaken with conclusions noted. Continual monitoring
ää C 176 Safety and Health in Mines and (R 176), 1995; is also required to ensure that risks do not increase.
ää C 184 Safety and Health in Agriculture and (R 192),
1.4.4  Employers’ duties and responsibilities
ää C 187 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety
and Health and (R 197), 2006; The principal general duties of employers under the ILO
ää R 97 Protection of Workers’ Health Recommendation, Recommendation 164 are:
ää R 102 Welfare Facilities Recommendation, 1956; (a) t o provide and maintain workplaces, machinery and
ää R 31 List of Occupational Diseases Recommendation, equipment, and use work methods, which are as safe
2002. and without risk to health as is reasonably practicable;

Health and safety foundations

such as legal sanctions and vigorous prosecution

against those who exploit forced labourers.
3. Discrimination -- Hundreds of millions of people suffer
from discrimination in the world of work. Discrimina-
tion stifles opportunities, wasting the human talent
needed for economic progress and accentuating
social tensions and inequalities.
4. Child Labour -- There are more than 200 million chil-
dren working throughout the world, many full-time.
They are deprived of adequate education, good
Quantum of health and basic freedoms. Of these, 126 million – or
Sacrifice in
risk severity
time, money one in every 12 children worldwide – are exposed to
and likelihood
of event
and trouble hazardous forms of child labour, work that endangers
their physical, mental or moral well-being.
Figure 1.4  Diagrammatic view of ‘reasonably practicable’.
The rights of workers are also contained in the ILO
Code of Practice – Ambient factors in the workplace. The
(b) t o give necessary instruction and training that takes
code specifies that workers and their representatives
into account the functions and capabilities of differ-
should have the right to:
ent categories of workers;
(c) to provide adequate supervision of work practices (a) b e consulted regarding any hazards or risks to health
ensuring that proper use is made of relevant occupa- and safety from hazardous factors at the workplace;
tional health and safety measures; (b) enquire into and receive information from the
(d) to institute suitable occupational health and safety employer regarding any hazards or risks to health
management arrangements appropriate to the work- and safety from hazardous factors in the workplace.
ing environment, the size of the undertaking and the This information should be provided in forms and
nature of its activities; and languages easily understood by the workers;
(e) to provide, without any cost to the worker, adequate (c) take adequate precautions, in co-operation with their
personal protective clothing and equipment which employer, to protect themselves and other workers
are reasonably necessary when workplace hazards against hazards or risks to their health and safety;
cannot be otherwise prevented or controlled. (d) request and be involved in the assessment of haz-
ards and risks to health and safety by the employer
A comprehensive and detailed list of employers’ and/or the competent authority, and in any subse-
duties is given in Chapters 3 and 17. quent control measures and investigations.
(e) be involved in the inception and development of
1.4.5  Workers’ rights and responsibilities workers’ health surveillance, and participate in its
Workers’ rights (f) be informed in a timely, objective and compre-
In 1998, ILO Member States adopted the Declaration on hensible manner:
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and agreed to (i) of the reasons for any examinations and
uphold a set of core labour standards. These are human investigations relating to the health hazards
rights and form basic workers’ rights. The ILO is actively involved in their workplace;
campaigning for improvements in the areas covered by (ii) individually of the results of medical exami-
the Declaration. nations, including pre-assignment medical
The Declaration covers four areas: examinations, and of the subsequent assess-
ment of health.
1. F reedom of Association -- The right of workers and
employers to form and join organizations of their In accordance with national laws and regulations,
choice is an integral part of a free and open society workers should have the right:
and is linked to the recognition of the right to collec-
tive bargaining. (a) t o bring to the attention of their representatives,
2. Forced Labour -- The ILO is pressing for effective employer or competent authority any hazards or
national laws and stronger enforcement mechanisms, risks to health and safety at the workplace;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

(b) t o appeal to the competent authority if they con- Workers responsibilities

sider that the measures taken and the means Employees or workers have specific responsibilities under
employed by the employer are inadequate for the the ILO Convention 187, which are to:
purposes of ensuring health and safety at work;
(a) t ake reasonable care for their own safety and that
(c) to remove themselves from a hazardous situation
of other persons who may be affected by their
when they have good reason to believe that there
acts or omissions at work;
is an imminent and serious risk to their health and
(b) comply with instructions given for their own
safety and inform their supervisor immediately;
health and safety and those of others and with
(d) in the case of a health condition, such as sensiti-
health and safety procedures;
zation, to be transferred to alternative work that
(c) use safety devices and protective equipment cor-
does not expose them to that hazard, if such work
rectly and not to render them inoperative;
is available and if the workers concerned have the
(d) report forthwith to their immediate supervisor
qualifications or can reasonably be trained for
any situation which they have reason to believe
such alternative work;
could present a hazard and which they cannot
(e) to compensation if the case referred to in (d)
themselves correct; and
above results in loss of employment;
(e) report any accident or injury to health which
(f) to adequate medical treatment and compensa-
arises in the course of or in connection with work.
tion for occupational injuries and diseases result-
ing from hazards at the workplace;
(g) to refrain from using any equipment or process or 1.4.6 Role of enforcement agencies
substance which can reasonably be expected to be
hazardous, if relevant information is not available The legal framework
to assess the hazards or risks to health and safety. The framework for regulating health and safety will vary
across the world, for example European countries use the
The ILO code recommends that workers should receive EU framework, the Pacific Rim countries tend to use the
training and, where necessary, retraining in the most effec- USA framework, whereas the Caribbean countries follow
tive methods which are available for minimizing risks to the UK framework. The course provider should be able to
health and safety from hazards at work. Female workers describe the legal and regulatory framework appertaining
should have the right, in the case of pregnancy or during to any particular country.
lactation, to work that is not hazardous to the health of the Most legislation is driven by a framework of Acts, Reg-
unborn or nursing child where such work is available, and to ulations and support material including Codes of Practice
return to their previous jobs at the appropriate time. and Standards, as illustrated in Figure 1.6. Within Europe

Figure 1.5  Employees at work.

Health and safety foundations

there is another layer of legislation known as Directives, movement is now occurring in many parts of the world
above the Member States’ own legislation. These are including the EU. A management system is an essential tool
legally binding on each Member State. The US system of to achieve this movement and such a system is implied in
federal and individual state legislation is very similar. the UK Management of Health and Safety at Work Regula-
tions. Countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and
Norway have developed occupational health and safety
management systems as an encouragement for such self-
regulation. The ILO-OSH 2001 system has been adopted by
Germany, Sweden, Japan, Finland, Korea, China, Mexico,
Regulations Costa Rica, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Thai-
land, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.
It is likely that more countries and multinational com-
Codes of Practice
panies will expect occupational health and safety man-
Sometimes mandatory as Approved agement systems to be adopted either as a legal duty or
Codes of Practice in UK an implied duty following rulings from local courts of law.

1.5  The nature and sources of information on

National and International Standards
Industry Standards and Guidance Notes health and safety
Voluntary Guidance
When anybody, whether a health and safety professional, a
manager or an employee, is confronted with a health and
Figure 1.6  Typical health and safety legal framework. safety problem, they will need to consult various items of
published information to ascertain the scale of the problem
Regulatory authorities and safety and its possible remedies. The sources of this information
management systems may be internal to the organization and/or external to it.
The role of the national regulatory authority is crucial to Internal sources which should be available within the
the successful implementation of an occupational health organization include:
and safety management system. In many parts of the
world, such as south east Asia, formal adoption of a rec- ää accident and ill-health records and investigation reports;
ognized management system is required with third party ää absentee records;
auditing by government-approved auditors. In the USA, ää inspection and audit reports undertaken by the orga-
organizations with approved management systems may nization and by external organizations such as the HSE;
be exempted from normal inspections by the Occupa- ää maintenance, risk assessment (including COSHH) and
tional Safety and Health Administration. training records;
In the UK, there has been a movement from prescrip- ää documents which provide information to workers;
tive legislation to risk assessment by the employer and this ää any equipment examination or test reports.
External sources, which are available outside the orga-
nization, are numerous and include:
ää health and safety legislation;
ää HSE publications, such as Approved Codes of Practice,
guidance documents, leaflets, journals, books and
their website;
ää European and British Standards;
ää International Labour Organization (ILO);
ää Occupational Safety and Health Administration (USA);
ää European Agency for Safety and Health (EU);
ää WorkSafe (Western Australia);
ää health and safety magazines and journals;
ää information published by trade associations, employer
organizations and trade unions;
Figure 1.7  The inspector inspects. ää specialist technical and legal publications;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Table 1.6  Essential elements for any national

occupational health and safety management

• Relevant occupational health and safety

• One or more authorities responsible for
occupational health and safety;
• Regulatory compliance mechanisms, including
systems of inspection;
• A national advisory body to advise on
occupational health and safety issues;
• A national occupational health and safety
information and advisory service;
Figure 1.8  Good standards prevent harm and save money. • National occupational health services;
• An organization for the collection and analysis of
data on occupational injuries and diseases;
ää information and data from manufacturers and suppli- • Provision of relevant insurance or social security
ers; and schemes covering occupational injuries and
ää the internet and encyclopedias. diseases;
Many of these sources of information will be referred • Research budgets for occupational health and
to throughout this book . safety topics; and
• Formal systems for the provision of occupational
health and safety training;
   1.6      The framework for health
and safety management Commercially successful organizations usually have good
health and safety management systems in place. The prin-
The latest Convention No. 187 (2003) and its accompany- ciples of good and effective management provide a sound
ing Recommendation (No.197) in 2006 applies a similar basis for the improvement of health and safety performance.
approach to the management of national occupational All recognized occupational health and safety man-
health and safety systems to ensure they are improved agement systems have some basic and common ele-
through a continuous cycle of policy review, evaluation ments. These are:
and action for improvement. The essential elements of a
ää a planning phase;
national occupational health and safety management sys-
ää a performance phase;
tem are shown in Table 1.6. The principles are based on
ää a performance assessment phase; and
two fundamental concepts:
ää a performance improvement phase.
ää to develop a preventative safety and health culture; and
ää to apply a systems approach to managing occupa-
The planning phase
tional health and safety nationally.
The planning phase always includes a policy statement
See Chapter 17 for more information on legal frame- which outlines the health and safety aims, objectives
works around the world. and commitment of the organization and lines of respon-
sibility. Hazard identification and risk assessment takes
place during this phase and the significant hazards may
1.6.1  The key elements of all health well be included in the policy statement. It is important
to note that in some reference texts, in particular those
and safety management systems
in languages other than English, the whole process of
Most of the key elements required for effective health and hazard identification, risk determination and the selec-
safety management are very similar to those required for tion of risk reduction or control measures is termed ‘risk
good quality, finance and general business management. assessment’. However, all three occupational health and

Health and safety foundations

safety management systems described in this chapter ment of the organization, will assess whether targets have
refer to the individual elements of the process separately been met and the reasons for any underperformance.
and use the term ‘risk assessment’ for the determination Issues such as the level of resources made available, the
of risk only. vigilance of supervisors and the level of co-operation of
At the planning stage, emergency procedures should the workforce should be considered at the review stage.
be developed and relevant health and safety legal require- When recommendations are made, the review process
ments and other standards identified together with must define a timescale by which any improvements
appropriate benchmarks from similar industries. An orga- are implemented and this part of the process must also
nizational structure must be defined so that health and be monitored. ­Continual improvement implies a commit-
safety responsibilities are allocated at all levels of the orga- ment to improve performance on a proactive continuous
nization and issues such as competent persons and health basis without waiting for a formal review to take place.
and safety training are addressed. Realistic targets should Most management systems include an audit requirement,
be agreed within the organization and be published as which may be either internal or external. The audit process
part of the policy. examines the effectiveness of the whole management
process and may act as a control on the review process.
The performance phase Many inquiry reports into health and safety management
The performance phase will only be successful if there issues have asserted that health and safety performance
is good communication at and between all levels of the should be subject to audit in the same way that financial
organization. This implies employee participation as performance must be audited.
both worker representatives and on safety committees. In the publication Successful health and safety manage-
Effective communication with the workforce, for exam- ment – HSG 65, the UK HSE recommend a similar four-step
ple with clear safe systems of work and other health and approach to occupational health and safety management
safety procedures, will not only aid the implementation known as:
and operation of the plan but also produce continual
ää Plan – establish standards for health and safety
improvement of performance – a key requirement of
management based on risk assessment and legal
all occupational health and safety, quality and envi-
ronmental management systems. There should also
ää Do – implement plans to achieve objectives and
be effective communication with other stakeholders,
such as regulators, contractors, customers and trade
ää Check – measure progress with plans and compliance
unions. The performance phase must be monitored on a
with standards;
regular basis since this will indicate whether there is an
ää Act – review against objectives and standards and
effective occupational health and safety management
take appropriate action.
system and a good health and safety culture within the
organization. The Plan-Do-Check-Act for occupational health and
safety management forms the basis of the three occu-
The performance assessment phase pational health and safety management systems HSG65,
The performance assessment phase may be either active OHSAS 18001 and ILO-OSH 2001.
or reactive or, ideally, a mixture of both. Active assessment
includes work-based inspections and audits, regular health 1.7  Major occupational health and safety
and safety committee meetings, feedback from training
management systems
sessions and a constant review of risk assessments. Reac-
tive assessment relies on records of accident, work-related There are three major occupational health and safety man-
injuries and ill-health as well as near miss and any enforce- agement systems that are in use globally:
ment notices. Any recommended remedial or preventative
actions, following an investigation, must be implemented ää HSG65, which has been developed by the UK HSE. The
immediately and monitored regularly. syllabuses for the International General Certificate
and the chapter headings in this textbook have fol-
The performance improvement phase lowed the elements of HSG65.
The performance improvement phase involves a review ää OHSAS 18001:2007 has been developed in conjunc-
of the effectiveness of the health and safety manage- tion with the ISO 9000 series for quality manage-
ment system and the identification of any weaknesses. ment and the ISO 14000 series for environmental
The review, which should be undertaken by the manage- management.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

ää ILO-OSH 2001 was developed by the ILO after an a­ rising from avoidable accidents and demonstrates to
extensive study of many occupational health and the workforce that accidents are not necessarily the
safety management systems used across the world. It fault of any individual member of the workforce. Such
was established as an international system following a management attitude could lead to an increase in
the publication of Guidelines on occupational safety workforce co-operation, job satisfaction and pro-
and health management systems in 2001. It is very sim- ductivity. This demonstration of senior management
ilar to OHSAS 18001. involvement offers evidence to all stakeholders that
responsibilities to people and the environment are
taken seriously by the organization. A good health
1.7.1  HSG65 and safety policy helps to ensure that there is a sys-
The UK HSE first published Successful health and safety tematic approach to risk assessment, and sufficient
management – HSG65 in 1991 and has since made amend- resources, in terms of people and money, have been
ments to be more concerned with continual improvement allocated to protect the health and safety and welfare
and less with the attainment of minimum health and of the workforce. It can also support quality improve-
safety standards. Unlike the other two systems under con- ment programmes which are aimed at continual
sideration, HSG65 was developed by a regulator (HSE) and, improvement.
therefore, is much more widely recognized in the UK. HSE 2. A well-defined health and safety organization – The
inspectors use the framework of HSG65 when auditing the shared understanding of the organization’s values and
health and safety management arrangements of an orga- beliefs, at all levels of the organization, is an essential
nization; however it would be wrong to assume that it is component of a positive health and safety culture. For
the only system recognized by the HSE. a positive health and safety culture to be achieved,
HSG65 is shown in Figure 1.9. The key elements are as an organization must have clearly defined health and
follows: safety responsibilities so that there is always man-
agement control of health and safety throughout
1. A clear health and safety policy – Evidence shows that the organization. The formal organizational structure
a well-considered policy contributes to business effi- should be such that the promotion of health and
ciency and continual improvement throughout the safety becomes a collaborative activity between the
organization. It helps to minimize financial losses workforce, safety representatives and the ­managers.

Information link
Control link Policy


Planning and

Measuring techniques
performance of planning,
and reviewing

Feedback loop to
improve performance

Figure 1.9  Key elements of HSG 65.

Health and safety foundations

An effective organization will be noted for good

staff involvement and participation, high-quality Policy
­communications, the promotion of competency and
the empowerment of all employees to make informed
contributions to the work of the organization.
3. A clear health and safety plan – This involves the setting Planning
and implementation of performance standards and
procedures using an effective occupational health
and safety management system. The plan is based on Continual Implementation
risk assessment methods to decide on priorities and improvement and operation
set objectives for controlling or eliminating hazards
and reducing risks. Measuring success requires the
establishing of performance standards against which Checking and
achievements can be identified. corrective action
4. The measurement of health and safety performance –
This includes both active and reactive monitoring
to see how effectively the occupational health and Management
safety management system is working. Active moni- review
toring involves looking at the premises, plant and
substances plus the people, procedures and systems. Figure 1.10  Key elements of OHSAS 18001.
Reactive monitoring discovers why controls have
failed, using investigation of accidents and incidents. of OHSAS 18001. 18002 will be withdrawn when its con-
It is also important to measure the organization tents are published as an International Standard.
against its own long-term goals and objectives. Some of the principal differences between the 1999
5. The audit and review of health and safety performance – and 2007 standards are:
The results of monitoring and independent audits
ää Health has been given a greater emphasis.
should be systematically reviewed to see if the man-
ää It is now referred to as a ‘Standard’ which reflects the
agement system is achieving the right results. This is
increasing adoption of OHSAS 18001 as the basis for
not only required in the UK by the Health and Safety
national standards on occupational health and safety
at Work (HSW) Act, but is part of any company’s
management systems.
­commitment to continual improvement. Compari-
ää It has been more closely aligned with ISO 14001:2004
sons should be made with internal performance indi-
and ISO 9001:2000.
cators and the performance of external organizations
ää ‘Tolerable risk’ has been replaced by ‘Acceptable risk’.
with exemplary practices and high standards.
ää ‘Accident’ now is included in the term ‘incident’, and
‘hazard’ no longer includes damage to property or the
workplace environment.
1.7.2  OHSAS 18001:2007 There are five elements in the OHSAS 18001:2007
OHSAS 18001 and ILO-OSH 2001 have many similarities in occupational health and safety management system:
the details of the two systems. One of the biggest differ-
ences is that OHSAS 18001 is certifiable whereas ILO-OSH 1. P
 olicy – The general requirements are similar to HSG
2001 is not. OHSAS 18001, which is shown in Figure 1.10, 65. It requires top management to define and autho-
was developed from the British Standard 8800 and was rize the organization’s Occupational health and safety
designed to be integrated with the two British Standards (OH&S) policy and ensure its OH&S management
for quality and environmental management. Both occupa- system:
tional health and safety management systems have been (a) is appropriate to the nature and scale of the orga-
shaped by internationally agreed occupational health and nization’s risks;
safety principles defined in international labour standards (b) includes a commitment to the prevention of
and the European Union Framework Directive 89/391/ injury and ill-health and continual improvement;
EEC. OHSAS 18001:2007 requires an external audit as part (c) includes a commitment to at least comply with
of the certification process. OHSAS 18002:2008 has also applicable legal requirements and other require-
been produced by BSI as a guideline for implementation ments to which the organization subscribes;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

(d) p rovides a framework for setting and reviewing the policy and legal requirements. An ­effective
occupational health and safety (OH&S) objec- programme and action plan for achieving the
tives; objectives must be established and imple-
(e) is documented, implemented and maintained; mented.
(f) is communicated to all persons working under 3. Implementing and operation – As with HSG65, there
the control of the organization; is emphasis on the responsibility of top management
(g) is available to interested parties; for the effective implementation and operation of the
(h) is reviewed periodically. system. Top management must demonstrate their
2. Planning – The organization must establish, imple- commitment:
ment and maintain effective arrangements for the fol- (a) To provide adequate resources.
lowing: (b) To define roles, allocate responsibilities and
(a) Ongoing hazard identification, risk assessment accountabilities, and delegate authorities.
and the establishment of the necessary control (c) To appoint a member of top management with
measures must take into account: specific responsibilities for OH&S irrespective of
(i) both routine and non-routine activities of their other responsibilities to ensure:
all persons having access to the workplace (i) OH&S management system is established,
including contractors and visitors; implemented and maintained;
(ii) human factors; (ii) reports on performance are presented to
(iii) hazards which originate outside the work- top management for review and used for
place which may affect those inside; improvement.
(iv) hazards created in the vicinity by work- (d) The organization must ensure that all people
related activities; under its control who perform tasks that could
(v) infrastructure, equipment and materials at affect OH&S are competent on the basis of appro-
the workplace; priate education, training or experience and must
(vi) changes or proposed changes; keep records.
(vii) modifications to the OH&S management (e) The organization must establish, implement and
system; maintain procedures for effective internal com-
(viii) any applicable legal requirements for risk munication with employees, contractors and
assessment and control measures; other visitors. They must receive and appropriately
(ix) the design of the work areas, processes, respond to relevant external communications.
installations, machinery, equipment, proce- (f) The organization must establish, implement
dures and work organization. and maintain procedures for involvement of
(b) The results of the risk assessment must be con- and consultation with employees and, as nec-
sidered when determining controls which shall essary, contractors, relating to hazard iden-
be determined according to the following hier- tification, risk assessment determination of
archy: suitable controls, incident investigation and
(i) elimination; the development and review of policies and
(ii) substitution; procedures.
(iii) engineering controls; (g) Documents proportional to the risks and scale
(iv) signage/warnings and/or administrative of the organization must be prepared and main-
controls; tained with a proper system of control.
(v) personal protective equipment. (h) Operational controls must be introduced to
(c) The results must be documented and kept up-to- ensure that arrangements are in place for:
date. (i) purchasing goods, equipment and services;
(d) The organization must establish, implement and (ii) contractors and other visitors;
maintain a procedure for identifying and access- (iii) other situations as necessary;
ing the legal and other OH&S requirements that (iv) procedures for emergency preparedness
are applicable. This information must be commu- and response must be prepared, tested and
nicated and kept up-to-date. maintained. The organization must respond
(e) The organization must establish, implement and to actual emergency situations and mitigate
maintain OH&S objectives which must be mea- adverse consequences.
surable (where practicable) and consistent with See Chapters 3 and 6 for more information.

Health and safety foundations

4. C hecking and corrective action – This is similar to the (d)  H&S performance;
performance measurement phase of HSG65. The orga- (e) extent to which objectives have been met;
nization has to establish, implement and ­maintain: (f) status of investigations and corrective actions;
(a) procedures to monitor and measure OH&S per- (g) follow up from previous reviews;
formance on a regular basis. The procedures must (h) changed circumstances, processes or local legis-
cover: lation;
(i) both qualitative and quantitative measures; (i) recommendations for improvement.
(ii) the extent to which objectives have been
met; The output from the reviews must be consistent with
(iii) the effectiveness of controls; the organization’s policy, performance, resources and
(iv) proactive measures of performance that objectives.
measure conformance with OH&S pro- The OHSAS 18001 management system recognizes
grammes and controls; that the system is bound to require modification and
(v) reactive measures that monitor ill-health, change as the activities of the organization change and
incidents including accidents and near national regulatory requirements change.
misses and any other historical evidence of
poor performance;
(vi) recording of data and results which can facili-
tate corrective action and preventative ­analysis.
1.7.3  ILO-OSH 2001
(b) procedures for evaluating compliance with The ILO has a considerable influence on the development
­applicable legal and other requirements to which of employment law in many countries throughout the
it subscribes and keep records of the evaluations. world. As companies have become more international in
(c) procedures to record, investigate and analyse terms of both markets and production bases, this influence
incidents in a timely manner so that it can: of the ILO has increased and its working standards have
(i) determine underlying deficiencies; become accepted in many parts of the world. Many of the
(ii) identify corrective action; ILO standards cover health and safety issues and are used in
(iii) identify opportunities for prevention and the International General Certificate course. As mentioned
continual improvement; earlier, the ILO-OSH 2001 guidelines offer a recommended
(iv) communicate the results. occupational health and safety management system
(d) procedures for dealing with actual and potential based on an ILO survey of several contemporary schemes
non-conformity and for taking corrective and/or including HSG65 and OHSAS 18001. There are, therefore,
preventative action. many common elements between the three schemes. The
(e) records to demonstrate conformity with the guidelines are not legally binding and are not intended to
OH&S management system and OHSAS 18001. replace national laws, Regulations or accepted standards.
(f) internal audits of the OH&S management sys- At the national level, the guidelines should be used
tem to ensure that it is up-to-date, properly to establish a national framework for occupational health
­implemented and effective. The audit programme and safety management systems, preferably supported by
must be properly planned, objective and ­impartial. national laws and Regulations. They should also provide
5. Management review – Top management are required guidance for the development of voluntary arrangements
to review the organization’s OH&S management to strengthen compliance with Regulations and standards
system at planned intervals to ensure its continued leading to continual improvement in occupational health
suitability and effectiveness. Reviews must assess and safety performance.
opportunities for improvements and the need for The ILO recognizes that a management system can
change. They must be properly documented since usually only be successful in a country if there is some
they will form the base line from which continual form of national policy on health and safety and occupa-
improvement will be measured. Input to the reviews tional health and safety management systems. The ILO
shall include: recommends, therefore, that the following general prin-
(a) results of internal audits and evaluations of com- ciples and procedures be established:
(b) results of consultation; 1. t he implementation and integration of occupational
(c) communications from external parties including health and safety management systems as part of the
complaints; overall management of an organization;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

2. t he introduction and improvement of voluntary

arrangements for the systematic identification, plan- Policy
ning, implementation and improvement of occupa-
tional health and safety activities at both national and
organizational levels;
3. the promotion of worker participation in occupa- Organizing
tional health and safety management at organiza-
tional level;
4. the implementation of continual improvement with- Audit
Planning and Continual
implementation improvement
out unnecessary bureaucracy and cost;
5. the encouragement of national labour inspectors to
support the arrangements at organizational level for a
health and safety culture within the framework of an Evaluation
occupational health and safety management system;
6. the evaluation of the effectiveness of the national
policies at regular intervals; Action for
7. the evaluation of the effectiveness of occupational
health and safety management systems within those
organizations which are operating within the country; Figure 1.11  Key elements of ILO-OSH 2001.
8. the inclusion of all those affected by the organization,
such as contractors, members of the public and tem-
porary workers, at the same level of health and safety monitoring records, which are relevant to their occu-
provision as employees. pational health and safety while respecting the need
for confidentially. Health and safety training must be
Figure 1.11 shows the key elements of the ILO-OSH available to all members of the organization and be
2001 occupational health and safety management ­system. provided during normal working hours at no cost to
Each element will be discussed in turn but since it has been employees.
developed from HSG65 and OHSAS 18001 among other 3. Planning and implementation – Unlike other systems,
systems, there are many similarities. The elements are: the ILO system combines planning and implementa-
tion. Following an initial review of any existing health
1. P olicy – There is a more specific emphasis on worker and safety management system, a plan should be
participation, which is seen as an essential element of developed to remedy any deficiencies found. The
the management system and should be referenced in plan should support compliance with national laws
the policy statement. It is expected that workers and and Regulations and include continual improvement
their health and safety representatives should have of health and safety performance. It should contain
sufficient time and resources allocated to them so measurable objectives which are realistic and achiev-
that they can participate actively in each element of able and, as with the other occupational health and
the management system. The formation of a health safety management systems, hazard identification
and safety committee is also a recommended part of and risk assessment. There should also be an adequate
the system. The occupational health and safety man- provision of resources and technical support. The
agement system should be compatible with or inte- plan must be capable of accommodating the impact
grated with other management systems operating in on health and safety of any internal changes in the
the organization. organization, such as new processes, new technolo-
2. Organizing – There is much in common with both gies and amalgamations with other organizations,
HSG65 and OHSAS 18001, with responsibility, or external changes due, for example, to changes in
accountability, competence, training and commu- national laws or Regulations. As with OHSAS 18001,
nication being key parts of this element. There is a emergency and procurement arrangements and
specific responsibility to provide effective super- detailed arrangements for the selection and super-
vision to ensure the protection of the health and vision of contractors must be included in the health
safety of workers and to establish prevention and and safety plan.
health promotion programmes. Workers should 4. Evaluation – This is very similar to the performance
have access to any records, such as accident and measurement phase of HSG65 with a greater

Health and safety foundations

­ mphasis on the health and welfare of the worker. The

e actively in the processes of organizing, planning
­recommendations concerning the investigation of and implementation, ­evaluation and action for
work-related injuries, ill-health, diseases and incidents improvement of the occupational health and safety
are identical to those for the management review ele- management system. Finally, the employer should
ment of OHSAS 18001. ensure, as appropriate, the establishment and effi-
5. Action for improvement – Arrangements should be cient functioning of a health and safety committee
introduced and maintained for any preventative and the recognition of workers’ health and safety
and corrective action to be undertaken identified representatives, in accordance with national laws
by performance monitoring, audits and manage- and practice.
ment reviews of the health and safety management 2. Documentation – Depending upon the size and
system. Arrangements should also be in place for activities of the organization, occupational health and
the continual improvement of the management safety management system documentation should
system. More details on the factors to be consid- be established and maintained, and may cover:
ered for continual improvement are given later in (a) the health and safety policy and objectives of the
this chapter. organization;
6. Audit – The ILO recommends that an audit should (b) the allocated key health and safety management
be performed by competent and trained person- roles and responsibilities for the implementation
nel at agreed and regular intervals. It should cover of the occupational health and safety manage-
all elements of the management system including ment system;
worker participation, communication, procure- (c) the significant occupational health and safety
ment, contracting and continual improvement. The hazards/risks arising from the organization’s
audit conclusions must state whether the health activities, and the arrangements for their preven-
and safety management system is effective in meet- tion and control; and
ing the organizational health and safety policy and (d) arrangements, procedures, instructions or other
objectives and promotes full worker participation. internal documents used within the framework of
The audit should also check that there is compliance the occupational health and safety management
with national laws and regulations and that there system.
has been a satisfactory response to earlier audit
findings. The occupational health and safety management sys-
tem documentation should be:
It is clear that there is much that is common between (a) clearly written and presented in a way that is
the three management systems discussed and any dif- understood by those who have to use it; and
ferences are in emphasis. HSG65 was the first of the (b) periodically reviewed, revised as necessary, com-
three systems and the emphasis was on legal compli- municated and readily accessible to all appropri-
ance. OHSAS 18001 introduced the concept of contin- ate or affected members of the organization.
ual improvement, integration with other management
systems and certification. ILO-OSH 2001 combines the Occupational health and safety records should be
features of HSG65 and OHSAS 18001 and stresses the established, managed and maintained locally and accord-
importance of worker participation for the system to be ing to the needs of the organization. They should be iden-
effective. tifiable and traceable, and their retention times should be
specified. Workers should have the right to access records
Additional features of ILO-OSH 2001 relevant to their working environment and health, while
1. W
 orker participation – This is an essential element respecting the need for confidentiality. Occupational
of the occupational health and safety management health and safety records may include:
system in the organization. The employer should
ensure that workers and their health and safety rep- (a) r ecords arising from the implementation of the
resentatives are consulted, informed and trained occupational health and safety management
on all aspects of occupational health and safety, ­system;
including emergency arrangements, associated (b) records of work-related injuries, ill-health, dis-
with their work. Arrangements should be made eases and incidents;
for workers and their health and safety representa- (c) records arising from national laws or regulations
tives to have the time and resources to participate dealing with occupational health and safety;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

(d) r ecords of workers’ exposures, surveillance of

1.8.1  A positive health and safety culture
the working environment and workers’ health;
and In Chapter 4, the essential elements for a successful health
(e) the results of both active and reactive monitoring. and safety culture are detailed and discussed. In summary,
they are:
1.7.4  Conclusions on the three health
ää leadership and commitment to health and safety
and safety management systems
throughout the organization;
Three occupational health and safety management sys-
ää an acceptance that high standards of health and
tems have been described in some detail in this chapter
safety are achievable;
and it has been shown that the similarities between them
ää the identification of all significant hazards facing the
outweigh their differences. Any occupational health and
workforce and others;
safety management system will fail unless there is a positive
ää a detailed assessment of health and safety risks in the
health and safety culture within the organization and the
organization and the development of appropriate
active involvement of internal and external stakeholders.
control and monitoring systems;
A structured and well-organized occupational health
ää a health and safety policy statement outlining short-
and safety management system is essential for the mainte-
and long-term health and safety objectives. Such a
nance of high health and safety standards within all organi-
policy should also include national codes of practice
zations and countries. Some systems, such as OHSAS 18001,
and health and safety standards;
offer the opportunity for integration with quality and envi-
ää relevant communication and consultation procedures
ronmental management systems. This enables a sharing of
and training programmes for employees at all levels
resources although it is important that technical activities,
of the organization;
such as health and safety risk assessment, are only under-
ää systems for monitoring equipment, processes and
taken by persons trained and competent in that area.
procedures and the prompt rectification of any
For an occupational health and safety management
defects found;
system to be successful, it must address workplace risks
ää the prompt investigation of all incidents and acci-
and be ‘owned’ by the workforce. It is, therefore, essential
dents and reports made detailing any necessary
that the audit process examines shop floor health and
remedial actions.
safety behaviour to check that it mirrors that required by
the health and safety management system. Some of these essential elements form part of the
Finally, whichever system is adopted, there must be health and safety management system but unless all are
continual improvement in health and safety performance present within the organization, it is unlikely that occu-
if the application of the occupational health and safety pational health and safety will be managed successfully
management system is to succeed in the long term. no matter which system is introduced. The chosen man-
agement system must be effective in reducing risks in the
workplace or else it will be nothing more than a paper
   1.8      Other key characteristics of a exercise.

health and safety management

1.8.2  The involvement of stakeholders
There are a number of internal and external stakeholders
of the organization who will have an interest and influence
The four basic elements common to all occupational health
on the introduction and development of the occupational
and safety management systems, as described earlier in
health and safety management system.
this chapter, contain the different activities of the system
The internal stakeholders include:
together with the detailed arrangements and activities
required to deliver those activities. However, there are four
ää Directors and trustees of the organization – Follow-
key characteristics of a successful occupational health and
ing several national and international reports on cor-
safety management system:
porate governance in recent years (such as the UK’s
ää a positive health and safety culture; Combined Code of Corporate Governance 2003), the
ää the involvement of all stakeholders; measurement of occupational health and safety per-
ää an effective audit; and formance and the attainment of health and safety tar-
ää continual improvement. gets have been recognized as being as important as

Health and safety foundations

other measures of business performance and targets. ää Investors – Health and safety risks will, with other risks,
A report on health and safety performance should be have an effect on investment decisions. Increasingly,
presented at each board meeting and be a periodic investment organizations require evidence that these
agenda item for sub-committees of the board such as risks are being addressed before investment decisions
audit and risk management. are made.
ää The workforce – Without the full co-operation of ää Regulators – In many parts of the world, particularly
the workforce, including contractors and temporary in the Far East, national regulators and legislation
employees, the management of health and safety will require certification to a recognized international
not be successful. The workforce is best qualified to occupational health and safety management system
ensure and provide evidence that health and safety standard. In many countries, regulators use such a
procedures and arrangements are actually being standard to measure the awareness of a particular
implemented at the workplace. So often this is not the organization of health and safety issues.
case even though the occupational health and safety ää Customers – Customers and others within the sup-
managements system is well designed and docu- ply chain are increasingly insisting on some form of
mented. Worker representatives can provide useful formal occupational health and safety management
evidence on the effectiveness of the management system to exist within the organization. The construc-
system at shop floor level and they can also provide a tion industry is a good example of this trend. Much of
useful channel of communication between the senior this demand is linked to the need for corporate social
management and the workforce. One useful measure responsibility and its associated guidelines on global
of the health and safety culture is the enthusiasm with best practice.
which workers volunteer to become, and continue ää Neighbours – The extent of the interest of neighbours
to be, Occupational Health and Safety worker repre- will depend on the nature of the activities of the
sentatives. For a representative to be really effective, organization and the effect that these activities have
some training is essential. Organizations which have on them. The control of noise, and dust and other
a recognized trade union structure will have fewer atmospheric contaminants are examples of common
problems with finding and training worker represen- problem areas which can only be addressed on a con-
tatives. More information on the duties of worker rep- tinuing basis using a health, safety and environmental
resentatives is given in ­Chapter 3. management system.
ää Health and safety professionals – Such profession- ää International organizations – The United Nations, the
als will often be appointed by the organization to ILO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank
manage the occupational health and safety man- and the World Health Organization are all examples
agement system and monitor its implementation. of international bodies which have shown a direct or
They will, therefore, have a particular interest in the indirect interest in the management of occupational
development of the system, the design of objectives health and safety. In particular, the ILO is keen to see
and the definition of targets or goals. Unless they minimum standards of health and safety established
have a direct-line management responsibility, which around the world. The ILO works to ensure for every-
is not very common, they can only act as advisers, one the right to work in freedom, dignity and security –
but still have a positive influence on the health and which includes the right to a safe and healthy work-
safety culture of the organization. The appointed ing environment. More than 70 ILO Conventions and
health and safety professional also liaises with other Recommendations relate to questions of safety and
associated competent persons, such as for electrical health. In addition, the ILO has issued more than 30
appliance and local exhaust ventilation testing. Codes of Practice on Occupational Health and Safety.
For more information see their website www.ilo.org/
The external stakeholders include:
ää Insurance companies – As compensation claims
increase, insurance companies are requiring more There is a concern of many of these international orga-
and more evidence that health and safety is being nizations that as production costs are reduced by relocat-
effectively managed. There is increasing evidence that ing operations from one country to another, there is also a
insurance companies are becoming less prepared to lowering in occupational health and safety standards. The
offer cover to organizations with a poor health and introduction of internationally recognized occupational
safety record and/or occupational health and safety health and safety management systems will help to allevi-
management system. ate such fears.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

However, it is likely that, in such cases, internal auditors

1.8.3  An effective audit
will also be used.
An effective audit is the final step in the occupational The advantage of using internal auditors is that they
health and safety management system control cycle. The know the critical areas to monitor and will help to spread
‘feedback loop’ produced by audit enables the reduction good practices around the organization. The disadvan-
of risk levels and the effectiveness of the occupational tages are that clients may question their independence
health and safety management system to be improved. and they may well be unaware of external benchmarks,
Audit is a business discipline which is frequently used unless they are auditing against a standard. These two dis-
in finance, environmental matters and quality and can advantages are the advantages of using external auditors.
equally be applied to health and safety. It will check on the External auditors are at a disadvantage because they do
implementation of occupational health and safety man- not know the organization, require much more documen-
agement systems and the adequacy and effectiveness of tation and can offer bland reports. It is also usually more
the management arrangements and risk control systems. expensive to use external rather than internal auditors.
Audit is critical to a health and safety management system Auditor competence is an important issue and it is impor-
but is not a substitute for the essential day-to-day man- tant that any auditors used, whether internal or external,
agement of health and safety. are properly trained.
The audit aims to establish that the three major com-
ponents of any occupational health and safety manage-
ment system are in place and operating effectively. It
1.8.4  Continual improvement
should show that: Continual improvement has been mentioned several
times in this chapter and is recognized as a vital ele-
ää appropriate management arrangements are in place;
ment of all occupational health and safety management
ää adequate risk control systems exist, and are imple-
systems if they are to remain effective and efficient as
mented and consistent with the hazard profile of the
internal and external changes affect the organization.
organization; and
Internal changes may be caused by business reorgani-
ää appropriate workplace precautions are in place.
zation, such as a merger, new branches and changes in
Where the organization is spread over a number of products, or by new technologies, employees, suppli-
separate sites, the management arrangements linking ers or contractors. External changes could include new
the centre with these sites should be examined by the or revised legislation, guidance or industrial standards,
audit. new information regarding hazards or campaigns by
Some elements of the occupational health and safety regulators.
management system do not need to be audited as often Continual improvement need not necessarily be done
as others. For example, an audit to verify the implemen- at high cost or add to the complexity of the management
tation of critical risk control systems should be under- system. Its benefits include:
taken more frequently than an audit of the management
ää a decrease in the rate of injuries, ill-health and damage;
arrangements for health and safety of the whole organiza-
ää a possible reduction in the resources required to man-
tion. Where there are complex workplace precautions in
age the system;
place, such as in the chemical industry, it may also be nec-
ää an acceptability of higher standards and an improved
essary to undertake technical audits.
health and safety culture; and
The audit programme should produce a comprehen-
ää overall improvements in the management system
sive picture of the effectiveness of the health and safety
management system in controlling risks. The programme
must indicate when and how each component part will be The simplest way to achieve continual improvement
audited. The audit team should include managers, safety is to implement the recommendations of audits and
representatives and workers. Such inclusiveness will help management reviews, and use benchmarks from simi-
during the implementation of any audit recommenda- lar organizations and any revised national or industrial
tions. More detailed information on the auditing process is guidelines. The workforce, managers and supervisors
given in Chapter 7. often have very good suggestions on ways to improve
When planning an audit, a decision has to be made processes and procedures. Such suggestions will lead
as to whether to use internal or external auditors. When to improvements in the management system. Finally,
formal certification is required either by the organization the health and safety committee can be a very effective
or by the client, competent external auditors are essential. vehicle for continual improvement particularly if working

Health and safety foundations

parties are used to investigate specific issues within an

agreed timeframe.    1.10      Sources of reference
Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Manage-
ment Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) can be downloaded free
   1.9      The benefits and problems from ILO web site.
associated with occupational http://www.ilo.org/safework/normative/codes/lang--
health and safety management
systems ILOLEX (ILO database of International Law)

Occupational health and safety management systems Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS
have many benefits, of which the principal ones are: 18000):
Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
ää it is much easier to achieve and demonstrate legal OHSAS 18001:2007 ISBN978 0 580 50802 8, OHSAS
compliance. Enforcement authorities have more con- 18002:2008 ISBN: 978 0 580 61674 7
fidence in organizations that have a health and safety
management system in place; Occupational Safety and Health Convention (C155), ILO
ää they ensure that health and safety is given the same http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C155
emphasis as other business objectives, such as qual- Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation (R164),
ity and finance. They will also aid integration, where ILO
appropriate, with other management systems; http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?R164
ää they enable significant health and safety risks to be
addressed in a systematic manner;
ää they can be used to show legal compliance with
terms such as ‘practicable’ and ‘so far as is reasonably
   1.11      Practice NEBOSH questions
practicable’; for Chapter 1
ää they indicate that the organization is prepared for an
emergency; 1. E
 xplain, using an example in EACH case, the meaning
ää they illustrate that there is a genuine commitment to of the following terms:
health and safety throughout the organization. (i) ‘hazard’
There are, however, several problems associated with (ii) ‘risk’.
occupational health and safety management systems,
although most of them are solvable because they are 2. O
 utline the sources of published information that
caused by poor implementation of the system. The main may be consulted when dealing with a health and
problems are: safety problem at work.

3. A
 n organization has had an increase in the number of
ää the arrangements and procedures are not apparent at
manual handling accidents and associated ill- health.
the workplace level and the audit process is only con-
Identify sources of information that may be available
cerned with a desktop review of procedures;
to help reduce the risks to the workers.
ää the documentation is excessive and not totally
related to the organizations due to the use of generic 4. (i) Explain the purpose of employer liability insurance.
procedures; (ii) Outline SIX costs of a workplace accident that
ää other business objectives, such as production targets, might be uninsured.
lead to ad hoc changes in procedures;
ää integration, which should really be a benefit, can lead 5. A
 n organization has been found to have inadequate
to a reduction in the resources and effort applied to standards of workplace health and safety. Identify
health and safety; the costs that the organization may incur as a result.
ää a lack of understanding by supervisors and the work-
force leads to poor system implementation; 6. I dentify FOUR possible direct AND FOUR possible
ää the performance review is not implemented seriously indirect costs to an organization following a serious
thus causing cynicism throughout the organization. accident at work.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

7. (i) Identify the possible consequences of an acci- (iii) Outline possible reasons why good standards of
dent to: health and safety in the workplace may not be
(a) the injured workers; achieved.
(b) their employer.
(ii) Identify the direct and indirect costs to the 12. (i) Draw a flowchart to show the relationships
employer of accidents at work. between the six elements of the health and safety
(iii) Outline the actions an enforcement agency may management model in HSE’s Successful Health
take following an accident at work. and Safety Management (HSG65).
(ii) Outline the part that EACH element of the
8. R
 eplacement or repair of damaged equipment is a HSG65 model plays within the health and safety
cost that an organization may incur following an acci- management system.
dent at work.
Identify EIGHT other possible costs to the organiza- 13. (i) Draw a flowchart to identify the main compo-
tion following a workplace accident. nents of the health and safety management sys-
tem described in the HSE publication Successful
9. I dentify EIGHT possible costs to an organization Health and Safety Management (HSG65).
when employees are absent due to work-related ill- (ii) Outline TWO components of the health and
health safety management system.

10. Outline reasons for maintaining good standards of 14. Outline the key elements of a health and safety man-
health and safety within an organization. agement system.

11. (i)  Explain reasons for maintaining and promoting 15. Outline the economic benefits that an organization
good standards of health and safety in the work- may obtain by implementing a successful health and
place. safety management system.
(ii) Identify sources of information that an
­organization may use to help maintain and pro-
mote good standards of health and safety in the

Health and safety foundations

Appendix 1.1  Scaffolds and ladders 18. The working platforms, gangways and stairways of
scaffolds should be of such dimensions and so con-
1.1  Convention (Safety and Health in structed and guarded as to protect persons against
Construction) (167) falling or being endangered by falling objects.
Article 14 19. No scaffold should be overloaded or otherwise mis-
1. Where work cannot be done safely on or from the used.
ground or from part of a building or other permanent 20. A scaffold should not be erected, substantially altered
structure, a safe and suitable scaffold shall be pro- or dismantled except by or under the supervision of a
vided and maintained, or other equally safe and suit- competent person.
able provision shall be made. 21. Scaffolds as prescribed by national laws or Regula-
2. In the absence of alternative safe means of access tions should be inspected, and the results recorded,
to elevated working places, suitable and sound lad- by a competent person:
ders shall be provided. They shall be properly secured (i) before being taken into use;
against inadvertent movement. (ii) at periodic intervals thereafter;
3. All scaffolds and ladders shall be constructed and (iii) after any alteration, interruption in use, expo-
used in accordance with national laws and regula- sure to weather or seismic condition or any other
tions. occurrence likely to have affected their strength
4. Scaffolds shall be inspected by a competent person in or stability.
such cases and at such times as shall be prescribed by
national laws or regulations. 1.3  Code of Practice – Safety and Health in
1.2  Recommendation (Safety and Health in The Code of Practice covers scaffolds and ladders under
Construction) (175) the following topics over five pages:
1.  eneral provisions
16. Every scaffold and part thereof should be of suitable
2. materials
and sound material and of adequate size and strength
3. design and construction
for the purpose for which it is used and be maintained
4. inspection and maintenance
in a proper condition.
5. lifting appliances on scaffolds
17. Every scaffold should be properly designed, erected
6. prefabricated scaffolds
and maintained so as to prevent collapse or acciden-
7. use of scaffolds
tal displacement when properly used.
8. suspended scaffolds

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Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Explain the purpose and importance of setting policy

for health and safety

nn Describe the key features and appropriate content

of an effective health and safety policy.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

 2.1    Introduction

very organization should have a clear policy for the The ILO further recommends that the health and
management of health and safety. This allows all per- safety policy should include, as a minimum, the following
sons associated with the organization to be aware of key principles and objectives to which the organization is
its health and safety aims and objectives and how they committed:
are to be achieved. For a policy to be effective, it must be
(a) p rotecting the safety and health of all members of the
honoured in the spirit as well as the letter. A good health
organization by preventing work-related injuries, ill-
and safety policy will also enhance the performance of
health, diseases and incidents;
the organization in areas other than health and safety,
(b) complying with relevant Occupational Health and
help with the personal development of the workforce and
Safety national laws and regulations, voluntary pro-
reduce financial losses.
grammes, collective agreements on Occupational
Health and Safety and other requirements to which
the organization subscribes;
   2.2      ILO recommendations (c) ensuring that workers and their representatives are
consulted and encouraged to participate actively in
all elements of the Occupational Health and Safety
The ILO recommends in the ILO-OSH 2001 management
management system; and
system that the employer, in consultation with work-
(d) continually improving the performance of the Occu-
ers and their representatives, should set out in writing a
pational Health and Safety management system.
health and safety policy, which should be:
(a) s pecific to the organization and appropriate to its size
and the nature of its activities;    2.3      Key elements of a health
(b) concise, clearly written, dated and made effective by
the signature or endorsement of the employer or the
and safety policy
most senior accountable person in the organization;
2.3.1  Policy statement of intent
(c) communicated and readily accessible to all persons at
their place of work;
The health and safety policy statement of intent is often
(d) reviewed for continuing suitability; and
referred to as the health and safety policy statement or
(e) made available to relevant external interested parties,
simply (and incorrectly) as the health and safety policy. It
as appropriate.
should contain the aims (which are not measurable) and
objectives (which are measurable) of the organization
or company. Aims will probably remain unchanged dur-
ing policy revisions whereas objectives will be reviewed
and modified or changed every year. The statement
should be written in clear and simple language so that it
is easily understandable. It should also be fairly brief and
broken down into a series of smaller statements or bullet
The statement should be signed and dated by the
most senior person in the organization. This will demon-
strate management commitment to health and safety and
give authority to the policy. It will indicate where ultimate
responsibility lies and the frequency with which the policy
statement is reviewed.
The most senior manager is normally the Chief Exec-
utive Officer (CEO) or the Managing Director. It is the
responsibility of the CEO (or equivalent) to ensure that the
Figure 2.1  Well-presented policy documents. health and safety policy is developed and communicated


to all employees in the organization. He/she will need to of work, use, handling, transport and handling of
ensure the following: articles and substances, information, training and
ää key functions of health and safety management, such
ää a commitment to the additional requirements for
as monitoring and audit, accident investigation and
emergency procedures, health surveillance and
training, are included in the organizational structure;
employment of competent persons;
ää adequate resources are available to manage health
ää duties towards the wider general public and others
and safety effectively;
(contractors, customers, students, etc.);
ää the production of various health and safety arrange-
ää the principal hazards in the organization;
ments in terms of rules and procedures;
ää specific policies of the organization (e.g. smoking
ää arrangements for the welfare of employees;
­policy, violence to staff, etc.);
ää the regular review and, if necessary, updating of the
ää a commitment to employee consultation possibly
health and safety policy.
using a safety committee or plant council;
The policy statement should be written by the organi- ää duties and rights of employees;
zation and not by external consultants, as it needs to address ää specific health and safety performance targets for the
the specific health and safety issues and hazards within the immediate and long-term future;
organization. In large organizations, it may be necessary to ää a commitment to provide the necessary resources
have health and safety policies for each department and/ to achieve the objectives outlined in the policy
or site with an overarching general policy incorporating statement.
the individual policies. Such an approach is often used by
local authorities and multinational companies. Health and safety performance targets are an impor-
The following points should be included or consid- tant part of the statement of intent because:
ered when a health and safety policy statement is being
ää they indicate that there is management commitment
to improve health and safety performance;
ää the aims, which should cover health and safety, ää they motivate the workforce with tangible goals
­welfare and relevant environmental issues; resulting, perhaps, in individual or collective rewards;
ää the position of the senior person in the organization ää they offer evidence during the monitoring, review
or company who is responsible for health and safety and audit phases of the management system.
(normally the Chief Executive Officer);
The type of target chosen depends very much on the
ää the names of the Health and Safety Adviser and any
areas that need the greatest improvement in the organi-
safety representatives or other competent health and
zation. The following list, which is not exhaustive, shows
safety persons;
common health and safety performance targets:
ää a commitment to the basic requirements of access,
egress, risk assessments, safe plant and systems ää a specific reduction in the number of accidents, inci-
dents (not involving injury) and cases of work-related
ill-health (perhaps to zero);
ää a reduction in the level of sickness absence;
ää a specific increase in the number of employees trained
in health and safety;
ää an increase in the reporting of minor accidents and
‘near miss’ incidents;
ää a reduction in the number of civil claims;
ää no enforcement notices from the Enforcement
ää a specific improvement in health and safety audit
ää the achievement of a nationally recognized health
and safety management standard such as OHSAS
18001 (see Section 1.7.2 in Chapter 1).
In the ILO-OSH 2001 management system, the ILO rec-
Figure 2.2  Part of a policy commitment. ommends that measurable health and safety objectives,

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

consistent with the health and safety policy and based on ää employees (responsible for taking reasonable care of
any initial or subsequent reviews, should be established, the health and safety of themselves and others who
which are: may be affected by their acts or omissions);
ää fire marshals (responsible for the safe evacuation of
(a) s pecific to the organization, and appropriate to and the building in an emergency);
according to its size and nature of activity; ää first aiders (responsible for administering first-aid to
(b) consistent with the relevant and applicable national injured persons).
laws and regulations, and the technical and business
obligations of the organization with regard to health For smaller organizations, some of the specialists men-
and safety; tioned above may well be employed on a consultancy basis.
(c) focused towards continually improving workers’ For the health and safety organization to work suc-
health and safety protection to achieve the best cessfully, it must be supported from the top (preferably at
health and safety performance; Board level) and some financial resource made available.
(d) realistic and achievable; It is also important that responsibility for certain key
(e) documented, and communicated to all relevant func- functions are included in the organization structure. These
tions and levels of the organization; and include:
(f) periodically evaluated and if necessary updated.
ää accident investigation and reporting;
ää health and safety training and information;
The policy statement of intent should be posted on
ää health and safety monitoring and audit;
prominent noticeboards throughout the workplace and
ää health surveillance;
brought to the attention of all employees at induction and
ää monitoring of plant and equipment, their mainte-
refresher training sessions. It can also be communicated
nance and risk assessment;
to the workforce during team briefing sessions, at ‘toolbox’
ää liaison with external agencies;
talks which are conducted at the workplace or directly by
ää management and/or employee safety committees –
email, intranet, newsletters or booklets. It should be a per-
the management committee will monitor day-to-day
manent item on the agenda for health and safety commit-
problems and any concerns of the employee health
tee meetings where it and its related targets should be
and safety committee.
reviewed at each meeting.
The role of the health and safety adviser is to provide
specialist information to managers in the organization and
2.3.2  Organization of health and safety to monitor the effectiveness of health and safety proce-
This section of the policy defines the names, positions dures. The adviser is not ‘responsible’ for health and safety
and duties of those within the organization or company or its implementation; that is the role of the line managers.
who have a specific responsibility for health and safety. Finally the job descriptions, which define the duties of
Therefore, it identifies those health and safety responsi- each person in the health and safety organizational struc-
bilities and the reporting lines through the management ture, must not contain responsibility overlaps or blur chains
structure. This section will include the following groups of command. Each individual must be clear about his/her
together with their associated responsibilities: responsibilities and the limits of those responsibilities.

ää directors and senior managers (responsible for setting

2.3.3  Arrangements for health and safety
policy, objectives and targets);
ää supervisors (responsible for checking day-to-day The arrangements section of the health and safety policy
compliance with the policy); gives details of the specific systems and procedures used to
ää health and safety advisers (responsible for giving assist in the implementation of the policy statement. This
advice during accident investigations and on compli- will include health and safety rules and procedures and
ance issues); the provision of facilities such as a first-aid room and wash
ää other specialists, such as an occupational nurse, rooms. It is common for risk assessments (including those
chemical analyst and an electrician (responsible for for hazardous substances, manual handling and personal
giving specialist advice on particular health and safety protective equipment (PPE) assessments) to be included
issues); in the arrangements section, particularly for those haz-
ää health and safety representatives (responsible for rep- ards referred to in the policy statement. It is important
resenting employees during consultation meetings that arrangements for fire and other emergencies and for
on health and safety issues with the employer); information, instruction, training and ­supervision are also


ää use of PPE;
ää monitoring procedures including health and safety
inspections and audits;
ää procedures for the control and safety of contractors
and visitors;
ää provision of welfare facilities;
ää training procedures and arrangements;
ää catering and food hygiene procedures;
ää arrangements for consultation with employees;
ää terms of reference and constitution of the safety
ää procedures and arrangements for waste disposal.

The three sections of the health and safety policy are

usually kept together in a health and safety manual and
copies distributed around the organization.

   2.4      Review of health and safety


It is important that the health and safety policy is moni-

tored and reviewed on a regular basis. For this to be
successful, a series of benchmarks needs to be estab-
lished. Such benchmarks, or examples of good practice,
are defined by comparison with the health and safety
performance of other parts of the organization or the
national performance of the occupational group of the
Figure 2.3  Good information, training and working with organization. Many national health and safety enforce-
employees is essential. ment agencies publish an annual occupational acci-
dent and disease report, statistics and a bulletin, all of
which may be used for this purpose. Typical benchmarks
covered. Local codes of practice (e.g. for forklift truck driv- include accident rates per employee and accident or dis-
ers) should be included. ease causation.
The following list covers the more common items nor- There are several reasons to review the health and
mally included in the arrangements section of the health safety policy. The more important reasons are:
and safety policy:
ää significant organizational changes may have taken
ää employee health and safety code of practice; place;
ää accident and illness reporting and investigation ää there have been changes in key personnel;
procedures; ää there have been changes in legislation and/or
ää emergency procedures, first-aid; guidance;
ää fire drill procedure; ää new work methods have been introduced;
ää procedures for undertaking risk assessments; ää there have been alterations to working arrangements
ää control of exposure to specific hazards (noise, vibra- and/or processes;
tion, radiation, manual handling, hazardous sub- ää there have been changes following consultation with
stances, etc.); employees;
ää machinery safety (including safe systems of work, lift- ää the monitoring of risk assessments or accident/
ing and pressure equipment); incident investigations indicates that the health and
ää electrical equipment (maintenance and testing); safety policy is no longer totally effective;
ää maintenance procedures; ää information from manufacturers has been received;
ää permits-to work procedures; ää advice from an insurance company has been received;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

ää the findings of an external health and safety audit; ää minimal resources made available for the implemen-
ää enforcement action has been taken by the national tation of the policy;
health and safety enforcement agency; ää too much emphasis on rules for employees and too
ää a sufficient period of time has elapsed since the previ- little on management policy;
ous review. ää a lack of parity with other activities of the organi-
zation (such as finance and quality control) due to
A positive promotion of health and safety perfor- mistaken concerns about the costs of health and
mance will achieve far more than simply preventing acci- safety and the effect of those costs on overall per-
dents and ill-health. It will: formance. This attitude produces a poor health and
safety culture;
ää support the overall development of personnel;
ää lack of senior management involvement in health and
ää improve communication and consultation through-
safety, particularly at board level;
out the organization;
ää employee concerns that their health and safety issues
ää minimize financial losses due to accidents and ill-
are not being addressed or that they are not receiving
health and other incidents;
adequate health and safety information. This can lead
ää directly involve senior managers in all levels of the
to low morale among the workforce and, possibly,
high absenteeism;
ää improve supervision, particularly for young persons
ää high labour turnover;
and those on occupational training courses;
ää inadequate or no PPE;
ää improve production processes;
ää unsafe and poorly maintained machinery and
ää improve the public image of the organization or
ää a lack of health and safety monitoring procedures.
It is apparent, however, that some health and safety
policies appear to be less than successful. There are many In summary, a successful health and safety policy
reasons for this. The most common are: is likely to lead to a successful organization or company.
A checklist for assessing any health and safety policy has
ää the statements in the policy and the health and safety
been produced by the UK HSE and has been reproduced
priorities are not understood by or properly commu-
in Appendix 2.1.
nicated to the workforce;

Safety, quality
and production
will receive
equal priority

Policy Statement View

Figure 2.4  Sound policy exists but not put into practice – blocked fire exit.


5. I dentify SIX categories of persons who may be

   2.5      Sources of reference shown in the ‘organization’ section of a health and
safety ­policy document AND state their likely general
Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Manage- or specific health and safety responsibilities.
ment Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) ISBN-0-580-37805-5
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 6. O
 utline the issues that are typically included in
(OHSAS 18000): Occupational Health and Safety the arrangements section of a health and safety
Management Systems OHSAS 18001:2007 (ISBN-0- ­document.
580-50802-8), OHSAS 18002:2008 (ISBN 9780-580-
61674-7) 7. O
 utline the key areas that should be addressed in the
‘arrangements’ section of a health and safety policy

   2.6      Practice NEBOSH questions 8. (i) Explain why it is important for an organization to

for Chapter 2 set targets in terms of its health and safety perfor-
(ii) Outline SIX types of target that an organization
1. (i) Outline the general content of the THREE sec- might typically set in relation to health and safety.
tions of a health and safety policy.
(ii) Explain why the health and safety policy should 9. (i) Outline why it is important for an organization to
be signed by the most senior person in an orga- set health and safety targets.
nization, such as a Managing Director or Chief (ii) Identify health and safety targets that an organi-
Executive Officer. zation may set.

2. (i) I dentify the typical content of the ‘statement of 10. Outline the circumstances that would require a health
intent’ section of an organization’s health and and safety policy to be reviewed.
safety policy document.
(ii) Outline the factors that may indicate that health 11. Outline FOUR external AND FOUR internal influ-
and safety standards within an organization do ences that might initiate a health and safety policy
not reflect the objectives within the ‘statement of review.

3. W
 ith respect to the ‘statement of intent’ section of a
health and safety policy:
(i) Explain its purpose.
(ii) Outline the issues that may be addressed in this
section of the health and safety policy.

4. I dentify the purposes of EACH of the following

­sections of a health and safety policy document:
(i) ‘statement of intent’;
(ii) ‘organization’;
(iii) ‘arrangements’.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

Appendix 2.1  Health and Safety Policy

The following checklist is intended as an aid to the writing
and review of a health and safety policy. It is derived from
UK HSE Information.

General policy and organization

ää Does the statement express a commitment to health
and safety and are your obligations towards your
employees made clear?
ää Does it say which senior manager is responsible for
seeing that it is implemented and for keeping it under
review, and how this will be done?
ää Is it signed and dated by you or a partner or senior Figure 2.5  Emergency procedures.
ää Have the views of managers and supervisors, safety
representatives and the safety committee been taken
into account?
ää Were the duties set out in the statement discussed
with the people concerned in advance, and accepted
by them, and do they understand how their perfor-
mance is to be assessed and what resources they have
at their disposal?
ää Does the statement make clear that co-operation on
the part of all employees is vital to the success of your
health and safety policy?
ää Does it say how employees are to be involved in
health and safety matters, for example by being con-
sulted, by taking part in inspections and by sitting on
a safety committee?
ää Does it show clearly how the duties for health and Figure 2.6  Responsibilities.
safety are allocated and are the responsibilities at
­different levels described?
ää Does it say who is responsible for the following Plant and substances
­matters (including deputies where appropriate)? ää Maintenance of equipment such as tools, ladders, etc. --
ää Reporting investigations and recording accidents. are they in a safe condition?;
ää Fire precautions, fire drill and evacuation procedures. ää Maintenance and proper use of safety equipment
ää First-aid. such as helmets, boots, goggles, respirators, etc.;
ää Safety inspections. ää Maintenance and proper use of plant, machinery and
ää The training programme. guards;
ää Ensuring that legal requirements are met, for example ää Regular testing and maintenance of lifts, hoists,
regular testing of lifts and notifying accidents to the cranes, pressure systems, boilers and other dangerous
health and safety inspector. machinery, emergency repair work, and safe methods
of carrying out these functions;
Arrangements that need to be considered ää Maintenance of electrical installations and equipment;
ää Keeping the workplace, including staircases, floors, ää Safe storage, handling and, where applicable, packag-
ways in and out, washrooms, etc., in a safe and clean ing, labelling and transport of flammable and/or haz-
condition by cleaning, maintenance and repair; ardous substances;
ää The requirements of the Work at Height Regulations; ää Controls of work involving harmful substances such as
ää Any suitable and sufficient risk assessments. lead and asbestos;


ää Ensuring that fire exits are marked, unlocked and free
from obstruction;
ää Maintenance and testing of fire-fighting equipment,
fire drills and evacuation procedures;
ää First-aid, including name and location of person
responsible for first-aid and deputy, and location of
first-aid box.

ää Giving employees information about the general
duties under the HSW Act and specific legal require-
ments relating to their work;
ää Giving employees necessary information about sub-
stances, plant, machinery and equipment with which
they come into contact;
ää Discussing with contractors, before they come on
Figure 2.7  Forklift truck being used in a warehouse.
site, how they plan to do their job, whether they need
any equipment from your organization to help them,
ää The introduction of new plant, equipment or sub- whether they can operate in a segregated area or only
stances into the workplace by examination, testing when part of the plant is shut down and, if not, what
and consultation with the workforce; hazards they may create for your employees and vice
ää Exposure to non-ionizing and ionizing radiation . versa.

Other hazards Training

ää Noise problems – wearing of hearing protection, and ää Training employees, supervisors and managers to
control of noise at source; enable them to work safely and to carry out their
ää Vibration problems – hand-arm and whole-body con- health and safety responsibilities efficiently.
trol techniques and personal protection;
ää Preventing unnecessary or unauthorized entry into Supervising
hazardous areas; ää Supervising employees so far as necessary for their
ää Lifting of heavy or awkward loads; safety – especially young workers, new employees
ää Protecting the safety of employees against assault and employees carrying out unfamiliar tasks.
when handling or transporting the employer’s money
or valuables; Keeping check
ää Special hazards to employees when working on unfa- ää Regular inspections and checks of the workplace,
miliar sites, including discussion with site manager machinery appliances and working methods.
where necessary;
ää Control of works transport, for example fork-lift
trucks, by restricting use to experienced and autho-
rized operators or operators under instruction (which
should deal fully with safety aspects);
ää Driving on public roads while at work.

This page intentionally left blank

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

for health and safety 3
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Outline the health and safety roles and responsibilities

of employers, managers, supervisors, employees
and other relevant parties

nn Explain the importance and means of consulting

with employees on health and safety issues
and the means to achieve effective consultation

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

 3.1    Introduction

his chapter is about managers in businesses, or other Some policies are written so that most of the wording
organizations, setting out clear responsibilities and concerns strict requirements laid on employees and only a
lines of communications for everyone in the enter- few vague words cover managers’ responsibilities. Gener-
prise. The chapter also covers the ILO Conventions and ally, such policies do not meet the ILO recommendations
Recommendations, advises legal responsibilities that exist and many countries’ local OH&S law, which usually require
between people who control premises and those who use an effective policy with a robust organization and arrange-
them, and between contractors and those who hire them; ments to be set up. See Chapter 17 for more details.
and the duties of suppliers, manufacturers and designers of
articles and substances for use at work. Chapter 2 was con-
cerned with policy, which is an essential first step. The policy
will only remain as words on paper, however good the inten-
   3.2      Control
tions, until there is an effective organization set up to imple-
ment and monitor its requirements. Occupational Health Like all management functions, establishing control
and Safety management systems such as ILO- OSH2001 and and maintaining it day in, day out, is crucial to effective
OHSAS18001:2007 also require that an effective organiza- health and safety management. Managers, particularly at
tion is established to implement the policy. We covered this senior levels, should take proactive responsibility for con-
in Chapter 1 and will go in to more detail later in this chapter. trolling issues that could lead to ill-health, injury or loss.
The policy sets the direction for health and safety A nominated senior manager at the top of the organiza-
within the enterprise and forms the written intentions of tion needs to oversee policy implementation and moni-
the principals or directors of the business. The Occupa- toring. The nominated person will need to report regularly
tional Health and Safety policy of any organization needs to the most senior management team and will be a direc-
to be clearly communicated and staff need to know what tor or principal of the organization.
they are responsible for in the day-to-day operations. A Health and safety responsibilities will need to be
vague statement that ‘everyone’ is responsible for health assigned to line managers and expertise must be available,
and safety’ is misleading and fudges the real issues. either inside or outside the enterprise. The purpose of the
Everyone is responsible (see Figure 3.1), but manage- health and safety organization is to harness the collective
ment in particular. There is generally no equality of respon- enthusiasm, skills and effort of the entire workforce with
sibility under law between those who provide direction managers taking key responsibility and providing clear direc-
and create policy and those who are employed to follow. tion. The prevention of accidents and ill-health through man-
Principals, or employers generally, have substantially more agement systems of control becomes the focus rather than
responsibility than employees. looking for individuals to blame after the incident occurs.
The control arrangements should be part of the writ-
ten health and safety policy. Performance standards will
Chief Executive/Managing Director
Board Members
need to be agreed upon and objectives set which link the
outputs required to specific tasks and activities for which
individuals are responsible. For example, the objective
could be to carry out a workplace inspection once a week
Department managers
to an agreed checklist and rectify faults within three work-
ing days. The periodic, say annual, audit would check to
see if this was being achieved, and if not, investigate the
Supervisors reasons for non-compliance with the objective.
People should be held accountable for achieving the
agreed objectives through existing or normal procedures
Employees and such as:
Agency workers
ää job descriptions, which include health and safety
Figure 3.1  Everyone from senior managers down has health responsibilities; performance appraisal systems,
and safety responsibilities. which look at individual contributions;

Organizing for health and safety

ää arrangements for dealing with poor performance; (l) t o verify implementation of applicable standards, e.g. by
where justified, the use of disciplinary procedures. environmental monitoring and systematic safety audits.

Such arrangements are only effective if health and safety Employers should also, having regard to the size and
issues achieve the same degree of importance as other key activities of the undertaking, make provision for:
management concerns and a good perfor­mance is considered
(a) t he availability of an occupational health service and
to be an essential part of career and personal development.
a safety service, within the undertaking, jointly with
other undertakings, or under arrangements with an
outside body;
(b) recourse to specialists to advise on particular occu-
   3.3      Employers responsibilities pational safety or health problems or supervise the
application of measures to meet them.
The ILO Convention 155 and Recommendations 164 place
Employers are also often required to take out insur-
primary responsibilities on Employers (see Chapter 17
ance to cover their liability in the event of accidents and
for a summary). This concept has been followed by many
work-related ill-health to employees and others who may
countries although a few still put responsibilities on fac-
be affected by their operations.
tory occupiers. The general duties of employers under the
ILO Recommendations 164 are:
3.3.1  Recent extensions of the employers’
(a) t o provide and maintain workplaces, machinery and
equipment, and use work methods, which are as safe
and without risk to health as is reasonably practicable; Current management science theories suggest that perfor-
(b) to give necessary instructions and training, taking mance is better in all areas of business, including Occupa-
account of the functions and capacities of different tional Health and Safety, if it is measured and continuous
categories of workers; improvement sought in an organized fashion. Drawing from
(c) to provide adequate supervision of work, of work the principles defined in the ILO Guidelines on Occupational
practices and of application and use of occupational Safety and Health Management Systems 2001, the latest
safety and health measures; Convention 187 (2003) and its accompanying Recommenda-
(d) to institute organizational arrangements regarding tion 197 (in 2006) applies a similar approach to the manage-
occupational safety and health and the working envi- ment of national Occupational Health and Safety systems
ronment adapted to the size of the undertaking and to ensure they are improved through a continuous cycle of
the nature of its activities; policy review, evaluation and action for improvement.
(e) to provide, without any cost to the worker, adequate The principles are based on two fundamental con-
personal protective clothing and equipment which cepts, namely to:
are reasonably necessary when hazards cannot be
ää develop a preventative safety and health culture; and
otherwise prevented or controlled;
ää apply a systems approach to managing Occupational
(f) to ensure that work organization, particularly with
Health and Safety nationally.
respect to hours of work and rest breaks, does not
adversely affect occupational safety and health; A national preventative safety and health culture
(g) to take all reasonably practicable measures with a view is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working
to eliminating excessive physical and mental fatigue; environment is respected at all levels. It is also one where
(h) to undertake studies and research or otherwise keep governments, employers, workers and other interested
abreast of the scientific and technical knowledge stakeholders actively participate in securing a safe and
­necessary to comply with the foregoing clauses; healthy working environment through a system of defined
(i) to consult with workers or their representatives and rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the principle
form Occupational Health and Safety committees; of prevention is accorded the highest priority. Building and
( j) to set out their Occupational Health and Safety policy maintaining such a culture requires a permanent mobiliza-
in writing (where the size and nature of the organiza- tion of all available means of action, particularly education
tion makes this appropriate); and training, to increase general awareness, knowledge and
(k) to keep records (such as incidences of accidents and understanding of the concepts of hazards and risks and how
ill-health at work) as required by local legislation, and they may be prevented and controlled. Educational sys-
report these as required to the authorities concerned; tems need to recognize the concepts of workplace hazards,

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

risks and prevention, including them within national curri- contractors – leading to the failure to carry out respon-
cula as appropriate, thereby promoting greater continuity sibilities – is often at the heart of high-profile health and
between public and workplace safety and health issues. safety cases. But situations such as these could be avoided
Employers’ duties have therefore often been extended with a clearer understanding of employers’ and contrac-
in modern Occupational Health and Safety legislation to tors’ responsibilities.
include: Visitors to a site whether authorized or not are often
more at risk than employees because:
(a) t he need to conduct and record risk assessments;
(b) requirements to include continual improvement and ää they are unfamiliar with the workplace processes, the
develop a preventative Occupational Health and Safety hazards and associated risks they present;
culture; ää they may not have the appropriate personal protec-
(c) setting up a systems approach to Occupational Health tive equipment (PPE);
and Safety management by following the ILO-OSH ää they will have a lack of knowledge of the site or prem-
2001 or the OHSAS 18001:2007 approaches which are ises layout;
largely identical. ää walkways are often inadequate, unsigned or poorly lit;
ää they are not familiar with the emergency procedures
or means of escape;
3.3.2  Visitors and general public ää they may be particularly vulnerable if they suffer from
a disability or are very young.
Organizations usually have a duty to ensure the health
and safety of the public while on their premises, even if Many of these problems with visitors can be over-
the individuals concerned, like children, are not supposed come by, for example:
to be there. Two cases in the UK reported in the Autumn
ää visitors signing in and being provided with a site escort;
of 2008 have highlighted how far this liability can extend.
ää providing appropriate PPE and identity badges;
Misunderstandings regarding who is responsible
ää providing simple induction procedures with a short
for monitoring and protecting contractors and sub-­
video and information on site rules, hazards and
emergency procedures;
ää clear marking of walkways and areas where unauthor-
UK Case studies
ized people are not permitted.
Two companies pleaded guilty to charges
of breaching the HSW Act 1974 following  
the drowning of a 9-year-old girl, who 3.3.3  Night working
was playing with other children in the
company car park when they strayed Night working is usually provided with additional restric-
onto nearby reservoirs. At the time of tions and employers should ascertain whether they
the accident, in 2004, the main gates to employ people who would be classified as night workers.
the factory were off their hinges because If so, they should check:
work was being carried out on the site (a) w hether there are specific local restrictions on night
and a second gate, which led to the reser- working;
voir, was only secured with a nylon rope. (b) who may work at night, some vulnerable people like
young people under 18 years of age and pregnant
In a separate case, a constru ction   women are excluded;
company has been found guilty of failing   (c) how much working time night workers normally work;
to prevent unauthorized persons, includ- (d) if night workers work more than say eight hours per
ing children, from gaining access to an day on average, whether the number of hours can be
area where construction material and reduced and if any exceptions apply;
equipment were stored. A child was   (e) how to conduct a health assessment and how often
seriously injured by falling paving stones health checks should be carried out;
while playing on a partly -built housing (f) that proper records of night workers are maintained,
estate where materials were being stored including details of health assessments (where required);
during construction work. (g) that night workers are not involved in work which is
particularly hazardous.

Organizing for health and safety

ää failure to include health and safety as a key business

   3.4      Employee responsibilities risk in board decisions can have catastrophic results.
Many high-profile safety cases over the years have
Employees or workers have specific responsibilities under been rooted in failures of leadership; and
the ILO Convention, which are to: ää health and safety law usually places duties on organi-
zations and employers, and directors can be person-
(a) t ake reasonable care for their own safety and that of
ally liable when these duties are breached. Members
other persons who may be affected by their acts or
of the board have both collective and individual
omissions at work;
responsibility for health and safety.
(b) comply with instructions given for their own safety
and health and those of others and with safety and
health procedures; 3.5.1  Plan the direction of health
(c) use safety devices and protective equipment correctly and safety
and do not render them inoperative;
The Board should set the direction for effective health and
(d) report forthwith to their immediate supervisor any
safety management. Board members need to establish a
situation which they have reason to believe could
health and safety policy that is much more than a docu-
present a hazard and which they cannot themselves
ment – it should be an integral part of the organization’s
culture, its values and performance standards.
(e) report any accident or injury to health which arises in
All board members should take the lead in ensuring
the course of or in connection with work.
the communication of health and safety duties and ben-
Where a worker complains, in good faith, about what efits throughout the organization. Executive directors
they consider is a breach of statutory requirements or a must develop policies to avoid health and safety problems
serious inadequacy in measures taken by the employer on and must respond quickly where difficulties arise or new
OSH or the working environment, no measures prejudicial risks are introduced; non-executives must make sure that
to the worker should be taken. See also Chapters 1 and 17 health and safety is properly addressed.
for further discussion.
Core actions
To agree a policy, Boards will need to ensure they are
   3.5      Organizational health and safety aware of the significant risks faced by their organization.
The policy should set out the Board’s own role and that of
responsibilities – directors individual board members in leading the health and safety
of its organization. It should require the board to:
In addition to the legal responsibilities on manage­ment,
ää ‘own’ and understand the key issues involved;
there are many specific responsibilities imposed by
ää decide how best to communicate, promote and
each organization’s health and safety policy. Section 3.6
champion health and safety.
gives a typical summary of the health and safety respon-
sibilities and accountability of each level of the line The health and safety policy is a ‘living’ document
organization. More details are given in Appendix 3.1. and it should evolve over time, for example, in the light
Many organizations will not fit this exact structure but of major organizational changes such as restructuring or a
most will have those who direct, those who manage significant acquisition.
or supervise and those who have no line responsibil-
ity, but have responsibilities to themselves and fellow Good practice
workers. ää Health and safety should appear regularly on the
Effective health and safety performance comes from agenda for board meetings.
the top; members of the board have both collective and ää The Chief Executive can give the clearest visibil-
individual responsibility for health and safety. ity of leadership, but some Boards find it useful to
Directors and board members need to act because: name one of their members as the health and safety
ää protecting the health and safety of employees or ää The presence of a Health and Safety Director on the
members of the public who may be affected by their Board can be a strong signal that the issue is being
activities is an essential part of risk management and taken seriously and that its strategic importance is
must be led by the board; understood.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

ää Setting targets helps define what the board is seeking chaired by a senior executive, can make sure the key
to achieve. issues are addressed and guard against time and
ää A non-executive director can act as a scrutinizer – effort being wasted on trivial risks and unnecessary
ensuring that the processes to support boards facing bureaucracy.
significant health and safety risks are robust. ää Providing health and safety training to some or all of
the Board can promote understanding and knowl-
edge of the key issues in the organization.
3.5.2  Deliver health and safety ää Supporting worker involvement in health and safety,
Delivery depends on an effective management system above the legal duty to consult worker representa-
to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health tives, can improve participation and help prove senior
and safety of employees, customers and members of the management commitment.
Organizations should aim to protect people by
3.5.3  Monitor health and safety
introducing management systems and practices that
ensure risks are dealt with sensibly, responsibly and Monitoring and reporting are vital parts of a health and
proportionately. safety system. Management systems must allow the
board to receive both specific (e.g. incident-led) and
Core actions routine reports on the performance of health and safety
To take responsibility and ‘ownership’ of health and safety, policy.
members of the board must ensure that: Much day-to-day health and safety information
need be reported only at the time of a formal review.
(a) h ealth and safety arrangements are adequately
But only a strong system of monitoring can ensure that
the formal review can proceed as planned – and that rel-
(b) they obtain competent health and safety advice;
evant events in the interim are brought to the board’s
(c) risk assessments are carried out;
(d) employees or their representatives are involved in
decisions that affect their health and safety.
Core actions
The board should consider the health and safety impli- The Board should ensure that:
cations of introducing new processes, new working prac-
(a) a ppropriate weight is given to reporting both pre-
tices or new personnel, dedicating adequate resources to
ventive information (such as progress of training and
the task and seeking advice where necessary.
maintenance programmes) and incident data (such as
Boardroom decisions must be made in the context
accident and sickness absence rates);
of the organization’s health and safety policy; it is impor-
(b) periodic audits of the effectiveness of management
tant to ‘design-in’ health and safety when implementing
structures and risk controls for health and safety are
carried out;
(c) the impact of changes such as the introduction of
Good practice
new procedures, work processes or products, or any
ää Leadership is more effective if visible – Board members
major health and safety failure, is reported as soon as
can reinforce health and safety policy by being seen
possible to the board;
on the ‘shop floor’, following all safety measures them-
(d) there are procedures to implement new and changed
selves and addressing any breaches immediately.
legal requirements and to consider other external
ää Consider health and safety when deciding senior
developments and events.
management appointments.
ää Having procurement standards for goods, equipment
and services can help prevent the introduction of Good practice
expensive health and safety hazards. ää Effective monitoring of sickness absence and work-
ää The health and safety arrangements of partners, key place health can alert the board to underlying prob-
suppliers and contractors should be assessed; their lems that could seriously damage performance or
performance could adversely affect director’s own result in accidents and long-term illness.
performance. ää The collection of workplace health and safety data
ää Setting up a separate risk management or health can allow the board to benchmark the organization’s
and safety committee as a subset of the board, performance against others in its sector.

Organizing for health and safety

ää Appraisals of senior managers can include an assess-

ment of their contribution to health and safety
3.6.1  Managing Directors/Chief Executives
performance. Managing Directors/Chief Executives are responsible for
ää Boards can receive regular reports on the health and the health, safety and welfare of all those who work or visit
safety performance and actions of contractors. the organization. In particular, they:
ää Some organizations have found they win greater
1. a re responsible and accountable for health and safety
support for health and safety by involving workers in
performance within the organization;
2. must ensure that adequate resources are available
for the health and safety requirements within the
3.5.4  Review health and safety organization;
3. establish, implement and maintain a formal, written
A formal boardroom review of health and safety perfor-
health and safety programme for the organization
mance is essential. It allows the Board to establish whether
that encompasses all areas of significant health and
the essential health and safety principles – strong and
safety risk;
active leadership, worker involvement, and assessment
4. approve, introduce and monitor all site health and
and review – have been embedded in the organization. It
safety policies, rules and procedures;
tells senior managers whether their system is effective in
5. review annually the effectiveness and, if necessary,
managing risk and protecting people.
require revision of the health and safety programme.
Core actions
The board should review health and safety performance at
least once a year. The review process should:
3.6.2  Departmental managers
The principal departmental managers may report to the
(a) e xamine whether the health and safety policy reflects
Site Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. In
the organization’s current priorities, plans and targets;
particular, they:
(b) examine whether risk management and other health
and safety systems have been effectively reported to 1. a re responsible and accountable for the health and
the board; safety performance of their department;
(c) report health and safety shortcomings, and the effect 2. must ensure that any machinery, equipment or vehi-
of all relevant board and management decisions; cles used within the department are maintained,
(d) decide actions to address any weaknesses and a ­correctly guarded and meet agreed health and safety
­system to monitor their implementation; standards. Copies of records of all maintenance, statu-
(e) consider immediate reviews in the light of major tory and other necessary inspections (e.g. by insur-
shortcomings or events. ance companies or other officials) must be kept by the
Departmental Manager;
3. develop a training plan that includes specific job instruc-
Good practice
tions for new or transferred employees and follow up
ää Performance on health and safety and well-being is
on the training by supervisors. Copies of records of all
increasingly being recorded in organizations’ annual
training must be kept by the Departmental Manager;
reports to investors and stakeholders.
4. personally investigate all lost workday cases and dan-
ää Board members can make extra ‘shop floor’ visits to
gerous occurrences and report to their line manager.
gather information for the formal review.
Progress any required corrective action.
ää Good health and safety performance can be cele-
brated at central and local level.
3.6.3  Supervisors
   3.6      Typical managers’ The supervisors are responsible to and report to their
Departmental Manager. In particular, they:
organizational responsibilities
1. a re responsible and accountable for their team’s
A summary of the organizational responsibilities for health health and safety performance;
and safety for typical line managers is given here. A more 2. enforce all safe systems of work procedures that have
detailed list of the responsibilities is given in Appendix 3.1. been issued by the Departmental Manager;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

3. instruct employees in relevant health and safety rules,

make records of this instruction and enforce all health
and safety rules and procedures;
4. enforce PPE requirements, make spot checks to deter-
mine that protective equipment is being used and
periodically appraise condition of equipment. Record
any infringements of the PPE policy.

   3.7      Role and functions of health

and safety practitioners
and other advisers
3.7.1  Competent person Figure 3.2  Safety practitioner at the front line.

The ILO Convention requires that there should be an occu- ää radiation protection advisers (for advice on compli-
pational health service and a safety service available within ance with the Ionizing Radiation Regulations 1999 UK);
the organization, jointly with other organizations or from ää health and safety practitioners for general advice
an outside body. Some countries require this by law; oth- on implementation of legislation, health and safety
ers are not specific on the issue. In Europe a person must management, risk assessment, control measures and
be appointed to assist managers to implement the legis- monitoring performance.
lation. The essential point is that managers should have
access to expertise to help them fulfil their legal require-
3.7.2  Health and safety practitioner
ments and achieve an acceptable standard of health and
safety at those workplaces for which they are responsible. Status and competence are essential to the role of health
However, the appointed person(s) or outside body will and safety practitioners and other advisers. They must
generally remain as advisers and not assume responsibility be able to advise management and employees or their
in law for health and safety matters. This responsibility usu- representatives with authority and independence (see
ally remains with line managers and cannot be delegated Figure 3.2). They need to be able to advise on:
to an adviser, whether inside or outside the organization.
ää creating and developing health and safety policies.
Many health and safety issues can be tackled by peo-
These will be for existing activities in addition to new
ple with an understanding of current best practice and an
acquisitions or processes;
ability to judge and solve problems. Some specialist help
ää the promotion of a positive health and safety culture.
may be needed for the long term, while other help may
This includes helping managers to ensure that an
only be needed for a one-off short period. There is a wide
effective health and safety policy is implemented;
range of specialists available for different types of health
ää health and safety planning. This will include goal-
and safety problems. For example:
setting, deciding priorities and establishing adequate
ää engineers for specialist ventilation or chemical systems and performance standards. Short- and long-
processes; term objectives need to be realistic;
ää occupational hygienists for assessment and practical ää day-to-day implementation and monitoring of pol-
advice on exposure to chemical (dust, gases, fumes, icy and plans. This will include accident and incident
etc.), biological (viruses, fungi, etc.) and physical investigation, reporting and analysis;
(noise, vibration, etc.) agents; ää performance reviews and audit of the whole health
ää occupational health professionals for medical exami- and safety management system.
nations and diagnosis of work-related disease, pre-
To do this properly, health and safety practitioners
employment and sickness advice, health education;
need to:
ää ergonomists for advice on suitability of equipment,
comfort, physical work environment, work organization; ää have correct training and be suitably qualified – for
ää physiotherapists for treatment and prevention of example NEBOSH Diploma or competence-based
musculoskeletal disorders; IOSH (or other national Professional Association)

Organizing for health and safety

Membership, relevant degree and, where appropriate, ää local fire and rescue authorities;
a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner. NEBOSH ää local police authorities;
certificate in small- to medium-sized low-hazard ää local authorities;
premises, like offices, call centres, warehouses and ää insurance companies;
retail stores; ää contractors;
ää keep up-to-date information systems on such topics ää clients and customers;
as civil and criminal law, health and safety manage- ää public;
ment and technical advances; ää equipment suppliers;
ää know how to interpret the law as it applies to their ää professional OH&S associations;
own organization; ää other OH&S specialists and services.
ää actively participate in the establishment of organiza-
tional arrangements, systems and risk control stan-
dards relating to hardware and human performance.    3.8      Persons in control
Health and safety practitioners will need to work with
management on matters such as legal and technical
of premises
ää undertake the development and maintenance of pro- In some situations the employer is not the only person
cedures for reporting, investigating, recording and responsible for the safety of people in a workplace. Cer-
analyzing accidents and incidents; tain duties are placed on, for example, ‘Persons in control
ää develop and maintain procedures to ensure that of [usually non-domestic] premises’, to take such steps as
senior managers get a true picture of how well health are reasonable in their position to ensure that there are
and safety is being managed (where a benchmark- no risks to the health and safety of people who are not
ing role may be especially valuable). This will include employees but use the premises. Examples would be
monitoring, review and auditing; where there are several workplaces or companies occupy-
ää be able to present their advice independently and ing a large building owned and controlled by a landlord.
effectively. This duty may extend to:
ää people entering the premises to work;
3.7.3  Relationships within the organization ää people entering the premises to use machinery or
equipment, for example a launderette;
Health and safety practitioners:
ää access to and exit from the premises;
ää support the provision of authoritative and indepen- ää corridors, stairs, lifts and storage areas.
dent advice;
Those in control of premises need to take a range of
ää report directly to directors or senior managers on
steps depending on the likely use of the premises and the
matters of policy and often have the authority to stop
extent of their control and knowledge of the actual use of
work if it contravenes agreed standards and puts peo-
the premises. For example they may need to provide fire
ple at risk of injury;
alarms and escape routes which are common to all occupi-
ää are responsible for professional standards and
ers of the premises.
They may also have line management responsibility
for other health and safety practitioners, in a large group
of companies or on a large and/or high-hazard site.
   3.9      Self-employed

The duties imposed on the self-employed are often

3.7.4  Relationships outside the organization non-existent or fairly limited. Because the work of self-
Health and safety practitioners also have a function out- employed people can affect the safety of others they
side their own organization. They provide the point of should be responsible:
liaison with a number of other agencies including the
ää for their own health and safety;
ää to ensure that others who may be affected are not
ää local OSH enforcement officers and licensing officials; exposed to risks to their health and safety;
ää architects and consultants; ää to carry out risk assessment;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

ää to co-operate with other people who work in the

premises and, where necessary, in the appointment
of a health and safety coordinator;
ää to provide comprehensible information to other
­peoples’ employees working in their undertaking.

   3.10      The supply chain

3.10.1  Introduction

Market leaders in every industry throughout the world are

increasing their grip on the chain of supply. They do so by Figure 3.3  NEBOSH is in control here (former premises).
monitoring rather than managing, and also by working
more closely with suppliers. The result of this may be that
suppliers or contractors are absorbed into the culture of increased size and perhaps mergers, though in principle
the dominant firm, while avoiding the costs and liabilities bids could be, and perhaps are, made by loose partner-
of actual management. Powerful procurement depart- ships of smaller firms organized to secure such business.
ments emerge to define and impose the necessary quality
standards and guard the lists of preferred suppliers. 3.10.2  Advantages of good supply chain
The trend in many countries and manufacturing busi- management
nesses is to involve suppliers in a greater part of the manu-
facturing process so that much of the final production is Reduction of waste
the assembly of pre-fabricated subassemblies. This is par- This is an important objective of any business and involves
ticularly true of the automotive and aircraft industries. This not only waste of materials but also that of time. Examples
is good practice as it: of waste are:
ää involves the supplier in the design process; ää unwanted materials due to over ordering, damage or
ää reduces the number of items being managed within incorrect specifications;
the business; ää extraneous activities like double handling, for exam-
ää reduces the number of suppliers; ple between manufacturer, builder’s merchant and
ää improves quality management by placing the onus the site;
on suppliers to deliver fully checked and tested com- ää re-working and re-fitting due to poor quality, design,
ponents and systems. storage or manufacture;
ää waste of time such as waiting for supplies due to
In retail, suppliers are even given access to daily sales
excessive time from ordering to delivery or early deliv-
and forecasts of demand which would normally be consid-
ery long before they are needed.
ered as highly confidential information. In the process, the
freedom of local operating managers to pick and choose
suppliers is reduced. Even though the responsibility to Faster reaction
do so is often retained, it is strongly qualified by centrally A well-managed supply chain should be able to respond
imposed rules and lists, and assistance or oversight (see rapidly to changing requirements (Figure 3.4). Cold con-
Figure 3.3). ditions require very different materials than during hot or
Suppliers have to be: drier seasons. A contractor may have to modify plans rap-
idly and suppliers may need to ramp up or change produc-
ää trusted;
tion at short notice.
ää treated with fairness in a partnership;
ää given full information to meet the demands being
Reduction in accidents
placed on them.
A closer relationship between client, designers, principal
Under these conditions, suppliers and contractors contractors and suppliers of services and products can
looking for business with major firms need greater flexibil- result not only in a safer finished product but, in construc-
ity and wider competence than earlier. This often implies tion, a safer method of erection. If more products are

Organizing for health and safety

in all trading blocs/countries to implement it globally. See

Supplies payment Chapter 6 for more information.
ILO-OSH 2001 requires that procedures should be
established and maintained to ensure that:
Supplies work,
information, Supplies invoice,
keys, car, report (a) c ompliance with safety and health requirements for
car, limits on
cost the organization is identified, evaluated and incorpo-
rated into purchasing and leasing specifications;
Service (b) national laws and regulations and the organization’s
reception own OSH requirements are identified prior to the pro-
curement of goods and services; and
Supplies car, keys,
Supplies job
information on work
(c) arrangements are made to achieve conformity to the
sheet, car requirements prior to their use.
done and problems
Supplies parts Good practice in local legislation should:
as requested
Parts ää ensure that the article will be safe and without risk to
Supplies request health at all times when it is being set, used, cleaned
for parts and or maintained;
consumables ää carry out any necessary testing and examination to
Figure 3.4  Typical supply chain. ensure that it will be safe;
ää provide adequate information about its safe setting,
use, cleaning, maintenance, dismantling and disposal;
­ re-assembled in ideal factory conditions and then fixed in
ää ensure that there is an obligation on designers or
place on site, it is often safer than utilizing a full assembly
manufacturers to do any research necessary to prove
approach in poor weather conditions on temporary work
safety in use. Erectors or installers have special respon-
platforms. Examples are made-up roof trusses and prefab-
sibilities to make sure, when handed over, that the
ricated doors and windows already fitted to their frames.
plant or equipment is safe to use;
ää place similar duties on manufacturers and suppli-
3.10.3  Legislation and Standards ers of substances for use at work to ensure that the
substance is safe when properly used, handled, pro-
Legislation in a number of countries places a duty on
cessed, stored or transported and to provide adequate
everyone in the supply chain, from the designer to the final
information and do any necessary research, testing or
installer, of articles of plant or equipment for use at work.
However, supply side legislation often has two purposes
and is separate from much of the workplace Occupational Where articles or substances are imported, the sup-
Safety and Health law. First, it provides a quality standard pliers’ obligations outlined above should attach to the
to protect users and consumers which includes their importer, whether they are a separate importing business
health and safety. Second, it can provide a barrier to trade or the user personally who does the importing.
by insisting that all imported goods must comply with a Often items are obtained through hire purchase, leas-
particular country’s unique set of supply requirements. ing or other financing arrangements with the ownership
Within the 27 countries of the European Union much of the items being vested with the financing organization.
of the agreed standards for plant and equipment has been Where the financing organization’s only function is to pro-
promulgated to remove barriers to trade between Mem- vide the money to pay for the goods, the supplier’s obliga-
ber States. A piece of equipment with a CE mark must be tions often do not attach to them.
accepted as complying with all requirements across the
EU and can be sold throughout the EU. See Chapter 11 for
more details of this EU safeguard.
3.10.4  Information for customers
There are global examples of standards which are pri- The quality movement has drawn attention to the need to
marily designed to protect the health and safety of users. ensure that there are processes in place that ensure qual-
The best example of this is the ILO sponsored Globally Har- ity, rather than just inspecting and removing defects when
monized System of Classification and labelling of Chemi- it is too late. In much the same way, organizations need to
cals, which is due to be fully operational by June 2015. This manage health and safety proactively rather than acting
is an international agreement and requires local ­legisla­­tion after incidents, when it is too late.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

Customers need information and specifications from the

manufacturer or supplier – especially where there is a potential
risk involved for them. When deciding what the supplier needs
to pass on, careful consideration is required about the health
and safety factors associated with any product or service.
This means focusing on four key questions and then
framing the information supplied so that it deals with each
one. The questions are as follows:
ää Are there any inherent dangers in the product or ser-
vice being passed on – what could go wrong?
ää What can the manufacturer or supplier do while work-
ing on the product or service to reduce the chance of
anything going wrong at a later point?
ää What can be done at the point of handover to limit the
chances of anything going wrong?
ää What steps should customers take to reduce the
chances of something going wrong? What precisely
would they need to know?

3.10.5  Buying problems

Examples of problems that may arise when purchasing
ää secondhand equipment which does not conform to
Figure 3.5  Inadequate chair: it should have five feet and a
current safety standards such as an office chair which
higher, adjustable back. Take care when buying secondhand.
does not provide adequate back support or have five
feet/castors (Figure 3.5);
i­nstallation, use, cleaning, maintenance, disposal, etc.). The
ää starting to use new substances which do not have
supplier should be able to provide the information needed to
safety data sheets;
do this. This will help the purchaser make an informed deci-
ää machinery which, while well guarded for operators,
sion on the total costs because the risks will have been iden­
may pose risks for a maintenance engineer.
tified as will the precautions needed to control those risks.
A risk assessment should be done on any new prod-
uct, taking into account the likely life expectancy (delivery, Employers have key duties when buying plant and

A note on CE marking: ää they must ensure that work equipment is safe and
A risk assessment will still be needed for a suitable for its purpose and complies with the rel-
CE-marked product. The CE marking signifies the evant legislation. This applies equally to equipment
manufacturer’s declaration that the product con- which is adapted to be used in ways for which it was
forms to relevant European Directives. Declara- not originally designed;
tions from reputable manufacturers will normally ää when selecting work equipment, they must consider
be reliable. However, purchasers should be alert existing working conditions and health and safety issues;
to fake or inadequate declarations and techni- ää they must provide adequate health and safety infor-
cal standards which may affect the health and mation, instructions, training and supervision for
safety of the product despite the CE mark. The operators. Manufacturers and suppliers are often
risk assessment is still necessary to consider how required by law to provide information that will
and where the product will be used, what effect enable safe use of the equipment, substances, etc.
it might have on existing operations and what and without risk to health.
training will be required. Some of the issues that will need to be considered
when buying in a product or plant include:

Organizing for health and safety

ää ergonomics – risk of work-related upper limb ää employees have to co-operate with their employer on
­disorders (WRULD); health and safety matters, and not do anything that
ää manual handling needs; puts them or others at risk;
ää access/egress; ää employees must be trained and clearly instructed in
ää storage, for example of chemicals; their duties;
ää risk to contractors when decommissioning old plant ää self-employed people must not put themselves in dan-
or installing new plant; ger, or others who may be affected by what they do;
ää hazardous materials – provision of extraction equip- ää suppliers of chemicals, machinery and equipment
ment or PPE; have to make sure their products or imports are safe,
ää waste disposal; and provide information on this.
ää safe systems of work;
ää training; Good practice encourages employers to take a more
ää machinery guarding; systematic approach to dealing with health and safety by:
ää emissions from equipment/plant, such as noise, heat
ää assessing the risks which affect employees and any-
or vibration.
one who might be affected by the site occupier’s
work, including contractors;
ää setting up emergency procedures;
ää providing training;
   3.11      Contractors ää co-operating with others on health and safety mat-
ters, for example contractors who share the site with
3.11.1  Introduction an occupier;
ää providing temporary workers, such as contractors,
The use of contractors is increasing as many companies
with health and safety information.
turn to outside resources to supplement their own staff
and expertise. A contractor is anyone who is brought in The principles of co-operation, coordination and com-
to work and is not an employee. People on work experi- munication between organizations in a construction proj-
ence or on labour-only contracts or temporary staff are ect are explained next.
normally considered to be employees. Contractors are ILO-OSH 2001 requires that arrangements should be
used for maintenance, repairs, installation, construction, established and maintained for ensuring that the orga-
demolition, computer work, cleaning, security, health nization’s safety and health requirements, or at least the
and safety and many other tasks. Sometimes there are equivalent, are applied to contractors and their workers.
several contractors on site at any one time. Clients need Arrangements for contractors working on site should:
to think about how their work may affect each other
(a) include OH&S criteria in procedures for evaluating
and how they interact with the normal site occupier.
and selecting contractors;
(b) establish effective ongoing communication and coor-
3.11.2  Legal considerations dination between appropriate levels of the organiza-
tion and the contractor prior to commencing work.
All parties to a contract normally have specific responsi-
This should include provisions for communicating haz-
bilities under local health and safety law, and these cannot
ards and the measures to prevent and control them;
be passed on to someone else. For example:
(c) include arrangements for reporting of work-related
ää employers are responsible for protecting people from injuries, ill-health, diseases and incidents among the
harm caused by work activities. This includes the responsi- contractors’ workers while performing work for the
bility not to harm contractors and sub­­-contractors on site; organization;
ää employees and contractors have to take care not (d) provide relevant workplace safety and health hazard
to endanger themselves, their colleagues or others awareness and training to contractors or their workers
affected by their work; prior to commencing work and as work progresses, as
ää contractors also have to comply with local health necessary;
and safety legislation. Clearly, when contractors are (e) regularly monitor OH&S performance of contractor
engaged, the activities of different employers do inter- activities on site; and
act. So co-operation and communication are needed (f) ensure that on-site OH&S procedures and arrange-
to make sure all parties can meet their obligations; ments are followed by the contractor(s).

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

(e) d etails on how the contractor will audit and imple-

3.11.3  Construction projects
ment its health and safety procedure;
Businesses often engage contractors for construction (f) procedures for investigating incidents and learning
projects to build plant, convert or extend premises and the lessons from them.
demolish buildings. Good practice on construction proj-
ects require the following details. Smaller contractors may need some guidance to help
Non-domestic clients to: them produce suitable method statements. While they do
not need to be lengthy, they should set out those features
ää check the competence of all their appointees;
essential to safe working, for example, access arrange-
ää ensure there are suitable management arrangements
ments, PPE, control of chemical risks, etc.
for the project;
Copies of relevant risk assessments for the work to be
ää allow sufficient time and resources for all stages;
undertaken should be requested. These need not be very
ää provide pre-construction information to designers
detailed but should indicate the risk and the control meth-
and contractors.
ods to be used.
Designers to: For more information see Chapter 16.
ää eliminate hazards and reduce risks during design; and
ää provide information about remaining risks. 3.11.4  Contractor selection
Contractors to: The selection of the right contractor for a particular job is
probably the most important element in ensuring that the
ää plan, manage and monitor their own work and that
risks to the health and safety of all involved in the activity
of employees;
and people in the vicinity, are reduced as far as possible.
ää check the competence of all their appointees and
Ideally, selection should be made from a list of approved
contractors who have demonstrated that they are able to
ää train their own employees;
meet the client’s requirements (Figure 3.6).
ää provide information to their employees;
The selection of a contractor has to be a balanced
ää comply with the requirements for health and safety
judgment with a number of factors taken into account.
on site detailed in local legislation;
Fortunately, a contractor who works well and meets the
ää ensure there are adequate welfare facilities for their
client’s requirements in terms of the quality and timeliness
of the work is also likely to have a better-than-average
Everyone to: health and safety performance. Cost, of course, will have
to be part of the judgment but may not provide any indi-
ää assure their own competence;
cation of which contractor is likely to give the best per-
ää co-operate with others and co-ordinate work so as to
formance in health and safety terms. In deciding which
ensure the health and safety of construction workers
and others who may be affected by the work;
ää report obvious risks;
ää take account of the general principles of prevention
in planning or carrying out construction work;
ää and comply with the requirements of local legisla-
tion for any work under their control.
For even small projects, clients should ensure that
contractors provide:

(a) information regarding the contractor’s health and

safety policy;
(b) information on the contractor’s health and safety
organization detailing the responsibilities of indi-
(c) information on the contractor’s procedures and
­standards of safe working;
(d) the method statements for the project in hand; Figure 3.6  Contractors at work.

Organizing for health and safety

contractor should be chosen for a task, the following ää that the contractor has received and signed a copy of
should be considered: the contractor’s safety rules;
ää that the contractor is clear what is required, the limits
ää Do they have an adequate health and safety policy?
of the work and any special precautions that need to
ää Can they demonstrate that the person responsible for
be taken;
the work is competent?
ää that the contractor’s personnel are properly qualified
ää Can they demonstrate that competent safety advice
for the work to be undertaken.
will be available?
ää Do they monitor the level of accidents at their work
The company contact should check whether sub-­
contractors will be used. They will also require authoriza-
ää Do they have a system to assess the hazards of a job
tion, if deemed acceptable. It will be the responsibility of
and implement appropriate control measures?
the company contact to ensure that sub-contractors are
ää Will they produce a method statement which sets out
properly supervised.
how they will deal with all significant risks?
Appropriate supervision will depend on a number of
ää Do they have guidance on health and safety arrange-
factors, including the risk associated with the job, experi-
ments and procedures to be followed?
ence of the contractor and the amount of supervision the
ää Do they have effective monitoring arrangements?
contractor will provide. The responsibility for ensuring
ää Do they use trained and skilled staff who are qualified
there is proper supervision lies with the person signing the
where appropriate? (Judgment will be required, as
contractor’s authorization.
many construction workers have had little or no train-
The company contact will be responsible for ensuring
ing except training on the job.)
that there is adequate and clear communication between
ää Can the company demonstrate that the employees or
different contractors and company personnel where this
other workers used for the job have had the appropri-
is appropriate.
ate training and are properly experienced and, where
appropriate, qualified?
ää Can they produce good references indicating satisfac- 3.11.6  Safety rules for contractors
tory performance?
In the conditions of contract, there should be a stipu-
lation that the contractor and all of their employees
adhere to the contractor’s safety rules. Contractors’
3.11.5  Contractor authorization safety rules should contain as a minimum the following
Contractors, their employees, sub-contractors and their points:
employees, should not be allowed to commence work
ää Health and safety – that the contractor operates to
on any client’s site without authorization signed by the
at least the minimum legal standard and conforms to
company contact. The authorization should clearly define
accepted industry good practice;
the range of work that the contractor can carry out and
ää Supervision – that the contractor provides a good
set down any special requirements, for example, pro-
standard of supervision of their own employees;
tective clothing, fire exits to be left clear, and isolation
ää Sub-contractors – that they may not use sub-­
contractors without prior written agreement from the
Permits will be required for operations such as hot
work. All contractors should keep a copy of their autho-
ää Authorization – that each employee must carry an
rization at the place of work. A second copy of the autho-
authorization card issued by the organization at all
rization should be kept at the site and be available for
times while on site.
The company contact signing the authorization will
be responsible for all aspects of the work of the contrac-
3.11.7  Example of rules for contractors
tor. At a minimum, the contact will need to check the
following: Contractors engaged by the organization to carry out
work on its premises will:
ää that the correct contractor for the work has been
selected; 1. familiarize themselves with so much of the organi-
ää that the contractor has made appropriate arrange- zation’s health and safety policy as affects them and
ments for supervision of staff; will ensure that appropriate parts of the policy are

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

communicated to their employees, and any sub-­ 16. that any plant and equipment brought onto the
contractors and employees of sub-contractors who premises is in safe condition and used/operated by
will do work on the premises; competent persons;
2. co-operate with the organization in its fulfilment of 17. that for vehicles brought onto the premises,
its health and safety duties to contractors and take any speed, condition or parking restrictions are
the necessary steps to ensure the like co-operation of observed;
their employees; 18. that compliance is made with the relevant require-
3. comply with their legal and moral health, safety and ments for electricity on site;
food hygiene duties; 19. that connection(s) to the organization’s electricity
4. ensure that the carrying out of their work on the orga- supply is from a point specified by its management
nization’s premises is in such a manner as not to put and is by proper connectors and cables;
either themselves or any other persons on or about 20. that they are familiar with emergency procedures
the premises at risk; existing on the premises;
5. ensure that where they wish to avail themselves of the 21. that welfare facilities provided by the organization are
organization’s first-aid arrangements/facilities while treated with care and respect;
on the premises, written agreement to this effect is 22. that access to restricted parts of the premises is
obtained prior to first commencement of work on the observed and the requirements of food safety legisla-
premises; tion are complied with;
6. supply a copy of its statement of policy, organization 23. that any major or lost-time accident or dangerous
and arrangements for health and safety where appli- occurrence on the organization’s premises is reported
cable and requested by the organization; as soon as possible to their site contact;
7. abide by all relevant provisions of the organization’s 24. that where any doubt exists regarding health and safety
safety policy, including compliance with health and requirements, advice is sought from the site contact.
safety rules;
8. ensure that upon arrival at the premises, they and any The foregoing requirements do not exempt contrac-
other persons who are to do work under the contract, tors from their statutory duties in relation to health and
report to reception or their designated organization safety, but are intended to assist them in attaining a high
contact. standard of compliance with those duties.

Without prejudice to the requirements stated above,

contractors, sub-contractors and employees of contrac-
tors and sub-contractors will, to the extent that such mat-
   3.12      Joint occupation of premises
ters are within their control, ensure:
Many countries’ Occupational Safety and Health legislation
9. the safe handling, storage and disposal of materials covers the co-operation between two or more employers
brought onto the premises; who share a workplace, whether on a temporary or a per-
10. that the organization is informed of any hazardous manent basis. In this situation, each employer should:
substances brought onto the premises;
ää co-operate with other employers;
11. that fire prevention and fire precaution measures are
ää take reasonable steps to co-ordinate between other
taken in the use of equipment which could cause
employers to comply with legal requirements;
ää take reasonable steps to inform other employers
12. that steps are taken to minimize noise and vibration
where there are risks to health and safety.
produced by their equipment and activities;
13. that scaffolds, ladders and other such means of access, All employers and self-employed people involved
where required, are erected and used in accordance should satisfy themselves that the arrangements adopted
with legislation and good working practice; are adequate. Where a particular employer controls the
14. that any welding or burning equipment brought onto premises, the other employers should help to assess the
the premises is in safe operating condition and used shared risks and co-ordinate any necessary control proce-
in accordance with all safety requirements; dures. Where there is no controlling employer, the organi-
15. that any lifting equipment brought onto the premises zations present should agree joint arrangements to meet
is adequate for the task and has been properly tested/ regulatory obligations, such as appointing a health and
certified; safety co-ordinator.

Organizing for health and safety

The measures taken to facilitate the co-operation referred to in Article 20 of the Convention
should include, where appropriate and necessary, the appointment, in accordance with
national practice, of workers’ safety delegates, of workers’ safety and health committees,
and/or of joint safety and health committees; in joint safety and health committees workers
should have at least equal representation with employers’ representatives.
Workers’ safety delegates, workers’ safety and health committees, and joint safety  
and health committees or, as appropriate, other workers’ representatives should:
(a) be given adequate information on safety and health matters, enabled to examine  
factors affecting safety and health, and encouraged to propose measures on the subject;
(b) be consulted when major new safety and health measures are envisaged and before they
are carried out, and seek to obtain the support of the workers for such measures;
(c) be consulted in planning alterations of work processes, work content or organization  
of work, which may have safety or health implications for the workers;
(d) be given protection from dismissal and other measures prejudicial to them while  
exercising their functions in the field of occupational safety and health as workers’  
representatives or as members of safety and health committees;
(e) be able to contribute to the decision-making process at the level of the undertaking
regarding matters of safety and health;
(f) have access to all parts of the workplace and be able to communicate with the workers
on safety and health matters during working hours at the workplace;
(g) be free to contact labour inspectors;
(h) be able to contribute to negotiations in the undertaking on occupational safety  
and health matters;
(i) have reasonable time during paid working hours to exercise their safety and health  
functions and to receive training related to these functions;
(j) have recourse to specialists to advise on particular safety and health problems.

recommendations are seen to be ­implemented and both

   3.13      Consultation management and employee concerns are freely ­discussed.
with the workforce It will not be so successful if it is seen as a talking shop.
The committee should have stated objectives which
3.13.1  General mirror the objectives in the organization’s safety and
health policy statement, and its own terms of reference.
It is important to gain the co-operation of all employees if Terms of reference should include the following:
a successful health and safety culture is to become estab-
lished. This co-operation is best achieved by consultation. ää the study of accident and notifiable disease statistics
Joint consultation can help businesses be more efficient to enable reports to be made of recommended reme-
and effective by reducing the number of accidents and dial actions;
work-related ill-health and also to motivate staff by mak- ää the examination of Occupational Health and Safety
ing them aware of health and safety problems. audits and statutory inspection reports;
The ILO Recommendations R164 require that: ää the consideration of reports from the external enforce-
ment agency;
ää the review of new legislation and guidance and their
3.13.2  Safety committees effect on the organization;
In medium and large organizations, the easiest and often ää the monitoring and review of all Occupational Health
the most effective method of consultation is the safety and Safety training and instruction activities in the
and health committee. It will realize its full potential if its organization;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

ää the monitoring and review of Occupational Health and ää further information on training courses.
Safety publicity and communication throughout the
The employer should also provide facilities and assis-
tance for safety delegates. Depending on the circum-
ää development of safe systems of work and safety
stances, these could include:
ää reviewing risk assessments; ää noticeboard;
ää considering reports from safety representatives; ää telephone;
ää continuous monitoring of arrangements for OSH and ää lockable filing cabinet;
revising them whenever necessary. ää access to an office to meet workers in private;
ää camera;
In some countries there are fixed rules on the compo- ää key OH&S information;
sition of the safety and health committee, which must be ää access to specialist assistance and support in under-
followed. Good practice would require that: standing technical issues.
ää it should be representative of the whole organization;
ää It should have representation from the workforce and
the management (probably in equal numbers) includ-
ing at least one senior manager (other than the Health    3.14      Sources of reference
and Safety Advisor);
ää managers and workers safety delegates should agree
who should chair the meetings, how often meetings Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Manage-
should be held and what they hope to achieve. ment Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) ISBN 0-580-37805-5
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS
18000): Occupational Health and Safety Management
3.13.3  Accident and ill-health investigations Systems OHSAS 18001:2007 (ISBN 978 0 580 50802 8),
OHSAS 18002:2008 (ISBN: 978 0 580 61674 7)
Properly investigated accidents and cases of ill-health Occupational Safety and Health Convention (C155) 2003, ILO
can reveal weaknesses that need to be remedied. A joint Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation (R164)
investigation with safety delegates is more likely to inspire 2006, ILO
confidence with workers so that they co-operate fully
with the investigation, as in many cases, those involved
may be concerned about being blamed for the accident.
Safety delegates are entitled to contact labour inspec-    3.15      Practice NEBOSH questions
tors. If this is just for information, they can be contacted
directly. If it is a formal complaint against the employer,
for Chapter 3
the labour inspector will need to know if the employer has
been informed. The inspectors can be contacted anony- 1. O
 utline the factors that will determine the level of super-
mously. They will normally keep the person’s identity vision that a new employee should receive during their
secret in such circumstances. initial period of employment within an organization.

2. (i) Explain the meaning of the term ‘competent

3.13.4  Training, facilities and assistance ­person’.
Safety delegates are legally entitled to paid leave for (ii) Outline the organizational factors that may cause
­training. Training courses topics often include: a person to work unsafely even though they are
ää the role and functions of the safety delegate;
ää health and safety legislation; 3. O
 utline the practical means by which a manager
ää how to identify and minimize hazards; could involve employees in the improvement of
ää how to carry out a workplace inspection and accident health and safety in the workplace.
ää employer’s health and safety arrangements, including 4. Outline the main health and safety responsibilities of:
emergency procedures, risk assessments and health (i) employers;
and safety policies; (ii) workers.

Organizing for health and safety

5. Outline why it is important that all persons are aware 13. (i) Identify the circumstances under which an
of their roles and responsibilities for health and safety employer must establish a health and safety com-
in an organization. mittee.
(ii) Give SIX reasons why a health and safety com-
6. (i) Outline the rights of workers in respect of health mittee may prove to be ineffective in practice.
and safety at work.
(ii) Outline the responsibilities of workers in respect 14. Outline ways to help ensure the effectiveness of a
of health and safety. health and safety committee.

7. Explain how two organizations who share the same 15. Outline the benefits to an organization of having a
workplace can work together to ensure that good health and safety committee.
health and safety standards are achieved.
16. Outline reasons for promoting and maintaining good
8. (i) Give TWO reasons why visitors to a work- standards of health and safety in the workplace.
place might be at greater risk of injury than an (i) Explain the difference between consulting and
employee. informing workers in health and safety issues.
(ii) Outline measures to be taken to ensure the (ii) Outline the health and safety issues on which
health and safety of visitors to the workplace. employers should consult their workers.

9. Two organizations share the same workplace. Outline 17. (i) Explain why it is important for an organization to
how they could co-operate to achieve good health consult with its workers on health and safety issues.
and safety standards. (ii) Describe how the arrangements for consultation
with workers may be made more effective.
10. Identify the factors that should be considered when
assessing the health and safety competence of a con- 18. Employers have a requirement placed upon them
tractor. under health and safety to involve their employees.
(i) Explain the difference between ‘consulting’ and
11. Outline the checks that could be made when assess- ‘ informing’
ing the health and safety competence of a contractor. (ii) Outline the health and safety matters on which
employers must consult their employees.
12. Contractors are carrying out a major building project
for an organization.
Outline how this organization could reduce the risks
to contractors before the start of and during the build-
ing project.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

Appendix 3.1  Detailed health and safety 17. review health and safety reports submitted by outside
responsibilities agencies and determine that any agreed actions have
been taken;
Managing Directors/Chief Executives 18. review annually the effectiveness of, and, if neces-
1. are responsible and accountable for health and safety sary, require revision of the site health and safety
performance at the organization; ­programme;
2. develop a strong, positive health and safety culture 19. appraise the performance of the health and safety advis-
throughout the company and communicate it to ers and provide guidance or training where ­necessary;
all managers. This should ensure that all managers 20. monitor the progress of managers and others towards
have a clear understanding of their health and safety achieving their individual health and safety objectives;
3. provide guidance and leadership on health and safety Departmental Managers
matters to their management team; 1. a re responsible and accountable for the health and
4. establish minimum acceptable health and safety stan- safety performance of their department;
dards within the organization; 2. contact each supervisor frequently (daily) to monitor
5. ensure that adequate resources are available for the the health and safety standards in the department;
health and safety requirements within the organiza- 3. hold departmental health and safety meetings for
tion and authorize any necessary major health and supervisors and employee representatives at least
safety expenditures; once a month;
6. evaluate, approve and authorize health and safety 4. ensure that any machinery, equipment or vehicles
related projects developed by the organization’s used within the department are maintained and cor-
health and safety advisers; rectly guarded and meet agreed health and safety
7. review and approve health and safety policies, proce- standards. Copies of records of all maintenance, statu-
dures and programmes developed by the organiza- tory and insurance inspections must be kept by the
tion’s managers; departmental manager;
8. ensure that a working knowledge of the areas of 5. ensure that all fire and other emergency equipment is
health and safety that are regulated by various gov- properly maintained on a regular basis with all faults
ernmental agencies are maintained; rectified promptly and that all departmental staff are
9. ensure that health and safety is included as an agenda aware of fire and emergency procedures;
topic at all formal senior management meetings; 6. ensure that there is adequate first-aid cover on all
10. review and act upon major recommendations submit- shifts and all first-aid boxes are adequately stocked;
ted by outside loss prevention consultants and insur- 7. ensure that safe systems of work procedures are in
ance companies; place for all jobs and that copies of all procedures are
11. ensure that health and safety is included in any tours submitted to the site managing director for approval;
such as fire inspections of the organization’s sites and 8. review all job procedures on a regular basis and
note any observed acts or conditions that fall short of require each supervisor to check that the procedures
or exceed agreed health and safety standards; are being used correctly;
12. ensure that all fatalities, major property losses, serious 9. approve and review, annually, all departmental health
lost workday injuries and dangerous occurrences are and safety risk assessments, rules and procedures,
investigated; maintain strict enforcement and develop plans to
13. establish, implement and maintain a formal, written ensure employee instruction and re-instruction;
health and safety programme for the organization 10. ensure that all health and safety documents (such
that encompasses all areas of significant health and as the organization’s health and safety manual, risk
safety risk; assessments, rules and procedures) are easily acces-
14. establish controls to ensure uniform adherence to the sible to all departmental staff;
health and safety programme across the organization. 11. establish acceptable housekeeping standards, defin-
These controls should include both corrective and ing specific areas of responsibility, and assign areas
follow-up actions; to supervisors; make a weekly spot check across the
15. attend the health and safety committee meetings at department, hold a formal inspection with supervi-
the organization; sors at least monthly and submit written reports of
16. review, on a regular basis, all health and safety activity the inspections to the health and safety adviser with
reports and performance statistics; deadlines for any required actions;

Organizing for health and safety

12. authorize purchases of tools and equipment neces- conditions, report to the departmental manager those
sary to attain compliance with the organization’s conditions that cannot be immediately corrected and
specifications and relevant statutory regulations; instruct employees on housekeeping standards;
13. develop a training plan that includes specific job instruc- 9. instruct employees that tools/equipment are to be
tions for new or transferred employees and follow up on inspected before each use and make spot checks of
the training by supervisors. Copies of records of all train- tools’/equipment’s condition;
ing must be kept by the departmental manager; 10. instruct each new employee personally on job health
14. review the health and safety performance of their and safety requirements in assigned work areas;
department each quarter and submit a report to the 11. provide on-the-job instruction on safe and efficient
managing director/chief executive; performance of assigned jobs for all employees in the
15. personally investigate all lost workday cases and work area;
dangerous occurrences and report to the managing 12. report any apparent employee health problems to the
director/chief executive. Progress any required correc- departmental manager;
tive action; 13. enforce PPE requirements; make spot checks to deter-
16. adopt standards for assigning PPE to employees, insist mine that protective equipment is being used and
on strict enforcement and make spot field checks to periodically appraise condition of equipment. Record
determine compliance; any infringements of the PPE policy;
17. evaluate the health and safety performances of super- 14. in the case of a serious injury, ensure that the injured
visors; employee receives prompt medical attention, iso-
18. develop in each supervisor strong health and safety late the area and/or the equipment as necessary and
attitudes and a clear understanding of their specific immediately report the incident to the departmen-
duties and responsibilities; tal manager. In case of a dangerous occurrence, the
19. instil, by action, example and training, a positive health supervisor should take immediate steps to correct
and safety culture among all departmental staff; any unsafe condition and, if necessary, isolate the area
20. instruct supervisors in site procedures for the care and and/or the equipment. As soon as possible, details of
treatment of sick or injured employees; the incident and any action taken should be reported
21. ensure that the names of any absentees, written to the departmental manager;
warnings and all accident reports are submitted to the 15. investigate all accidents, serious incidents and cases
human resources manager. of ill-health involving employees in assigned work
areas. Immediately after an accident, complete acci-
Supervisors dent report form and submit it to the departmental
1. a re responsible and accountable for their team’s manager for onward submission to the health and
health and safety performance; safety adviser. A preliminary investigation report and
2. conduct informal health and safety meetings with any recommendations for preventing a recurrence
their employees at least monthly; should be included on the accident report form;
3. enforce all safe systems of work procedures that have 16. check for any changes in operating practices, proce-
been issued by the departmental manager; dures and other conditions at the start of each shift/
4. report to the departmental manager any weaknesses day and before relieving the ‘on duty’ supervisor
in the safe system of work procedures or any actions (if applicable). A note should be made of any health
taken to revise such procedures. These weaknesses and safety related incidents that have occurred since
may be revealed by either health and safety risk their last working period;
assessments or observations; 17. at the start of each shift/day, make an immediate
5. report any jobs that are not covered by safe systems of check to determine any absentees. Report any absen-
work procedures to the departmental manager; tees to the departmental manager;
6. review any unsafe acts and conditions and either 18. make daily spot checks and take necessary corrective
eliminate them or report them to the departmental action regarding housekeeping, unsafe acts or prac-
manager; tices, unsafe conditions, job procedures and adher-
7. instruct employees in relevant health and safety rules, ence to health and safety rules;
make records of this instruction and enforce all health 19. attend all scheduled and assigned health and safety
and safety rules and procedures; training meetings;
8. make daily inspections of assigned work areas and take 20. act on all employee health and safety complaints and
immediate steps to correct any unsafe or ­unsatisfactory suggestions;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

21. maintain, in their assigned area, health and safety signs 3. T he hazards and risk assessments
and notice boards in a clean and legible condition. Site and location
ä Consider the means of getting into and out of the
Employees and agency workers site and the particular place of work – are they
1. are responsible for their own health and safety; safe? – and
2. e nsure that their actions will not jeopardize the safety ä Will any risks arise from environmental condi-
or health of other employees; tions?
3. obey any safety rules, particularly regarding the use of ä Will you be remote from facilities and assisance?
PPE or other safety equipment; ä What about physical/structural conditions?
4. learn and follow the operating procedures and health ä What arrangements are there for security?
and safety rules and procedures for the safe perfor- Substances
mance of the assigned job; ä What supplier information is available?
5. must correct, or report to their Supervisor, any ä Is there likely to be any microbiological risk?
observed unsafe practices and conditions; ä What are the storage arrangements?
6. maintain a healthy and safe place to work and co- ä What are the physical conditions at the point of
operate with managers in the implementation of use? Check ventilation, temperature, electrical
health and safety matters; installations, etc.
7. make suggestions to improve any aspect of health ä Will you encounter substances that are not sup-
and safety; plied, but produced in the work, for example
8. maintain an active interest in health and safety; fumes from hot work during dismantling plant?
9. follow the established procedures if accidents occur Check how much, how often, for how long,
by reporting any accident to the Supervisor; method of work, etc.
10. report any absence from the company caused by ä What are the control measures? For example, con-
­illness or an accident. sider preventing exposure, providing engineering
controls, using personal protection (in that order
Appendix 3.2  Checklist for supply chain of choice).
ä Is any monitoring required?
health and safety management ä Is health surveillance necessary, for example for
This checklist is taken from the UK’s HSE leaflet INDG368 work with sensitizers? (Refer to health and safety
Working Together: Guidance on Health and Safety for Con- data sheet.)
tractors and Suppliers 2003. It is a reminder of the topics Plant and equipment
that might need to be discussed with people with whom ä What are the supplier/hirer/manufacturer’s instru
individual contractors may be working. ctions?
It is not intended to be exhaustive and not all ques- ä Are any certificates of examination and test nee
tions will apply at any one time, but it should help people ded?
to get started. ä What arrangements have been made for inspec-
tion and maintenance?
1. R esponsibilities ä What arrangements are there for shared use?
ä What are the hazards of the job? ä Are the electrics safe to use? Check the condition
ä Who is to assess particular risks? of power sockets, plugs, leads and equipment.
ä Who will co-ordinate action? (Don’t use damaged items until they have been
ä Who will monitor progress? repaired.)
2. The job ä What assessments have been made of noise
ä Where is it to be done? ­levels?
ä Who with? 4. People
ä Who is in charge? ä Is information, instruction and training given, as
ä How is the job to be done? appropriate?
ä What other work will be going on at the same ä What are the supervision arrangements?
time? ä Are members of the public/inexperienced people
ä How long will it take? involved?
ä What time of day or night? ä Have any disabilities/medical conditions been
ä Do you need any permit to do the work? considered?

Organizing for health and safety

5. Emergencies 6. W
 elfare: Who will provide:
ä What arrangements are there for warning systems ä shelter?
in case of fire and other emergencies? ä food and drinks?
ä What arrangements have been made for fire/ ä washing facilities?
emergency drills? ä toilets (male and female)?
ä What provision has been made for first-aid and ä clothes changing/drying facilities?
fire-fighting equipment?
ä Do you know where your nearest fire exits are? There may be other pressing requirements which
ä What are the accident reporting arrangements? make it essential to re-think health and safety as the work
ä Are the necessary arrangements made for avail- progresses.
ability of rescue equipment and rescuers?

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Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Promoting a
positive health
and safety culture
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Describe the concept of health and safety culture and its

significance in the management of health and safety in an

nn Identify indicators which could be used to assess the

effectiveness of an organization’s health and safety culture
and recognize factors that could cause its deterioration

nn Identify the factors which influence safety-related

behaviour at work

nn Identify methods which could be used to improve the

health and safety culture of an organization

nn Outline the internal and external influences on an

organization’s health and safety standards.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

 4.1    Introduction

n the United Kingdom in 1972, a Government Inquiry There is concern among some health and safety pro-
Report (known as the Robens Report) recognized that fessionals that many health and safety cultures are devel-
the introduction of health and safety management sys- oped and driven by senior managers with very little input
tems was essential if the ideal of self-regulation of health and from the workforce. Others argue that this arrangement
safety by industry was to be realized. It further recognized is sensible because the legal duties are placed on the
that a more active involvement of the workforce in such sys- employer. A positive health and safety culture needs the
tems was essential if self-regulation was to work. Self-regula- involvement of the whole workforce just as a successful
tion and the implicit need for health and safety management quality system does. There must be a joint commitment in
systems and employee involvement were incorporated into terms of attitudes and values. The workforce must believe
the UK Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act. that the safety measures put in place will be effective and
Since the introduction of the HSW Act, health and followed even when financial and performance targets
safety standards have improved considerably in the UK may be affected.
but there have been some catastrophic failures. One of
the worst was the fire on the off-shore oil platform, Piper
Alpha, in 1988 when 167 people died. At the subsequent    4.3      ILO perspective on health
enquiry, the concept of a safety culture was defined by the
Director General of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
and safety culture
at that time, J. R. Rimington. This definition has remained
as one of the key points for a successful health and safety The ILO defines a health and safety culture in its Con-
management system. vention C187 (Promotional Framework for Occupational
Safety and Health Convention, 2006) as:

   4.2      Definition of a health and safety

culture A culture in which the right to a safe
and healthy working environment is
respected at all levels, where govern-
The health and safety culture of an organization may be ment, employers and workers actively
described as the development stage of the organization in participate in securing a safe and healthy
health and safety management at a particular time. HSG65 working environment through a system
gives the following definition of a health and safety culture: of defined rights, responsibilities and
duties, and where the principle of preven-
tion is accorded the highest priority.
The safety culture of an organization is
the product of individual and group val- It further recommends in R197 (Promotional Frame-
ues, attitudes, perceptions, competencies work for Occupational Safety and Health Recommenda-
and patterns of behaviour that deter- tion, 2006), that in promoting a national preventative
mine the commitment to, and the style health and safety culture Member States should seek to:
and proficiency of, an organization’s
health and safety management. (a) r aise workplace and public awareness on occupa-
tional health and safety through national campaigns
Organizations with a positive safety linked with, where appropriate, workplace and inter-
culture are characterized by communica- national initiatives;
tions founded on mutual trust, by shared (b) promote mechanisms for delivery of occupational
perceptions of the importance of safety health and safety education and training, in particu-
and by confidence in the efficacy of pre- lar for management, supervisors, workers and their
ventive measures. ­representatives and government officials responsible
for health and safety;

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

ää acceptance that high standards of health and safety

are achievable as part of a long-term strategy formu-
lated by the organization;
ää a detailed assessment of health and safety risks in the
organization and the development of appropriate
control and monitoring systems;
ää a health and safety policy statement outlining short-
and long-term health and safety objectives. Such
a policy should also include codes of practice and
required health and safety standards;
ää relevant employee training programmes and commu-
nication and consultation procedures;
ää systems for monitoring equipment, processes and
procedures and the prompt rectification of any
Figure 4.1  Safety investment.
ää the prompt investigation of all incidents and acci-
(c) introduce occupational health and safety concepts dents and reports made detailing any necessary
and, where appropriate, competencies, in educational remedial actions.
and vocational training programmes;
(d) facilitate the exchange of occupational health and If the organization adheres to these elements, then a
safety statistics and data among relevant authorities, basis for a good performance in health and safety will have
employers, workers and their representatives; been established. However, to achieve this level of perfor-
(e) provide information and advice to employers and mance, sufficient financial and human resources must be
workers and their respective organizations and to made available for the health and safety function at all lev-
promote or facilitate co-operation among them with els of the organization.
a view to eliminating or minimizing, so far as is reason- All managers, supervisors and members of the gov-
ably practicable, work-related hazards and risks; erning body (e.g. directors) should receive training in
(f) promote, at the level of the workplace, the establish- health and safety and be made familiar during training
ment of safety and health policies and joint health sessions with the health and safety targets of the organiza-
and safety committees and the designation of work- tion. The depth of training undertaken will depend on the
ers’ occupational health and safety representatives, in level of competence required of the particular manager.
accordance with national law and practice; and Managers should be accountable for health and safety
(g) address the constraints of micro-enterprises and within their departments and be rewarded for significant
small- and medium-sized enterprises and contractors improvements in health and safety performance. They
in the implementation of occupational health and should also be expected to discipline employees within
safety policies and regulations, in accordance with their departments who infringe health and safety policies
national law and practice. or procedures.

4.4.2  Important indicators of a health

   4.4      Safety culture and safety and safety culture
performance There are several outputs or indicators of the state of the
health and safety culture of an organization. The most
4.4.1  The relationship between health important are the numbers of accidents, near misses
and safety culture and health and safety and occupational ill-health cases occurring within the
performance organization.
Although the number of accidents may give a gen-
The following elements are the important components of eral indication of the health and safety culture, a more
a positive health and safety culture: detailed examination of accidents and accident statistics
is normally required. A calculation of the rate of accidents
ää leadership and commitment to health and safety enables health and safety performance to be compared
throughout and at all levels of the organization; between years and organizations.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

The simplest measure of accident rate is called the In summary, a poor health and safety performance
incidence rate and is defined as: within an organization is an indication of a negative health
and safety culture.
Total number of accidents
× 1000
Number of persons employed 4.4.3  Factors affecting a health and safety
or the total number of accidents per 1000 employees.
A similar measure (per 100 000) is used by the UK HSE in The most important factor affecting the health and safety
its annual report on national accident statistics and enables culture of an organization is the commitment to health
comparisons to be made within an organization between and safety from the top of an organization. This commit-
time periods when employee numbers may change. It also ment may be shown in many different ways. It needs to
allows comparisons to be made with the national occupa- have a formal aspect in terms of an organizational struc-
tional or industrial group relevant to the organization. ture, job descriptions and a health and safety policy, but it
There are four main problems with this measure which also needs to be apparent during crises or other stressful
must be borne in mind when it is used. These are: times. The health and safety procedures may be circum-
vented or simply forgotten when production or other per-
ää there may be a considerable variation over a time
formance targets are threatened.
period in the ratio of part-time to full-time employees;
Structural reorganization or changes in market condi-
ää the measure does not differentiate between major
tions will produce feelings of uncertainty among the work-
and minor accidents and takes no account of other
force which, in turn, will affect the health and safety culture.
incidents, such as those involving damage but no
Poor levels of supervision, health and safety informa-
injury (although it is possible to calculate an incidence
tion and training are very significant factors in reducing
rate for a particular type or cause of accident);
health and safety awareness and, therefore, the culture.
ää there may be significant variations in work activity
Finally, the degree of consultation and involvement
during the periods being compared;
with the workforce in health and safety matters is crucial
ää under-reporting of accidents will affect the accuracy
for a positive health and safety culture. Most of these fac-
of the data.
tors may be summed up as human factors.
Subject to the above limitations, an organization with
a high accident incidence rate is likely to have a negative
or poor health and safety culture.
There are other indications of a poor health and safety    4.5      Human factors and their
culture or climate. These include: influence on safety performance
ää a high sickness, ill-health and absentee rate among 4.5.1  Human factors
the workforce;
ää the perception of a blame culture; Over the years, there have been several studies under-
ää high staff turnover leading to a loss of momentum in taken to examine the link between various accident types,
making health and safety improvements; graded in terms of their severity, and near misses. One of
ää no resources (in terms of budget, people or facili- the most interesting was conducted in the USA by H. W.
ties) made available for the effective management of Heinrich in 1950. He looked at over 300 accidents/inci-
health and safety; dents and produced the ratios.
ää a lack of compliance with relevant health and safety This study indicated that for every 10 near misses,
law and the safety rules and procedures of the there will be an accident. Although the accuracy of this
organization; study may be debated and other studies have produced
ää poor selection procedures and management of different ratios, it is clear that if near misses are continu-
contractors; ally ignored, an accident will result. Further, the UK HSE
ää poor levels of communication, co-operation and Accident Prevention Unit has suggested that 90% of all
control; accidents are due to human error and 70% of all acci-
ää a weak health and safety management structure; dents could have been avoided by earlier (proactive)
ää either a lack or poor levels of health and safety action by management. It is clear from many research
competence; projects that the major factors in most accidents are
ää high insurance premiums. human factors.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

An organization needs to provide the following ele-

ments within its management system so that a positive
Major accident
health and safety culture may be developed:
ää a clear and evident commitment from the most senior
manager downwards, which provides a climate for
Minor accident safety in which management’s objectives and the
30 need for appropriate standards are communicated
and in which constructive exchange of information at
all levels is positively encouraged;
ää an analytical and imaginative approach identifying
Near miss (no injury) possible routes to human factor failure. This may well
300 require access to specialist advice;
ää procedures and standards for all aspects of critical
work and mechanisms for reviewing them;
Figure 4.2  Heinrich’s accidents/incidents ratios.
ää effective monitoring systems to check the implemen-
tation of the procedures and standards;
ää incident investigation and the effective use of infor-
The HSE has defined human factors as, ‘environmen-
mation drawn from such investigations;
tal, organizational and job factors, and human and indi-
ää adequate and effective supervision with the power to
vidual characteristics which influence behaviour at work
remedy deficiencies when found.
in a way which can affect health and safety’.
In simple terms in addition to the environment, the It is important to recognize that there are often rea-
health and safety of people at work are influenced by: sons for these elements not being present, resulting in
weak management of health and safety. The most com-
ää the organization;
mon reason is that individuals within the management
ää the job;
organization do not understand their roles – or their roles
ää personal factors.
have never been fully explained to them. The higher a per-
These are known as human factors as they each have a son is within the structure, the less likely it is that he has
human involvement. The personal factors which differen- received any health and safety training. Such training at
tiate one person from another are only one part of those Board level is rare.
factors – and not always the most important. Objectives and priorities may vary across and between
Each of these elements will be considered in turn. different levels in the structure, leading to disputes which
affect attitudes to health and safety. For example, a ware-
The organization house manager may be pressured to block walkways so
The organization is the company or corporate body and that a large order can be stored prior to dispatch.
has the major influence on health and safety. It must have Motivations can also vary across the organization,
its own positive health and safety culture and produce an which may cause health and safety to be compromised.
environment in which it: The production controller will require that components of
a product are produced as near simultaneously as possible
ää manages health and safety throughout the organiza- so that their final assembly is performed as quickly as pos-
tion, including the setting and publication of a health sible. However, the health and safety adviser will not want
and safety policy and the establishment of a health to see safe systems of work compromised.
and safety organizational structure; To address some of these problems, it is important to
ää measures the health and safety performance of the define the safety duties of company directors. Each direc-
organization at all levels and in all departments. The per- tor and the Board, acting collectively must provide health
formance of individuals should also be measured. There and safety leadership in the organization. The Board needs
should be clear health and safety targets and standards to ensure that all its decisions reflect its health and safety
and an effective reporting procedure for accidents and intentions and that it engages the workforce actively in
other incidents so that remedial actions may be taken; the improvement of health and safety. The Board will also
ää motivates managers within the organization to be expected to keep itself informed of changes in health
improve health and safety performance in the work- and safety risks. (See Chapter 3 for more details on direc-
place in a proactive rather than reactive manner. tors’ responsibilities.)

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

The following simple checklist may be used to check

any organizational health and safety management struc-
ture. Does the structure have:
ää an effective health and safety management system?
ää a positive health and safety culture?
ää arrangements for the setting and monitoring of
ää adequate supervision?
ää effective incident reporting and analysis?
ää learning from experience?
ää clearly visible health and safety leadership?
ää suitable team structures?
ää efficient communication systems and practices?
ää adequate staffing levels?
ää suitable work patterns?
HSG48 Reducing Error and Influencing Behaviour
gives the following causes for failures in organizational
and management structures:
ää poor work planning leading to high work pressure;
ää lack of safety systems and barriers;
ää inadequate responses to previous incidents; Figure 4.3  Well-designed workstation for sitting or standing.
ää management based on one-way communications;
ää deficient co-ordination and responsibilities;
of human error is minimized. It is also important to ensure
ää poor management of health and safety;
that there is mental matching of the person’s information
ää poor health and safety culture.
and decision-making requirements. A person must be
Organizational factors play a significant role in the capable, either through past experience or through spe-
health and safety of the workplace. However, this role is cific training, of performing the job with the minimum
often forgotten when health and safety is being reviewed potential for human error.
after an accident or when a new process or piece of equip- The major considerations in the design of the job,
ment is introduced. which would be undertaken by a specialist, are as
The job
Jobs may be highly dangerous or present only negligible ää the identification and detailed analysis of the critical
risk of injury. Health and safety is an important element tasks expected of individuals and the appraisal of any
during the design stage of the job and any equipment, likely errors associated with those tasks;
machinery or procedures associated with the job. Method ää evaluation of the required operator decision mak-
study helps to design the job in the most cost-effective ing and the optimum (best) balance between the
way and ergonomics helps to design the job with health human and automatic contributions to safety
and safety in mind. Ergonomics is the science of matching actions (with the emphasis on automatic whenever
equipment, machines and processes to people rather than possible);
the other way round. An ergonomically-designed machine ää application of ergonomic principles to the design of
will ensure that control levers, dials, meters and switches man–machine interfaces, including displays of plant
are sited in a convenient and comfortable position for the and process information, control devices and panel
machine operator. Similarly, an ergonomically-designed layout;
workstation will be designed for the comfort and health ää design and presentation of procedures and operating
of the operator. Chairs, for example, will be designed to instructions in the simplest terms possible;
support the back properly throughout the working day ää organization and control of the working environment,
(Figure 4.3). including the workspace, access for maintenance,
Physically matching the job and any associated lighting, noise and heating conditions;
equipment to the person will ensure that the possibility ää provision of the correct tools and equipment;

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

ää scheduling of work patterns, including shift organiza-

tion, control of fatigue and stress and arrangements
for emergency operations;
ää efficient communications, both immediate and over a
period of time.

For some jobs, particularly those with a high risk of

injury, a job safety analysis should be undertaken to check
that all necessary safeguards are in place. All jobs should
carry a job description and a safe system of work for the
particular task. The operator should have sighted the job
description and be trained in the safe system of work
before commencing the job. More information on both
these latter items is given in Chapter 6.
The following simple checklist may be used to check Figure 4.4  Poor working conditions.
that the principal health and safety considerations of the
job have been taken into account:
do not surface until there is a change of operator or a
ää Have the critical parts of the job been identified and
change in some aspect of the job.
It is very important to gain feedback from the opera-
ää Have the employee’s decision-making needs been
tor on any difficulties experienced because there could be
a health and safety issue requiring further investigation.
ää Has the best balance between human and automatic
systems been evaluated?
Personal factors
ää Have ergonomic principles been applied to the design
Personal factors, which affect health and safety, may be
of equipment displays, including displays of plant and
defined as any condition or characteristic of an individual
process information, control information and panel
which could cause or influence him/her to act in an unsafe
manner. They may be physical, mental or psychological in
ää Has the design and presentation of procedures and
nature. Personal factors, therefore, include issues such as
instructions been considered?
attitude, motivation, training and human error and their
ää Has the guidance available for the design and con-
interaction with the physical, mental and perceptual capa-
trol of the working environment, including the work-
bility of the individual.
space, access for maintenance, lighting, noise and
These factors have a significant effect on health and
heating conditions, been considered?
safety. Some of them, normally involving the personality of
ää Have the correct tools and equipment been provided?
the individual, are unchangeable but others, involving skills,
ää Have the work patterns and shift organization been
attitude, perception and motivation can be changed, modi-
scheduled to minimize their impact on health and
fied or improved by suitable training or other measures. In
summary, the person needs to be matched to the job.
ää Has consideration been given to the achievement of
Studies have shown that the most common personal
efficient communications and shift handover?
factors which contribute to accidents are low skill and
HSG48 gives the following causes for failures in job competence levels, tiredness, boredom, low morale and
health and safety (Figure 4.4): individual medical problems.
It is difficult to separate all the physical, mental or psy-
ää illogical design of equipment and instruments;
chological factors because they are interlinked. However,
ää constant disturbances and interruptions;
the three most common factors are psychological factors:
ää missing or unclear instructions;
attitude, motivation and perception.
ää poorly maintained equipment;
Attitude is the tendency to behave in a particular way in
ää high workload;
a certain situation. Attitudes are influenced by the prevail-
ää noisy and unpleasant working conditions.
ing health and safety culture within the organization, the
It is important that health and safety monitoring of commitment of the management, the experience of the
the job is a continuous process. Some problems do not individual and the influence of the peer group. Peer group
become apparent until the job is started. Other problems pressure is a particularly important factor among young

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

people and health and safety training must be designed Perception is the way in which people interpret the
with this in mind by using examples or case studies that environment or the way in which a person believes or
are relevant to them. Behaviour may be changed by train- understands a situation (Figure 4.6). In health and safety,
ing, the formulation and enforcement of safety rules and the perception of hazards is an important concern. Many
meaningful consultation – attitude change often follows. accidents occur because people do not perceive that there
Motivation is the driving force behind the way a per- is a risk. There are many common examples of this, includ-
son acts or the way in which people are stimulated to act. ing the use of personal protective equipment (such as hard
Involvement in the decision-making process in a meaning- hats) and guards on drilling machines and the washing of
ful way will improve motivation as will the use of incentive hands before meals. It is important to understand that
schemes. However, there are other important influences when perception leads to an increased health and safety
on motivation such as recognition and promotion oppor- risk, it is not always caused by a conscious decision of the
tunities, job security and job satisfaction. Self-interest, in individual concerned. The stroboscopic effect caused by
all its forms, is a significant motivator and personal factor . the rotation of a drill at certain speeds under fluorescent
lighting will make the drill appear stationary. It is a well-
known phenomenon, especially among illusionists, that
people will often see what they expect to see rather than
Setting goals reality. Routine or repetitive tasks will reduce attention
leads to vigorous
activity if:
levels, leading to the possibility of accidents.
Other personal factors which can affect health and
The goal is safety include physical stature, age, experience, health,
realistic. hearing, intelligence, language, skills, level of competence
and qualifications.
A serious
commitment is
Memory is an important personal factor, as it is
made, influenced by training and experience. The efficiency of
especially memory varies considerably between people and during
if it is made the lifetime of an individual. The overall health of a per-
publicly. son can affect memory as can personal crises. Owing to
these possible problems with memory, important safety
Feedback is
instructions should be available in written as well as ver-
bal form.
Finally, it must be recognized that some employees
do not follow safety procedures either due to peer pres-
Figure 4.5  Motivation and activity. sure or a wilful disregard of those procedures.

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 4.6  Visual perception. (a) Are the lines of the same length? (b) Faces or vase? (c) Faces or saxophone player?

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

The following checklist, given in HSG48, may be used

to check that the relevant personal factors have been cov- Slips of
ered to help minimize human error:
ää Has the job specification been drawn up and included errors
age, physique, skill, qualifications, experience, apti- Lapses of
tude, knowledge, intelligence and personality? memory
ää Have the skills and aptitudes been matched to the job Errors
requirements? Rule-based
ää Have the personnel selection policies and procedures mistakes
been set up to select appropriate individuals?
ää Has an effective training system been implemented?
ää Have the needs of special groups of employees been Human
considered? failures
ää Have the monitoring procedures been developed
for the personal safety performance of safety critical
ää Have fitness for work and health surveillance been
provided where it is needed? Violations Situational
ää Have counselling and support for ill-health and stress
been provided?
Personal factors are the attributes that employees bring
to their jobs and may be strengths or weaknesses. Negative
personal factors cannot always be neutralized by improved Figure 4.7  Types of human failure.
job design. It is, therefore, important to ensure that person-
nel selection procedures should match people to the job.
This will reduce the possibility of accidents or other incidents. reading the wrong dial or selecting the incorrect compo-
nent for an assembly. A slip also describes an action taken
too early or too late within a given working procedure.
Lapses are failures to carry out particular actions which
   4.6      Human errors and violations may form part of a working procedure. A forklift truck
driver leaving the keys in the ignition lock of his truck is an
Human failures in health and safety are classified either as example of a lapse, as is the failure to replace the petrol cap
errors or violations. An error is an unintentional deviation on a car after filling it with petrol. Lapses may be reduced
from an accepted standard, whereas a violation is a delib- by re-designing equipment so that, for example, an audi-
erate deviation from the standard. ble horn indicates the omission of a task. They may also be
reduced significantly by the use of detailed checklists.
4.6.1  Human errors Mistakes
Human errors fall into three groups – slips, lapses and mis- Mistakes occur when an incorrect action takes place but
takes, which can be further sub-divided into rule-based the person involved believes the action to be correct.
and knowledge-based mistakes (Figure 4.7). A mistake involves an incorrect judgment. There are two
types of mistake – rule-based and knowledge-based.
Slips and lapses Rule-based mistakes occur when a rule or procedure
Slips and lapses are very similar in that they are caused by is remembered or applied incorrectly. These mistakes usu-
a momentary memory loss often due to lack of attention ally happen when, due to an error, the rule that is nor-
or loss of concentration. They are not related to levels of mally used no longer applies. For example, a particular job
training, experience or motivation and they can usually be requires the counting of items into groups of ten followed
reduced by re-designing the job or equipment or minimiz- by the adding together of the groups so that the total
ing distractions. number of items may be calculated. If one of the groups
Slips are failures to carry out the correct actions of is miscounted, the final total will be incorrect even though
a task. Examples include the use of the incorrect switch, the rule has been followed.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

Knowledge-based mistakes occur when well-tried

4.6.2  Violations
methods or calculation rules are used inappropriately. For
example, the depth of the foundations required for a par- There are three categories of violation: routine, situational
ticular building was calculated using a formula. The formula, and exceptional.
which assumed a clay soil, was used to calculate the founda- Routine violation occurs when the breaking of a safety
tion depth in a sandy soil. The resultant building was unsafe. rule or procedure is the normal way of working. It becomes
The following points have been suggested by the UK routine not to use the recommended procedures for tasks.
HSE when the potential source of human errors is to be An example of this is the regular high speed use of fork-
identified: lift trucks in a warehouse so that orders can be fulfilled on
ää What human errors can occur with each task? There
There are many reasons given for routine violations;
are formal methods available to help with this task.
for example:
ää What influences are there on performance? Typical
influences include time pressure, design of controls, ää taking short-cuts to save time and energy;
displays and procedures, training and experience, ää a belief that the rules are unworkable or too restrictive;
fatigue and levels of supervision. ää lack of knowledge of the procedures;
ää What are the consequences of the identified errors? ää perception that the rules are no longer applied;
What are the significant errors? ää poor supervision and a lack of enforcement of the
ää Are there opportunities for detecting each error and rules;
recovering it? ää new workers thinking that routine violations are the
ää Are there any relationships between the identified norm and not realizing that this was not the safe way
errors? Could the same error be made on more than of working.
one item of equipment due, for example, to the incor-
Finally, it must be recognized that there are some situ-
rect calibration of an instrument?
ations where peer pressure or simply a wilful disregard for
Errors and mistakes can be reduced by the use of procedures or other peoples’ safety may result in routine
instruction, training and relevant information. However, violations. Routine violations can be reduced by regular
communication can also be a problem, particularly at shift monitoring, ensuring that the rules are actually necessary,
handover times. Environmental and organizational factors or re-designing the job.
involving workplace stress will also affect error levels. The following features are very common in many
The following steps are suggested to reduce the likeli- workplaces and often lead to routine violations:
hood of human error:
ää poor working posture due to poor ergonomic design
of the workstation or equipment;
ää Examine and reduce the workplace stressors (e.g. noise,
ää equipment difficult to use and/or slow in response;
poor lighting) which increase the frequency of errors.
ää equipment difficult to maintain or pressure on time
ää Examine and reduce any social or organizational stress-
available for maintenance;
ors (e.g. insufficient staffing levels, peer pressure).
ää procedures unduly complicated and difficult to
ää Design plant and equipment to reduce error pos-
sibilities (e.g. poorly designed displays, ambiguous
ää unreliable instrumentation and/or warning systems;
ää high levels of noise and other poor aspects to the
ää Ensure that there are effective training arrangements.
environment (fumes, dusts, humidity);
ää Simplify any complicated or complex procedures.
ää associated PPE either inappropriate, difficult and
ää Ensure that there is adequate supervision, particularly
uncomfortable to wear or ineffective due to lack of
for inexperienced or young trainees.
ää Check that job procedures, instructions and manuals
are kept up-to-date and are clear. Situational violations occur when particular job pres-
ää Include the possibility of human error when under- sures at particular times make rule compliance difficult.
taking the risk assessment. They may happen when the correct equipment is not
ää Isolate the human error element of any accident or available or weather conditions are adverse. A common
incident and introduce measures to reduce the risk of example is the use of a ladder rather than a scaffold for
a repeat. working at height to replace window frames in a building.
ää Monitor the effectiveness of any measures taken to Situational violations may be reduced by improving job
reduce errors. design, the working environment and supervision.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

Exceptional violations rarely happen and usually occur an organization, whether it be the shop floor, the hospital
when a safety rule is broken to perform a new task. Good ward or the general office, and are willing to discuss health
examples of this are the violations which can occur during and safety issues with staff. A visible management is very
the operations of emergency procedures such as for fires important for a positive health and safety culture.
or explosions. These violations should be addressed in risk Finally, the positive results of management commit-
assessments and during training sessions for emergencies ment to health and safety will be the active involvement
(e.g. fire training). of all employees in health and safety, the continuing
Everybody is capable of making errors. It is one of the improvement in health and safety standards and the sub-
objectives of a positive health and safety culture to reduce sequent reduction in accident and occupational ill-health
them and their consequences as much as possible. rates. This will lead, ultimately, to a reduction in the num-
ber and size of compensation claims.
HSG48 makes some interesting suggestions to man-
   4.7      The development of a positive agers on the improvements that may be made to health
and safety which will be seen by the workforce as a clear
health and safety culture indication of their commitment. The suggestions are:
ää review the status of the health and safety committees
No single section or department of an organization can
and health and safety practitioners. Ensure that any
develop a positive health and safety culture on its own.
recommendations are acted upon or implemented;
There needs to be commitment by the management, the
ää ensure that senior managers receive regular reports
promotion of health and safety standards, effective com-
on health and safety performance and act on them;
munication within the organization, co-operation from
ää ensure that any appropriate health and safety actions
and with the workforce and an effective and developing
are taken quickly and are seen to have been taken;
training programme. Each of these topics will be exam-
ää any action plans should be developed in consultation
ined in turn to show their effect on improving the health
with employees, based on a shared perception of haz-
and safety culture in the organization.
ards and risks, be workable and continually reviewed.

4.7.1  Commitment from management

4.7.2  The promotion of health and safety
As mentioned earlier, there needs to be a commitment
from the very top of the organization and this commitment
will, in turn, produce higher levels of motivation and com- For a positive health and safety culture to be developed,
mitment throughout the organization. Probably, the best everyone within the organization needs to understand the
indication of this concern for health and safety is shown standards of health and safety expected by the organiza-
by the status given to health and safety and the amount tion and the role of the individual in achieving and main-
of resources (money, time and people) allocated accord- taining those standards. Such standards are required to
ingly. The management of health and safety should form control and minimize health and safety risks.
an essential part of a manager’s responsibility and they Standards should clearly identify the actions required
should be held to account for their performance on health of people to promote health and safety. They should also
and safety issues. Specialist expertise should be made specify the competencies needed by employees and
available when required (e.g. for noise assessment), either should form the basis for measuring health and safety
from within the workforce or by the employment of exter- performance.
nal contractors or consultants. Health and safety should be Health and safety standards cover all aspects of the
discussed on a regular basis at management meetings at organization. Typical examples include:
all levels of the organization. If the organization employs
sufficient people to make direct consultation with all ää the design and selection of premises;
employees difficult, there should be a health and safety ää the design and selection of plant and substances
committee at which there is employee representation. In (including those used on site by contractors);
addition, there should be recognized routes for anybody ää the recruitment of employees and contractors;
within the organization to receive health and safety infor- ää the control of work activities, including issues such as
mation or have their health and safety concerns addressed. risk assessment;
The health and safety culture is enhanced consider- ää competence, maintenance and supervision;
ably when senior managers appear regularly at all levels of ää emergency planning and training;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

ää the transportation of the product and its subsequent The ILO has defined competence more broadly in the
maintenance and servicing. ILO-OSH 2001 management system in terms of an author-
ity, an institution and a person as follows:
Having established relevant health and safety stan-
ää Competent institution: A government department
dards, it is important that they are actively promoted
or other body with the responsibility to establish a
within the organization by all levels of management. The
national policy and develop a national framework for
most effective method of promotion is by leadership and
health and safety management systems in organiza-
example. There are many ways to do this such as:
tions and to provide relevant guidance.
ää the involvement of managers in workplace inspec- ää Competent authority: A minister, government depart-
tions and accident investigations; ment, or other public authority having the power to
ää the use of PPE (e.g. goggles and hard hats) by all man- issue regulations, orders or other instructions having
agers and their visitors in designated areas; the force of law.
ää ensuring that employees attend specialist refresher ää Competent person: A person possessing adequate quali-
training courses when required (e.g. first-aid and fork- fications, such as suitable training and sufficient knowl-
lift truck driving); edge, experience and skill for the safe performance of
ää full co-operation with fire drills and other emergency the specific work. The competent authorities may define
training exercises; appropriate criteria for the designation of such persons
ää comprehensive accident reporting and prompt fol- and may determine the duties to be assigned to them.
low-up on recommended remedial actions.
The ILO further recommends that the necessary health
The benefit of good standards of health and safety and safety competence requirements should be defined
will be shown directly in less lost production, accidents by the employer, and arrangements established and
and compensation claims, and lower insurance premiums. maintained to ensure that all persons are competent to
It may also be shown in higher product quality and better carry out the health and safety aspects of their duties and
resource allocation. responsibilities. The employer should have, or have access
An important and central necessity for the promotion to, sufficient health and safety competence to identify and
of high health and safety standards is health and safety eliminate or control work-related hazards and risks, and
competence. What is meant by ‘competence’? to implement the health and safety management system.
Competence training programmes should:
(a) c over all members of the organization, as appropriate;
The word ‘competence’ is often used in health and safety
(b) be conducted by competent persons;
literature. One definition, made during a civil case in 1962
(c) provide effective and timely initial and refresher train-
in the UK, stated that a competent person is:
ing at appropriate intervals;
(d) include participants’ evaluation of their comprehen-
sion and retention of the training;
a person with practical and theoretical (e) be reviewed periodically. The review should include
knowledge as well as sufficient experi- the safety and health committee, where it exists, and
ence of the particular machinery, plant the training programmes, modified as necessary to
or procedure involved to enable them to ensure their relevance and effectiveness; and
identify defects or weaknesses during (f) be documented, as appropriate and according to the
plant and machinery examinations, and size and nature of activity of the organization.
to assess their importance in relation to Finally the ILO recommends that training should be
the strength and function of that plant provided to all participants at no cost and should take
and machinery. place during working hours, if possible.
Competent persons are required to assist the
employer in meeting their obligations under the particular
This definition concentrates on a manufacturing national health and safety law. This may mean a health and
rather than service industry requirement of a compe- safety adviser in addition to, say, an electrical engineer, an
tent person. Occupational health and safety competence occupational nurse and a noise assessment specialist. The
includes education, work experience and training, or a number and range of competent persons will depend on
combination of these. the nature of the business of the organization.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

It is recommended that competent employees are There are three basic methods of communication in
used for advice on health and safety matters rather than health and safety: verbal, written and graphic.
external specialists (consultants). However if employees, Verbal communication is the most common. It is com-
competent in health and safety, are not available in the munication by speech or word of mouth. Verbal commu-
organization, then an external service may be enlisted to nication should only be used for relatively simple pieces
help. The key is that management and employees need of information or instruction. It is most commonly used in
access to health and safety expertise. the workplace, during training sessions or at meetings.
Employers should appoint health and safety advisers There are several potential problems associated with
who should have: verbal communication. The speaker needs to prepare the
communication carefully so that there is no confusion
ää a knowledge and understanding of the work involved,
about the message. It is very important that the recipi-
the principles of risk assessment and prevention and
ent is encouraged to indicate their understanding of the
current health and safety applications;
communication. There have been many cases of accidents
ää the capacity to apply this to the task required by the
occurring because a verbal instruction has not been clearly
employer in the form of problem and solution identifi-
understood. There are several barriers to this understand-
cation, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of
ing from the point of view of the recipient, including lan-
solutions and the promotion and communication of
guage and dialect, the use of technical language and
health and safety and welfare advances and practices.
abbreviations, background noise and distractions, hearing
Such competence does not necessarily depend on the limitations, ambiguities in the message, mental weaknesses
possession of particular skills or qualifications. It may only and learning disabilities, and lack of interest and attention.
be required to understand relevant current best practice, Having described some of the limitations of verbal
be aware of one’s own limitations in terms of experience communication, it does have some merits. It is less formal,
and knowledge and be willing to supplement existing enables an exchange of information to take place quickly
experience and knowledge. However, in more complex or and the message to be conveyed as near to the workplace
technical situations, membership of a relevant professional as possible. Training or instructions that are delivered in
body and/or the possession of an appropriate qualifica- this way are called toolbox talks and can be very effective.
tion in health and safety may be necessary. It is important Written communication takes many forms from a
that any competent person employed to help with health simple memo to a detailed report.
and safety has evidence of relevant knowledge, skills and A memo should contain one simple message and be
experience for the tasks involved. The appointment of written in straightforward and clear language. The title should
a competent person as an adviser to an employer does accurately describe the contents of the memo. In recent
not normally absolve the employer from his responsibili- years, e-mails have largely replaced memos, as it has become
ties under relevant national statutory health and safety a much quicker method to ensure that the message gets to
legislation. all concerned (although a recent report has suggested that
Finally, it is worth noting that the requirement to many people are becoming overwhelmed by the number of
employ competent workers is not restricted to those hav- e-mails which they receive!). The advantage of memos and
ing a health and safety function but covers the whole e-mails is that there is a record of the message after it has been
workforce. delivered. The disadvantage is that they can be ambiguous or
Competent workers must have sufficient training, difficult to understand or, indeed, lost within the system.
experience, knowledge and other qualities to enable them Reports are more substantial documents and cover a
to properly undertake the duties assigned to them. topic in greater detail. The report should contain a detailed
account of the topic and any conclusions or recommenda-
tions. The main problem with reports is that they are often
not read properly due to the time constraints on managers.
   4.8      Effective communication It is important that all reports have a summary attached so
that the reader can decide whether it needs to be read in
Many problems in health and safety arise due to poor detail (see Section 7.9 in Chapter 7 for further discussion).
communication. It is not just a problem between manage- The most common way in which written communica-
ment and workforce; it is often a problem the other way tion is used in the workplace is the noticeboard. For a notice-
or indeed at the same level within an organization. It can board to be effective it needs to be well positioned within
arise from ambiguities or, even, accidental distortion of a the workplace and there needs to be a regular review of
message. the notices to ensure that they are up-to-date and relevant.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

In addition to the health and safety poster, mentioned working environment. It will inform them of the control
earlier, the following types of health and safety informa- measures that are in place and any related safe procedures
tion could be displayed on a workplace noticeboard: that must be followed. Apart from satisfying legal obliga-
tions, several benefits will accrue to the employer by the
ää a copy of the Employer’s Liability Insurance Certificate;
provision of sound information and training to employees.
ää details of first-aid arrangements;
These benefits include:
ää emergency evacuation and fire procedures;
ää minutes of the last health and safety committee ää a reduction in accident severity and frequency;
meeting; ää a reduction in injury and ill-health related absence;
ää details of health and safety targets and performance ää a reduction in compensation claims and, possibly,
against them; insurance premiums;
ää health and safety posters and campaign details. ää an improvement in the health and safety culture of
the organization;
There are many other examples of written communi-
ää improved staff morale and retention.
cations in health and safety, such as employee handbooks,
company codes of practice, minutes of safety committee Health and safety training is a very important part of
meetings and health and safety procedures. the health and safety culture and it is often a legal require-
Graphic communication is communication by the ment for an employer to provide such training. Training
use of drawings, photographs or DVDs. It is used to impart should be provided on recruitment, at induction or on
either health and safety information (e.g. fire exits) or being exposed to new or increased risks due to:
health and safety propaganda. The most common forms
ää being transferred to another job or given a change in
of health and safety propaganda are the poster and the
DVD. Both can be used very effectively as training aids, as
ää the introduction of new work equipment or a change
they can retain interest and impart a simple message. Their
of use in existing work equipment;
main limitation is that they can become out of date fairly
ää the introduction of new technology;
quickly or, in the case of posters, become largely ignored.
ää the introduction of a new system of work or the revi-
The ILO in the ILO-OSH 2001 management system rec-
sion of an existing system of work;
ommends that arrangements and procedures should be
ää an increase in the employment of more vulnerable
established and maintained for:
employees (young or disabled persons);
(a) r eceiving, documenting and responding appropri- ää particular training required by the organization’s
ately to internal and external communications related insurance company (e.g. specific fire and emergency
to health and safety; training).
(b) ensuring the internal communication of health and
Additional training may well be needed following a
safety information between relevant levels and func-
single or series of accidents or near misses, the introduc-
tions of the organization; and
tion of new legislation, the issuing of an enforcement
(c) ensuring that the concerns, ideas and inputs of work-
notice or as a result of a risk assessment or safety audit.
ers and their representatives on health and safety
It is important during the development of a training
matters are received, considered and responded to.
course that the target audience is taken into account. If
There are many sources of health and safety informa- the audience are young persons, the chosen approach
tion which may need to be consulted before an accurate must be capable of retaining their interest and any illustra-
communication can be made. These include national leg- tive examples used must be within their experience. The
islation, Codes of Practice, guidance, ILO and European trainer must also be aware of external influences, such as
standards, periodicals, case studies and publications (for peer pressure, and use them to their advantage. For exam-
example, from the ILO and the UK HSE). ple, if everybody wears PPE then it will be seen as the thing
to do. Levels of literacy and numeracy are other important
The way in which the training session is presented
   4.9      Health and safety training by the use of DVDs, Powerpoint slides, case studies, lec-
tures or small discussion groups needs to be related to the
The provision of information and training for employees material to be covered and the backgrounds of the train-
will develop their awareness and understanding of the ees. Supplementary information in the form of copies of
specific hazards and risks associated with their jobs and slides and additional background reading is often useful.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

ää a brief summary of the health and safety manage-

ment system including the name of the employee’s
direct supervisor, safety representative and source of
After a risk
assessment health and safety information;
Job change
or audit
ää the employee responsibility for health and safety
including any general health and safety rules (e.g.
smoking prohibitions);
ää the accident reporting procedure of the organization,
Following New the location of the accident book and the location of the
an accident equipment
Training needs nearest first aider;
and opportunities ää the fire and other emergency procedures including the
location of the assembly point;
ää the hazards that are specific to the workplace;
New ää a summary of any relevant risk assessments and safe
legislation New
or technologies systems of work;
ää the location of welfare, canteen facilities and rest
Specialist rooms;
e.g. first-aid,
system of
ää procedures for reporting defects or possible hazards
fire prevention, work and the name of the responsible person to whom the
fork-lift truck
report should be made;
ää details of the possible disciplinary measures that may
Figure 4.8  Health and safety training needs and opportunities.
be enacted for non-compliance with health and safety
rules and procedures.
The environment used for the training sessions is also impor-
tant in terms of room layout and size, lighting and heating. Additional items which are specific to the organiza-
Attempts should be made to measure the effective- tion may need to be included such as:
ness of the training by course evaluation forms issued at
ää internal transport routes and pedestrian walkways
the time of the session, by a subsequent refresher session
(e.g. forklift truck operations);
and by checking for improvements in health and safety
ää the correct use of PPE and maintenance procedures;
performance (such as a reduction in specific accidents).
ää manual handling techniques and procedures;
There are several different types of training; these
ää details of any hazardous substances in use and any
include induction, job specific, supervisory and manage-
procedures relating to them (e.g. health surveillance).
ment, and specialist. Informal sessions held at the place
of work are known as toolbox talks. Such sessions should There should be some form of follow-up with each
only be used to cover a limited number of issues. They can new employee after 3 months to check that the important
become a useful route for employee consultation. messages have been retained. This is sometimes called a
refresher course, although it is often better done on a one-
to-one basis.
4.9.1  Induction training It is very important to stress that the content of the
Induction training should always be provided to new induction course should be subject to constant review
employees, trainees and contractors. While such training and updated following an accident investigation, new leg-
covers items such as pay, conditions and quality, it must islation, changes in the findings of a risk assessment or the
also include health and safety. It is useful if the employee introduction of new plant or processes.
signs a record to the effect that training has been received.
This record may be required as evidence should there be a
4.9.2  Job-specific training
subsequent legal claim against the organization.
Most induction training programmes would include Job-specific training ensures that employees undertake
the following topics: their job in a safe manner. Such training, therefore, is a
form of skill training and is often best done ‘on the job’ –
ää the health and safety policy of the organization sometimes known as ‘toolbox training’. Details of the safe
including a summary of the organization and arrange- system of work or, in more hazardous jobs, a permit-to-
ments including employee consultation; work system, should be covered. In addition to normal

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

safety procedures, emergency procedures and the cor- Fire prevention training courses include the causes of
rect use of PPE also need to be included. The results of risk fire and fire spread, fire and smoke alarm systems, emer-
assessments are very useful in the development of this gency lighting, the selection and use of fire extinguishers
type of training. It is important that any common causes and sprinkler systems, evacuation procedures, high-risk
of human errors (e.g. discovered as a result of an accident operations and good housekeeping principles.
investigation), any standard safety checks or maintenance A forklift truck drivers’ course would include the
requirements, are addressed. general use of the controls, loading and unloading pro-
It is common for this type of training to follow an cedures, driving up or down an incline, speed limits,
operational procedure in the form of a checklist which the pedestrian awareness (particularly in areas where pedes-
employee can sign on completion of the training. The new trians and vehicles are not segregated), security of the
employee will still need close supervision for some time vehicle when not in use, daily safety checks and defect
after the training has been completed. reporting, refuelling and/or battery charging and emer-
gency procedures.
Training is a vital part of any health and safety pro-
4.9.3  Supervisory and management training gramme and needs to be constantly reviewed and
Supervisory and management health and safety training updated. In many countries, health and safety legisla-
follows similar topics to those contained in an induction tion requires specific training (e.g. manual handling, PPE
training course but will be covered in more depth. There and display screens). Additional training courses may be
will also be a more detailed treatment of health and safety needed when there is a major reorganization, a series of
law. There has been considerable research over the years similar accidents or incidents, or a change in equipment
into the failures of managers that have resulted in acci- or a process. Finally, the methods used to deliver training
dents and other dangerous incidents. These failures have must be continually monitored to ensure that they remain
included: effective.
ää lack of health and safety awareness, enforcement and
promotion (in some cases, there has been encourage-
ment to circumvent health and safety rules);    4.10      Internal influences
ää lack of consistent supervision of and communication
with employees;
There are many influences on health and safety standards,
ää lack of understanding of the extent of the responsibil-
some are positive and others negative (Figure 4.9). No
ity of the supervisor.
business, in particular a small business is totally divorced
It is important that all levels of management, includ- from its suppliers, customers and neighbours. This section
ing the Board, receive health and safety training. This will considers the internal influences on a business, including
not only keep everybody informed of health and safety management commitment, production demands, com-
legal requirements, accident prevention techniques and munication, competence and employee relations.
changes in the law, but also encourage everybody to
monitor health and safety standards during visits or tours
of the organization.

4.9.4  Specialist training Communications

Specialist health and safety training is normally Production/
needed for activities that are not related to a specific service Competence
job but more to an activity. Examples include first-aid, demands
fire prevention, forklift truck driving, overhead crane
operation, scaffold inspection and statutory health and
safety inspections. These training courses are often
provided by specialist organizations and successful Management Safety Employee
participants are awarded certificates. Details of two of commitment culture representatives
these courses will be given here by way of illustration.
Details of other types of specialist training appear else-
where in the text. Figure 4.9  Internal influences on safety culture.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

or standards simply to get the work done. Courts do not

4.10.1  Management commitment
condone the action of managers who put profit consider-
Managers, particularly senior managers, can give power- ations ahead of safety requirements.
ful messages to the workforce by what they do for health
and safety. Managers can achieve the level of health and
safety performance that they demonstrate they want
4.10.3  Communication
to achieve. Employees soon get the negative message if Communication was covered in depth earlier in the chap-
directors disregard safety rules and ignore written poli- ter and clearly will have significant influence on health and
cies to get urgent production to the customer or to avoid safety issues. This will include:
personal inconvenience. It is what they do that counts
ää poorly communicated procedures that will not be
not what they say. In Chapter 3, managers’ organizational
understood or followed;
roles were listed showing the ideal level of involvement for
ää poor verbal communication which will be misunder-
senior managers. Depending on the size and geography
stood and will demonstrate a lack of interest by senior
of the organization, senior managers should be personally
involved in:
ää missing or incorrect signs that may cause accidents
ää health and safety inspections or audits; rather than prevent them;
ää meetings of the central health and safety or joint con- ää managers who are nervous about face-to-face discus-
sultation committees; sions with the workforce on health and safety issues,
ää involvement in the investigation of accidents, ill- which will have a negative effect.
health and incidents. The more serious the incident,
Managers and supervisors should plan to have regular
the more senior the manager who takes an active part
discussions to learn about the problems faced by employ-
in the investigation.
ees and discuss possible solutions. Some meetings, like
that of the safety committee, are specifically planned for
safety matters, but this should be reinforced by discuss-
4.10.2  Production/service demands
ing health and safety issues at all routine management
Managers need to balance the demands placed by cus- meetings. Regular one-to-one talks should also take place
tomers with the action required to protect the health in the workplace, preferably to a planned theme or safety
and safety of their employees. How this is achieved has a topic, to get specific messages across and get feedback
strong influence on the standards adopted by the orga- from employees.
nization. The delivery driver operating to near-impossible
delivery schedules and the manager agreeing to the stri-
dent demands of a large customer regardless of the risks
4.10.4  Competence
to employees involved, are typical dilemmas facing work- Competent people, who know what they are doing and
ers and managers alike. The only way to deal with these have the necessary skills to do the task correctly and safely,
issues is to be well organized and agree with the client/ will make the organization effective. Competence can be
employees ahead of the crisis as to how they should be brought in through recruitment or consultancy but it is
prioritized. often much more effective to develop it among employ-
Rules and procedures should be intelligible, sensible ees. It demonstrates commitment to health and safety and
and reasonable. They should be designed to be followed a sense of security for the workforce. The loyalty that it cre-
under normal production or service delivery conditions. If ates in the workforce can be a significant benefit to safety
following the rules involves very long delays or impossible standards. Refer back to earlier in this chapter for more
production schedules, they should be revised rather than details on achieving competence.
ignored by workers and managers alike, until it is too late
and an accident occurs. Sometimes the safety rules are
simply used in a court of law, in an attempt to defend the
4.10.5  Employee representation
company concerned, following an accident. Given the resources and freedom to fulfil their function
Managers who plan the impossible schedule or ignore effectively, enthusiastic, competent employee safety rep-
a safety rule to achieve production or service demands are resentatives can make a major contribution to good health
held responsible for the outcomes. It is acceptable to bal- and safety standards. They can provide the essential bridge
ance the cost of the action against the level of risk being between managers and employees. People are more will-
addressed but it is never acceptable to ignore safety rules ing to accept the restrictions that some ­precautions bring

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

if they are consulted and feel involved, either directly in ää buying products only from responsible companies.
small workforces or through their safety representatives. The difficulty of defining what is responsible has been
See Section 3.13 in Chapter 3 for details. partly overcome through ethical investment criteria
but this is possibly not widely enough understood to
be a major influence;
ää watching TV and other programmes which improve
   4.11      External influences safety knowledge and encourage safe behaviour from
an early age.
The role of external organizations was set out in Chapter 1.
In this chapter, the influence of external organizations is
4.11.2  Legislation and enforcement
briefly discussed, including societal expectations, legislation
and enforcement, insurance companies, trade unions, eco- Good comprehensible legislation should have a positive
nomics, commercial stakeholders (Figure 4.10). effect on health and safety standards. Taken together, leg-
islation and enforcement can affect standards by:
4.11.1  Societal expectations ää providing a level to which every employer has to
Societal expectations are not static and tend to rise over
ää insisting on minimum standards which also enhances
time. For example, the standards of safety accepted in a
peoples’ ability to operate and perform well;
motor car 50 years ago would be considered to be totally
ää providing a tough, visible threat of getting shut down
inadequate at the beginning of the 21st century. We
or a heavy fine;
expect safe, quiet, comfortable cars that do not break
ää stifling development by being too prescriptive;
down and which retain their appearance for many thou-
ää providing well presented and easily read guidance for
sands of miles. Industry should strive to deliver these same
specific industries at reasonable cost or free.
high standards for the health and safety of employees or
service providers. The question is whether societal expec- On the other hand, a weak enforcement regime can
tations are as great an influence on workplace safety stan- have a powerful negative effect on standards.
dards as they are on product safety standards. Society can
influence standards through:
4.11.3  Insurance companies
ää people only working for good employers. This is effec-
Insurance companies can influence health and safety stan-
tive in times of low unemployment;
dards mainly through financial incentives. Employers’ liabil-
ää national and local news media highlighting good and
ity insurance is a legal requirement in the UK and therefore
bad employment practices;
all employers have to obtain this type of insurance cover.
ää schools teaching good standards of health and safety;
Insurance companies can influence standards through:
ää the purchase of fashionable and desirable safety
equipment, such as trendy crash helmets for moun- ää discounting premiums to those in the safest sectors or
tain bikes; best individual companies;
ää insisting on risk reduction improvements to remain
insured. This is not very effective where competition
for business is fierce;
Insurance Trade ää encouraging risk reduction improvements by bun-
companies unions
dling services into the insurance premium;
ää providing guidance on standards at reasonable cost
Legislation Economics or free.

4.11.4  Trade unions

Safety Commercial Trade unions can influence standards by:
culture stakeholders
ää providing training and education for members;
ää providing guidance and advice cheaply or free to
Figure 4.10  External influences on safety culture. members;

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

ää influencing governments to regulate, enhance ää insisting on high standards to obtain detailed plan-
enforcement activities and provide guidance; ning permission (where this is possible);
ää influencing employers to provide high standards ää providing low-cost guidance and advice.
for their members. This is sometimes confused with
financial improvements, with health and safety get-
ting a lower priority;
ää encouraging members to work for safer employers;
   4.12      Sources of reference
ää helping members to get proper compensation for
injury and ill-health if it is caused through their work. Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Manage-
ment Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) ISBN-0-580-37805-5
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS
4.11.5  Economics 18000): Occupational Health and Safety Management
Economics can play a major role in influencing health Systems OHSAS 18001:2007 (ISBN-0-580-50802-8),
and safety standards. The following ways are the most OHSAS 18002:2008 (ISBN 9780-580-61674-7)
common: Reducing Error and Influencing Behaviour (HSG48), HSE
Books ISBN 978-0-7176-2452-2
ää lack of orders and/or money can cause employers to
try to ignore health and safety requirements;
ää if employers were really aware of the actual and poten-
tial cost of accidents and fires, they would be more    4.13      Practice NEBOSH questions
concerned about prevention. The UK HSE believes for Chapter 4
that the ratio between insured and uninsured costs of
accidents is between 1:8 and 1:36;
1. D
 escribe FIVE components of a positive health and
ää perversely, when the economy is booming activity
safety culture.
increases and, particularly in the building indus-
try, accidents can sharply increase. The pressures
2. T here has been deterioration in the health and safety
to perform and deliver for customers can be safety
culture of an organization.
(i) Define the term ‘health and safety culture’.
ää businesses that are only managed on short-term per-
(ii) Identify the factors that could have contributed
formance indicators seldom see the advantage of the
to the deterioration.
long-term gains that are possible with a happy, safe
and fit workforce.
3. (i) Define the term ‘accident incidence rate’.
The cost of accidents and ill-health, in both human (ii) Outline how information on accidents could
and financial terms, needs to be visible throughout the be used to promote health and safety in the
organization so that all levels of employee are encouraged workplace.
to take preventative measures.
4. O
 utline the personal factors that might place an indi-
vidual at a greater risk of harm while at work.
4.11.6  Commercial stakeholders
A lot can be done by commercial stakeholders’ to influ- 5. (i) Explain, using an example, the meaning of the
ence standards. This includes: term ‘attitude’.
(ii) Outline THREE influences on the attitude
ää insisting on proper arrangements for health and towards health and safety of employees within
safety management at supplier companies before an organization.
they tender for work or contracts; (iii) Outline the ways in which employers might
ää checking on suppliers to see if the workplace stan- motivate their employees to comply with health
dards are satisfactory; and safety procedures.
ää encouraging ethical investments;
ää considering ethical standards as well as financial 6. (i) Explain the meaning of the term ‘motivation’.
when banks provide funding; (ii) Other than lack of motivation, outline SIX rea-
ää providing high-quality information for customers; sons why employees may fail to comply with
safety procedures at work.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at work

(iii) Outline ways in which employers may motivate 16. Outline the practical means by which a manager
their employees to comply with health and safety could involve employees in the improvement of
procedures. health and safety in the workplace.

.7. (i) Explain the meaning of the term ‘perception’. 17. Following a significant increase in accidents, a
(ii) Outline the factors relating to the individual that health and safety campaign is to be launched within
may influence a person’s perception of an occu- an organization to encourage safer working by
pational risk. employees.
(iii) Outline ways in which employees’ percep- (i) Outline how the organization might ensure that
tions of hazards in the workplace might be the nature of the campaign is effectively commu-
improved. nicated to, and understood by, employees.
(ii) Explain why it is important to use a variety of
8. Identify the ways in which a manager could involve methods to communicate health and safety infor-
workers in the improvement of health and safety in mation in the workplace.
the workplace (iii) Other than poor communications, describe the
organizational factors that could limit the effec-
9. (i) An organization has seen an increase in the num- tiveness of the campaign.
ber of accidents at work.
Give FOUR reasons why this increase in accidents 18. Give reasons why it is important to use a variety of
might have occurred. methods to communicate health and safety informa-
(ii) Explain why workers may not follow the instruc- tion in the workplace.
tions they have been given.
(iii) Outline how the organization might improve 19. Give reasons why a verbal instruction may not be
its health and safety performance to reduce clearly understood by an employee.
20. Non-compliance with safety procedures by
10. Outline design features which may increase the employees has been identified as one of the pos-
likelihood of errors and violations occurring in the sible causes of a serious accident at work. Outline
workplace. reasons why the safety procedures may not have
been followed.
11. (i) Giving a practical example, explain the meaning
of the term ‘human error’. 21. A new process was introduced into a workplace.
(ii) Outline individual (or personal) factors that may Operators, supervisors and managers have received
contribute to human errors occurring at work. information and training on a safe system of work
associated with the process.
12. Describe, using practical examples, FOUR types of (i) Outline how provision of information and train-
human error that can lead to accidents in the work- ing for the employee contributes to controlling
place. and reducing risks.
(ii) Identify FOUR benefits to an employer of provid-
13. (i) Outline ways of reducing the likelihood of human ing information and training.
error in the workplace.
(ii) Give FOUR reasons why the seriousness of a haz- 22. Outline FOUR advantages AND FOUR disadvantages
ard may be underestimated by someone exposed of using ‘propaganda’ posters to communicate health
to it. and safety information to the workforce.
(iii) Outline ways in which managers can motivate
employees to work safely. 23. (i) Identify FOUR types of health and safety infor-
mation that might usefully be displayed on a
14. Outline the ways in which the health and safety cul- notice board within a workplace.
ture of an organization might be improved. (ii) Explain how the effectiveness of notice boards
as a means of communicating health and safety
15. Outline the factors that might cause the safety cul- information to the workforce can be maxi-
ture within an organization to decline. mized.

Promoting a positive health and safety culture

24. Identify a range of methods that an employer can (ii) O  utline the various measures that might be used
use to provide health and safety information directly to assess the effectiveness of such training.
to individual employees. (iii) Give FOUR reasons why it is important for an
employer to keep a record of the training pro-
25. Explain how induction training programmes for new vided to each employee.
employees can help to reduce the number of acci-
dents in the workplace. 29. Outline reasons why an employee might require
additional health and safety training at a later stage of
26. A contractor has been engaged to undertake build- employment within an organization.
ing maintenance work in a busy warehouse. Outline
the issues that should be covered in an induction pro- 30. Identify possible influences on an organization’s
gramme for the contractor’s employees. health and safety management standards.

27. Outline the main health and safety issues to be 31. Describe TWO internal AND TWO external influences
included in an induction training programme for new on the health and safety culture of an organization.
32. Identify external influences that may affect health
28. An independent audit of an organization has con- and safety management within an organization.
cluded that employees have received insufficient
health and safety training.
(i) Describe the factors that should be considered
when developing an extensive programme of
health and safety training within an organization.

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Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Risk assessment
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Explain the aims and objectives of risk assessment

nn Identify hazards by means of workplace inspection and

analysis of tasks

nn Explain the principles and practice of risk assessment.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

 5.1    Introduction

he ILO acknowledges in its guidelines on occupa- level. If a new source of hazard is introduced, the assess-
tional safety and health management systems (ILO- ment should be made before workers are exposed to the
OSH 2001) that the impact on occupational health hazard. The assessment should gather information on the
and safety of internal changes (such as those in staffing or hazards present at the workplace, the degree of exposure
due to new processes, working procedures, organizational and risk, appropriate control measures, health surveil-
structures or acquisitions), and of external changes (for lance, and training and information.
example, as a result of amendments of national laws and In its guidance document Guidance on risk assessment
regulations, organizational mergers, and developments at work published in 1996, the European Commission
in occupational health and safety knowledge and tech- advises that:
nology) should be evaluated and appropriate preventive
1. T he employer at each workplace has a general duty
steps taken prior to the introduction of changes. To achieve
to ensure the health and safety of workers in every
this, a workplace hazard identification and risk assessment
aspect related to work. The purpose of carrying out
should be carried out before any modification or introduc-
a risk assessment is to enable the employer to effec-
tion of new work methods, materials, processes or machin-
tively take the measures necessary for the health and
ery. Such assessment should be done in consultation with
safety protection of workers. These measures include:
and involving workers and their representatives, and the
health and safety committee, where appropriate. ää prevention of occupational risks;
Risk assessment is an essential part of the planning ää provision of information to workers;
stage of any health and safety management system. The ää provision of training to workers;
UK HSE, in the publication HSG65 Successful Health and ää organization and means to implement the
Safety Management, states that the aim of the planning ­necessary measures.
process is to ­minimize risks.
2. W here elimination of risk is not realised, then the risks
should be reduced and the residual risk (see Section
5.9.3) controlled. At a later stage, as part of the review
Risk assessment methods are used to programme, such residual risks should be reassessed
decide on priorities and to set objectives and reduced further.
for eliminating hazards and reducing 3. A flow chart outlining the risk assessment procedure
risks. Wherever possible, risks are elimi- recommended by the European Union is shown in
nated through selection and design of Appendix 5.1 and incorporates the elements of risk
facilities, equipment and processes. If management.
risks cannot be eliminated, they are mini- The general duties of employers to their employees
mized by the use of physical controls or, in Section 2 of the UK, HSW Act 1974 imply the need for
as a last resort, through systems of work risk assessment. This duty was also extended by Section
and personal protective equipment. 3 of the Act to anybody else affected by activities of the
employer – contractors, visitors, customers or members of
the public. However, the UK Management of Health and
Safety at Work Regulations are much more specific con-
cerning the need for risk assessment.
   5.2      The need for risk assessment

In the Code of Practice ‘Ambient factors in the workplace’, the risk assessment shall be ‘suitable and
the ILO recommends that employers should make periodic sufficient’ and cover both employees and
assessments of the hazards and risks to health and safety non-employees affected by the employ-
from hazardous ambient and other factors at each perma- er’s undertaking (e.g. contractors, mem-
nent or temporary workplace, and implement the control bers of the public, students, patients,
measures required to prevent those hazards and risks, or customers); every self-employed person
to reduce them to the lowest reasonable and ­practicable

Risk assessment

shall make a ‘suitable and sufficient’

assessment of the risks to which they or
those affected by the undertaking may
be exposed;
any risk assessment shall be reviewed
if there is reason to suspect that it is no
longer valid or if a significant change has
taken place;
where there are five or more employees,
the significant findings of the assessment
shall be recorded and any specially at
risk group of employees identified. (This
does not mean that employers with four
or less employees need not undertake
risk assessments.)

In the UK, the following requirements are specified in

the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations:
The term ‘suitable and sufficient’ is important as it
defines the limits to the risk assessment process. A suitable
and sufficient risk assessment should:
ää identify the significant risks and ignore the trivial ones;
ää identify and prioritize the measures required to com-
ply with any relevant statutory provisions;
ää remain appropriate to the nature of the work and Figure 5.1  Reducing the risk by finding a more suitable loca-
valid over a reasonable period of time; tion for a wall-mounted boiler.
ää identify the risk arising from or in connection with the
work. The level of detail should be proportionate to
The more common form of risk assessment is the
the risk.
qualitative assessment, which is based purely on personal
The significant findings that should be recorded include judgment and is normally defined as high, medium or low.
a detailed statement of the hazards and risks, the preventa- Qualitative risk assessments are usually satisfactory as the
tive, protective or control measures in place and any further definition (high, medium or low) is normally used to deter-
measures required to reduce the risks present proof that a mine the time frame in which further action is to be taken.
suitable and sufficient assessment has been made. The term ‘generic’ risk assessment is sometimes used
and describes a risk assessment which covers similar activ-
ities or work equipment in different departments, sites
or companies. Such assessments are often produced by
   5.3      Forms of risk assessment specialist bodies, such as trade associations. If used, they
must be appropriate to the particular job and they will
There are two basic forms of risk assessment. need to be extended to cover additional hazards or risks.
A quantitative risk assessment attempts to measure
the risk by relating the probability of the risk occurring to
the possible severity of the outcome and then giving the
risk a numerical value. This method of risk assessment is
   5.4      Some definitions
used in situations where a malfunction could be very seri-
ous (e.g. aircraft design and maintenance or the petro- Some basic definitions were introduced in Chapter 1 and
chemical industry). those relevant to risk assessment are reproduced here.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

5.4.1  Hazard and risk

A hazard is the potential of a substance, activity or pro-
cess to cause harm. Hazards take many forms including,
for example, chemicals, electricity and the use of a ladder.
A hazard can be ranked relative to other hazards or to a
possible level of danger.
A risk is the likelihood of a substance, activity or
process to cause harm. Risk (or strictly the level of risk) is
also linked to the severity of its consequences. A risk can
be reduced and the hazard eliminated or controlled by
good management.
It is very important to distinguish between a hazard
and a risk – the two terms are often confused and activi-
ties often called high risk are in fact high hazard. There
should only be high residual risk where there is poor
health and safety management and inadequate control
Electricity is an example of a high hazard as it has the Figure 5.2  Accident at work.
potential to kill a person. The risk associated with electric-
ity – the likelihood of being killed on coming into contact
with an electrical device – is, hopefully, low.
5.4.5  Dangerous occurrence
This is a near miss which could have led to serious injury or
loss of life. Specified dangerous occurrences are reportable
to the national Health and Safety Enforcement Authori-
5.4.2  Occupational or work-related ill-health
ties. Examples include the collapse of a scaffold or a crane
This is concerned with those illnesses or physical and or the failure of any passenger-carrying equipment.
mental disorders that are either caused or triggered by In 1969, F. E. Bird collected a large quantity of accident
workplace activities. Such conditions may be induced data and produced a well-known triangle to represent it
by the particular work activity of the individual or by (Figure 5.3).
activities of others in the workplace. The time interval It can be seen that damage and near miss accidents
between exposure and the onset of the illness may occur much more frequently than injury accidents and are,
be short (e.g. asthma attacks) or long (e.g. deafness or therefore, a good indicator of risks. The study also shows
cancer). that most accidents are predictable and avoidable.

5.4.3  Accident
   5.5      The objectives of risk
This is defined by the UK HSE as ‘any unplanned event that
results in injury or ill-health of people, or damage or loss
to property, plant, materials or the environment or a loss
of a business opportunity’. Other authorities define an The main objective of risk assessment is to determine the
accident more narrowly by excluding events that do not measures required by the organization to comply with rel-
involve injury or ill-health. This book will always use the evant health and safety legislation and, thereby, reduce the
HSE definition. level of occupational injuries and ill-health. The purpose is to
help the employer or self-employed person to determine the
measures required to comply with their national legal obliga-
5.4.4  Near miss
tions. The risk assessment will need to cover all those who may
This is any incident that could have resulted in an accident. be at risk, such as customers, contractors and members of the
Knowledge of near misses is very important as research public. In the case of shared workplaces, an overall risk assess-
has shown that, approximately, for every 10 near miss ment may be needed in partnership with other employers.
events at a particular location in the workplace, a minor In Chapter 1, the moral, legal and financial arguments
accident will occur. for health and safety management were discussed in

Risk assessment

ää contact with moving machinery or material being

Serious or disabling injuries machined;
1 ää struck by moving, flying or falling object;
ää hit by a moving vehicle;
Minor injuries (first-aid injuries) ää struck against something fixed or stationary;
ää injured while handling, lifting or carrying;
ää slips, trips and falls on the same level;
Damage accidents
ää falls from a height;
30 ää trapped by something collapsing;
ää drowned or asphyxiated;
ää exposed to, or in contact with, a harmful substance;
Near miss accidents ää exposed to fire;
ää exposed to an explosion;
ää contact with electricity or an electrical discharge;
Figure 5.3  F.E. Bird’s well-known accident triangle. ää injured by an animal;
ää physically assaulted by a person;
detail. The important distinction between the direct and ää other kind of accident.
indirect costs of accidents is reiterated here.
Any accident or incidence of ill-health will cause both
direct and indirect costs and incur an insured and an unin-
   5.7      Health risks
sured cost. It is important that all of these costs are taken
into account when the full cost of an accident is calculated. Risk assessment is not only concerned with injuries in the
In a study undertaken by the UK HSE, it was shown that workplace but also needs to consider the possibility of
indirect costs or hidden costs could be 36 times greater occupational ill-health. Health risks fall into the following
than direct costs of an accident. In other words, the direct four categories:
costs of an accident or disease represent the tip of the ice-
ää chemical (e.g. paint solvents, exhaust fumes);
berg when compared with the overall costs.
ää biological (e.g. bacteria, pathogens);
Direct costs are costs that are directly related to the
ää physical (e.g. noise, vibrations);
accident. They may be insured (claims on employers’ and
ää psychological (e.g. occupational stress).
public liability insurance, damage to buildings, equipment
or vehicles) or uninsured (fines, sick pay, damage to prod- There are two possible health effects of occupational
uct, equipment or process). ill-health.
Indirect costs may be insured (business loss, product or They may be acute, which means that they occur
process liability) or uninsured (loss of goodwill, extra over- soon after a single or short-term exposure to the agent
time payments, accident investigation time, production and are often reversible, although in some cases emer-
delays). gency admission to hospital may be required.
There are many reasons for the seriousness of a haz- They may be chronic, which means that the health
ard not to be obvious to the person exposed to it. It may effects develop with time: they occur following prolonged
be that the hazard is not visible (radiation, certain gases or repeated exposure to the agent . It may take several
and biological agents) or have no short-term effect (work- years for the associated disease to develop and the effects
related upper limb disorders). The common reasons are usually irreversible or severe (e.g. cancer).
include lack of attention, lack of experience, the wearing Health risks are discussed in more detail in Chapter 14.
of personal protective equipment, sensory impairment
and inadequate information, instruction and training.
   5.8      The management of risk
   5.6      Accident categories 5.8.1  The approach to risk assessment in the
United Kingdom
There are several categories of accident, all of which will
be dealt with in more detail in later chapters. The principal Risk assessment is part of the planning and implementa-
categories are as follows: tion stage of the health and safety management system

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

recommended by the UK HSE in its publication HSG65. Leader or Manager should have health and safety experi-
All aspects of the organization, including health and safety ence and relevant training in risk assessment. It is sensible
management, need to be covered by the risk assessment to involve the appropriate line manager, who has respon-
process. This will involve the assessment of risk in areas sibility for the area or activity being assessed, as a team
such as maintenance procedures, training programmes member. Other members of the team will be selected on
and supervisory arrangements. A general risk assessment the basis of their experience, their technical and/or design
of the organization should reveal the significant hazards knowledge and any relevant standards or Regulations
present and the general control measures that are in place. relating to the activity or process. At least one team mem-
Such a risk assessment should be completed first and then ber must have communication and report writing skills.
followed by more specific risk assessments that examine A positive attitude and commitment to the risk assessment
individual work activities. task are also important factors. It is likely that team mem-
The UK HSE has produced a free leaflet entitled Five bers will require some basic training in risk assessment.
Steps to Risk Assessment INDG163 (Figure 5.4). It gives prac-
tical advice on assessing risks and recording the findings 5.8.2  The approach of the ILO to risk
and is aimed at small- and medium-sized companies in the
service and manufacturing sectors. The five steps are:
Guidance on the approach of the ILO to risk assessment is
1. look for the hazards;
given in its guidelines on occupational safety and health
2. decide who might be harmed, and how;
management systems ILO-OSH 2001 and in the Code of
3. evaluate the risks and decide whether existing pre-
Practice Ambient factors in the workplace. The assessment
cautions are adequate or more should be done;
should be carried out in consultation with workers and/
4. record the significant findings;
or their representatives by the employers or by persons
5. review the assessment and revise it if necessary.
acting on their behalf who are competent and have the
This simple approach to risk assessment is similar to necessary information, instruction and training.
that adopted by the EU (see Appendix 5.1) and the ILO (see Where the outcome of the assessment indicates a
Section 5.8.2 below) potential injury or risk to health and safety, the results of
It is important that the risk assessment team is selected the assessment should be recorded and made available
on the basis of its competence to assess risks in the particu- for inspection by the competent authority (see Section
lar areas under examination in the organization. The Team 4.7.2 in Chapter 4), and to workers exposed to the hazards
and the workers’ representatives. The record of the assess-
Step 1 ment should be retained for a period of time as may be
specified by the competent authority.
Look for the hazards
The first stage of the assessment should include inspec-
tion of the workplace in order to identify:
Step 2 (a) t he hazards that are present or likely to occur, includ-
ing chemical, biological, physical and psychologi-
Decide who might be harmed, and how
cal hazards and those associated with the work
Step 3
(b) the activities that are likely to expose workers and
others to the hazards identified, including those using
Evaluate the risks and decide whether existing precautions are
adequate or more should be done maintenance, cleaning and emergency procedures.
The second stage of the assessment should consist of
Step 4 the collection of information about the hazards that are
present or likely to occur so that the magnitude and sig-
Record the significant findings nificance for health and safety of any hazard or risk may
be determined. This information should include that pro-
vided by suppliers and that available to the public. The
Step 5 relevance of work organization and the practicability of
Review the assessment and revise it if necessary various methods of control should be considered at this
stage. Determining the magnitude of the hazard or risk
Figure 5.4  Five steps to risk assessment. should include determining the exposure of the workers

Risk assessment

to the hazard, unless other information is adequate for The review should reconsider all parts of the initial
quantification of the risk. The exposure levels should be assessment, and in particular whether it is now:
compared, when possible, with those exposure limits or
(a) p racticable to eliminate any hazards;
standards prescribed by the competent authority. Where
(b) possible to control at source and minimize hazards or
there are no such limits or standards, other national or
risks which had previously required personal protec-
internationally recognized standards should be used for
tive equipment.
comparison. In either case, account should be taken of the
criteria on which those limits have been based. The review should also consider the results of the pro-
The third stage of the assessment should establish gramme for monitoring of exposure level, and whether:
whether hazards or risks to health and safety can be elimi-
(a) e xposure levels previously considered to be accept-
nated. If they cannot be eliminated, the employer should
able should now be regarded as too high in the light
plan how they can be reduced to the lowest reasonable
of available and updated information on the hazards
level, or to a level which, in the light of currently available
and risks;
national and international knowledge and data, would not
(b) any control action needs to be taken;
lead to injury if exposure continued for a working lifetime.
(c) the frequency and type of monitoring previously
As part of the assessment, the employer should:
decided is still appropriate.
(a) d etermine what instructions, training and information
The results of the review should be recorded and
need to be given to the workers and, where appropri-
made available in the same way as the initial assessment.
ate, to their representatives, and others likely to be
exposed to the hazards;
(b) determine what measures are needed to ensure that
the information is kept up-to-date;    5.9      The risk assessment process
(c) plan for necessary training to be given to new or
transferred workers;
The UK HSE approach to risk assessment (five steps) will be
(d) ensure that a programme for review of the assess-
used to discuss the process of risk assessment. It is, how-
ment, including future monitoring of exposure levels,
ever, easier to divide the process into six elements:
is established.
ää hazard identification;
The assessment should be reviewed whenever there
ää persons at risk;
has been a significant change in the work processes to
ää evaluation of risk level;
which it relates or when there is reason to suspect that it is
ää risk controls (existing and additional);
no longer valid. The review should be incorporated into a
ää record of risk assessment findings;
system of management accountability which ensures that
ää monitoring and review.
control action shown to be necessary by the initial assess-
ment is in fact taken. Each element will be discussed in turn.
The reasons indicating that an assessment might no
longer be valid include:
5.9.1  Hazard identification
(a) c omplaints by workers of adverse health effects Hazard identification is the crucial first step of risk assess-
or the detection of health impairment by health­ ment. Only significant hazards, which could result in seri-
surveillance; ous harm to people, should be identified. Trivial hazards
(b) an accident, dangerous occurrence or incident lead- should be ignored.
ing to exposure to a level of hazard or risk that is dif- A tour of the area under consideration by the risk
ferent from that quantified in the initial assessment; assessment team is an essential part of hazard identifi-
(c) subsequent measurement of exposure levels to haz- cation as is consultation with the relevant section of the
ardous substances; workforce.
(d) availability of updated or new information on the par- A review of accident, incident and ill-health records
ticular hazards described in the assessment; will also help with the identification. Other sources of
(e) plant modification, including engineering control information include safety inspection, survey and audit
measures, changes in the process or methods of work reports, job or task analysis reports, manufacturers’ hand-
and in the volume or rate of production which lead books or data sheets and Approved Codes of Practice and
to a change in the hazards present in the workplace. other forms of guidance.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Hazards will vary from workplace to workplace but activities should normally be addressed in days, medium
the checklist in Appendix 5.2 shows the common hazards risks in weeks and low risks in months or in some cases
that are significant in many workplaces. Many questions in no action will be required. It will usually be necessary
the NEBOSH examinations involve several common haz- for risk assessors to receive some training in risk level
ards found in most workplaces. designation.
It is important that unsafe conditions are not con- A quantitative risk assessment attempts to quantify
fused with hazards, during hazard identification. Unsafe the risk level in terms of the likelihood of an incident and
conditions should be rectified as soon as possible after its subsequent severity. Clearly the higher the likelihood
observation. Examples of unsafe conditions include miss- and severity, the higher the risk will be. The likelihood
ing machine guards, faulty warning systems and oil spill- depends on such factors as the control measures in place,
age on the workplace floor. the frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard
and the category/competency of person exposed to the
­hazard/level of supervision. The severity will depend on
5.9.2  Persons at risk the magnitude of the hazard (voltage, toxicity, etc.). The
Employees and contractors who work full time at the UK HSE suggests in HSG65 a simple 3x3 matrix to deter-
workplace are the most obvious groups at risk and it will mine risk levels.
be a necessary check that they are competent to per-
form their particular tasks. However, there may be other Likelihood of occurrence Likelihood level
groups who spend time in or around the workplace. Harm is certain or near certain to occur High 3
These include young workers, trainees, new and expect- Harm will often occur Medium 2
Harm will seldom occur Low 1
ant mothers, cleaners, contractor and maintenance work-
ers and members of the public. Members of the public Severity of harm Severity level
will include visitors, patients, students or customers as Death or major injury (as defined by Major 3
well as passers-by. RIDDOR)
3-day injury or illness (as defined by Serious 2
The risk assessment must include any additional RIDDOR)
controls required due to the vulnerability of any of these All other injuries or illnesses Slight 1
groups, perhaps caused by inexperience or disability. It Risk Severity Likelihood
must also give an indication of the numbers of people
from the different groups who come into contact with the Likelihood Severity
hazard and the frequency of these contacts.
Slight 1 Serious 2 Major 3

5.9.3  Evaluation of risk level Low 1 Low 1 Low 2 Medium 3

During most risk assessment it will be noted that some of
the risks posed by the hazard have already been addressed Medium 2 Low 2 Medium 4 High 6
or controlled. The purpose of the risk assessment, there-
fore, is to reduce the remaining risk. This is called the resid- High 3 Medium 3 High 6 High 9
ual risk.
The goal of risk assessment is to reduce all residual 6–9 High risk
risks to as low a level as reasonably practicable. In a 3–4 Medium risk
relatively complex workplace, this will take time so 1–2 Low risk
that a system of ranking risk is required – the higher
the risk level the sooner it must be addressed and
For most situations, a qualitative risk assessment It is possible to apply such methods to ­organizational
will be perfectly adequate. (This is certainly the case for risk or to the risk that the management system for health
NEBOSH Certificate candidates and is suitable for use dur- and safety will not deliver in the way in which it was
ing the practical assessment.) During the risk assessment, expected or required. Such risks will add to the activity
a judgment is made as to whether the risk level is high, or occupational risk level. In simple terms, poor supervi-
medium or low in terms of the risk of somebody being sion of an activity will increase its overall level of risk. A risk
injured. This designation defines a timetable for remedial management matrix has been developed which combines
actions to be taken thereby reducing the risk. High-risk these two risk levels, as shown below.

Risk assessment

4. a dapting the work to the individual, especially as

Occupational Risk Level
regards the design of the workplace, the choice of
work equipment and the choice of working and pro-
Low Medium High
duction methods, with a view, in particular, to allevi-
ating monotonous work and work at a predetermined
Low L L M
work rate and to reducing their effects on health;
Organizational 5. adapting to technical progress;
Medium L M H
Risk Level 6. replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the
less dangerous;
High M H Unsatisfactory
7. developing a coherent overall prevention policy
which covers technology, organization of work, work-
L Low risk M Medium risk H High risk
ing conditions, social relationships and the influence
of factors relating to the working environment;
Whichever type of risk evaluation method is used, the 8. giving collective protective measures priority over
level of risk simply enables a timetable of risk reduction individual protective measures;
to an acceptable and tolerable level to be formulated. The 9. giving appropriate instruction to employees.
legal duty requires that all risks should be reduced to as
low as is reasonably practicable. These principles are not exactly a hierarchy but must
be considered alongside the usual hierarchy of risk con-
trol, which is as follows:
5.9.4  Risk control measures
ää elimination;
The next stage in the risk assessment process is the con-
ää substitution;
trol of the risk. In established workplaces, some control
ää changing work methods/patterns;
of risk will be in place already. The effectiveness of these
ää reduced or limited time exposure;
controls needs to be assessed so that an estimate of
ää engineering controls (e.g. isolation, insulation and
the residual risk may be made. Many hazards have had
national legislation or other recognized standards devel-
ää good housekeeping;
oped to reduce associated risks. Examples of such hazards
ää safe systems of work;
are fire, electricity, lead and asbestos. The relevant legis-
ää training and information;
lation and any accompanying codes of practice or guid-
ää personal protective equipment;
ance should be consulted first and any recommendations
ää welfare;
implemented. Advice on control measures may also be
ää monitoring and supervision;
available from trade associations, trade unions or employ-
ää review.
ers’ organizations.
Where there are existing preventative measures in See Section 6.3 in Chapter 6 for more information on
place, it is important to check that they are working prop- the risk control hierarchy.
erly and that everybody affected has a clear understand- In a similar manner, the ILO advises (in the ILO-OSH 2001
ing of the measures. It may be necessary to strengthen management system guidelines) that hazards and risks to
existing procedures, for example by the introduction of a workers’ health and safety should be identified and assessed
permit-to-work system. More details on the principles of on an ongoing basis. Preventive and protective measures
control are contained in Chapter 6. should be implemented in the following order of priority:

Hierarchy of risk control (a) e liminate the hazard/risk;

When assessing the adequacy of existing controls or intro- (b) control the hazard/risk at source, through the use of
ducing new controls, a hierarchy of risk controls should be engineering controls or organizational measures;
considered. The European Council Framework Directive (c) minimize the hazard/risk by the design of safe work sys-
89/391/EEC specifies the general principles of prevention tems, which include administrative control measures; and
which are: (d) where residual hazards/risks cannot be controlled by
collective measures, the employer should provide for
1. a voiding risks; appropriate personal protective equipment, includ-
2. evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided; ing clothing, at no cost, and should implement mea-
3. combating the risks at source; sures to ensure its use and maintenance.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Hazard prevention and control procedures or arrange-

5.9.6  Monitoring and review
ments should be established and should:
As mentioned earlier, the risk controls should be reviewed
(a) b e adapted to the hazards and risks encountered by
periodically. This is equally true for the risk assessment
the organization;
as a whole. Review and revision may be necessary when
(b) be reviewed and modified if necessary on a regular
conditions change as a result of the introduction of new
machinery, processes or hazards. There may be new infor-
(c) comply with national laws and regulations, and reflect
mation on hazardous substances or new legislation. There
good practice; and
could also be changes in the workforce, for example the
(d) consider the current state of knowledge, including
introduction of trainees. The risk assessment needs to be
information or reports from organizations, such as
revised only if significant changes have taken place since
labour inspectorates, occupational health and safety
the last assessment was done. An accident or incident or
services, and other services as appropriate.
a series of minor ones provides a good reason for a review
of the risk assessment. This is known as the post-accident
Prioritization of risk control risk assessment.
The prioritization of the implementation of risk control
measures will depend on the risk rating (high, medium
5.9.7  Cost–benefit analysis
and low) but the timescale in which the measures are
introduced will not always follow the ratings. It may be In recent years, risk assessment has been accompanied
convenient to deal with a low-level risk at the same time by a cost-benefit analysis that attempts to evaluate the
as a high-level risk or before a medium-level risk. It may costs and benefits of risk control and reduction. The
also be that work on a high-risk control system is delayed costs could include capital investment, maintenance and
due to a late delivery of an essential component – training and produce benefits such as reduced insur-
this should not halt the overall risk reduction work. It is ance premiums, higher productivity and better prod-
important to maintain a continuous programme of risk uct quality. The pay-back period for most risk reduction
improvement rather than slavishly following a predeter- projects (other than the most simple) has been shown
mined priority list. to be between 2 and 5 years. Although the benefits are
often difficult to quantify, cost–benefit analysis does
help to justify the level of expenditure on a risk reduc-
5.9.5  Record of risk assessment findings tion project.
As mentioned earlier, it is very useful to keep a written
record of the risk assessment. For an assessment to be
‘suitable and sufficient’, only the significant hazards and
conclusions need be recorded. The record should also
   5.10      Special cases
include details of the groups of people affected by the
hazards and the existing control measures and their effec- There are several groups of people who require a spe-
tiveness. The conclusions should identify any new con- cific risk assessment due to them being more ‘at risk’ than
trols required and a review date. The UK HSE booklet Five other groups. Three such groups will be considered –
Steps to Risk Assessment provides a very useful guide and young persons, expectant and nursing mothers and dis-
examples of the detail required for most risk assessments. abled workers.
There are many possible layouts which can be used for
the risk assessment record. Examples are given in Appendi-
5.10.1  Young persons
ces 5.3–5.5. It should be noted that in Appendices 5.4 and
5.5, the initial qualitative risk level at the time of the risk In 2002/03, there were 21 fatalities of young people at
assessment is given – the residual risk level when all the work in the UK and more recent figures have not shown
additional controls have been implemented will be ‘low’. much of an improvement.
This should mean that an annual review will be sufficient. A risk assessment involving young people needs to
The written record provides excellent evidence to a consider the particular vulnerability of young persons in
health and safety enforcement officer of compliance with the workplace. Young workers clearly have a lack of experi-
national health and safety law. The record should be acces- ence and awareness of risks in the workplace, a tendency
sible to employees and a copy kept with the safety manual to be subject to peer pressure and a willingness to work
containing the safety policy and arrangements. hard. Many young workers will be trainees or on unpaid

Risk assessment

work experience. Young people are not fully developed According to ILO estimates for younger and older
and are more vulnerable to physical, biological and chemi- workers:
cal hazards than adults.
ää Young workers aged 15–24 are much more likely to
The following key elements should be covered by the
suffer non-fatal but serious accidents at work com-
risk assessment:
pared to their older colleagues. In the European
ää details of the work activity, including any equipment Union, for example, the incidence rate for non-fatal
or hazardous substances; accidents is at least 50 per cent higher among workers
ää details of any prohibited equipment or processes; aged 18-24 than in any other age category.
ää details of health and safety training to be provided; ää Young workers also appear to be more vulnerable to
ää details of supervision arrangements. certain types of risk than their older colleagues. For
example, in Australia, fatal injuries involving elec-
The extent of the risks identified in the risk assess-
tricity are twice more common amongst younger
ment will determine whether employers should restrict
workers than amongst their older colleagues, accord-
the work of the people they employ. Except in special cir-
ing to the National Occupational Health & Safety
cumstances, young people should not be employed to do
work which:
On the other hand, workers aged 55 years and over
ää is beyond their physical or psychological capacity;
seem to be more likely to suffer fatal injuries at work com-
ää exposes them to substances chronically harmful to
pared to their younger colleagues.
human health, for example toxic or carcinogenic sub-
Younger and older workers are covered by the Mini-
stances, or effects likely to be passed on genetically or
mum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), the Worst Forms of
likely to harm an unborn child;
Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and their asso-
ää exposes them to radiation;
ciated Recommendations, and the Older Workers Recom-
ää involves a risk of accidents which they are unlikely
mendation, 1980 (No. 162).
to recognize because of, for example, their lack of
experience, training or insufficient attention to
safety; 5.10.2  Expectant and nursing mothers
ää involves a risk to their health from extreme heat, noise
If any type of work could present a particular risk to expect-
or vibration.
ant or nursing mothers, the risk assessment must include
These restrictions will not apply in special circum- an assessment of such risks. Should these risks be unavoid-
stances where young people over the minimum school able, then the woman’s working conditions or hours must
leaving age are doing work necessary for their training, be altered to avoid the risks. The alternatives for her are to
under proper supervision by a competent person, and be offered other work or be suspended from work on full
providing the risks are reduced to the lowest level, so pay. The woman must notify the employer in writing that
far as is reasonably practicable. Under no circumstances she is pregnant, or has given birth within the previous 6
can children of compulsory school age do work involving months and/or is breastfeeding.
these risks, whether they are employed or under training Pregnant workers should not be exposed to chemi-
such as work experience. cals, such as pesticides and lead, or to biological hazards,
Induction training is important for young workers and such as hepatitis. Female agricultural workers, veterinary
such training should include site rules, restricted areas, workers or farmers’ wives who are pregnant, should not
prohibited machines and processes, fire precautions, assist with lambing so that any possible contact with ovine
emergency procedures, welfare arrangements and details chlamydia is avoided.
of any further training related to their particular job. At Other work activities that may present a particular
induction, they should be introduced to their mentor and risk to pregnant women at work are radiography, involv-
given close supervision, particularly during the first few ing possible exposure to ionizing radiation, and shop work
weeks of their employment. when long periods of standing are required during shelf
The ILO has also examined occupational health and filling or stock-taking operations.
safety among younger and older workers. Younger and Typical factors which might affect such women are:
older workers are particularly vulnerable. The ageing pop-
ulation in developed countries means that an increasing ää manual handling;
number of older persons are working and need special ää chemical or biological agents;
consideration. ää ionizing radiation;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

ää passive smoking; medical certificate, an alternative to such work in the

ää lack of rest room facilities; form of:
ää temperature variations;
(a) e limination of risk;
ää ergonomic issues related to prolonged standing,
(b) an adaptation of her conditions of work;
sitting or the need for awkward body movement;
(c) a transfer to another post, without loss of pay, when
ää issues associated with the use and wearing of per-
such an adaptation is not feasible; or
sonal protective equipment;
(d) paid leave, in accordance with national laws, regula-
ää working excessive hours;
tions or practice, when such a transfer is not feasible.
ää stress and violence to staff.
The following types of work could be hazardous for
The ILO has introduced the Maternity Protection Con- pregnant women:
vention 2000 (No. 183) and its accompanying Maternity
(a) a rduous work involving the manual lifting, carrying,
Protection Recommendation 2000 (No. 191) to cover the
pushing or pulling of loads;
needs of expectant and nursing mothers in the workplace.
(b) work involving exposure to biological, chemical or
The Convention expects Member States to adopt
physical agents which represent a reproductive health
appropriate measures to ensure that pregnant or breast-
feeding mothers are not obliged to perform work which
(c) work requiring special equilibrium;
has been determined by the competent authority to be
(d) work involving physical strain due to prolonged peri-
prejudicial to the health of the mother or the child, or
ods of sitting or standing, to extreme temperatures, or
where an assessment has established a significant risk
to vibration.
to the mother’s health or that of her child. On produc-
tion of a medical certificate or other appropriate certifi- A pregnant or nursing woman should not be obliged
cation stating the presumed date of childbirth, a woman to do night work if a medical certificate declares such work
to whom the Convention applies is entitled to a period of to be incompatible with her pregnancy or nursing. She
maternity leave of not less than 14 weeks. The Conven- should retain the right to return to her job or an equivalent
tion states that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate job as soon as it is safe for her to do so. She should also be
the employment of a woman during her pregnancy or allowed to leave her workplace, if necessary, after notify-
absence on leave or during a period following her return ing her employer, for the purpose of undergoing medical
to work to be prescribed by national laws or regulations, examinations relating to her pregnancy.
except on grounds unrelated to the pregnancy or birth On production of a medical certificate or other appro-
of the child and its consequences or nursing. The burden priate certification as determined by national law and
of proving that the reasons for dismissal are unrelated to practice, breastfeeding mothers should be allowed breaks,
pregnancy or childbirth and its consequences or nursing the frequency and length of which should be adapted to
rests on the employer. particular needs. Where practicable and with the agree-
The Convention guarantees a woman the right to ment of the employer and the woman concerned, it
return to the same position or an equivalent position should be possible to combine the time allotted for daily
paid at the same rate at the end of her maternity leave. nursing breaks to allow a reduction of hours of work at the
A woman shall be provided with the right to one or beginning or at the end of the working day. Where practi-
more daily breaks or a daily reduction of hours of work cable, provision should be made for the establishment of
to breastfeed her child. The period during which nurs- facilities for nursing under adequate hygienic conditions
ing breaks or the reduction of daily hours of work are at or near the workplace.
allowed, their number, the duration of nursing breaks Detailed guidance is available in New and Expectant
and the procedures for the reduction of daily hours of Mothers at Work, HSG122, HSE Books.
work shall be determined by national law and practice.
These breaks or the reduction of daily hours of work
5.10.3  Workers with a disability
shall be counted as working time and remunerated
accordingly. Organizations have been encouraged for many years to
The Maternity Protection Recommendation R 191 employ workers with disabilities and to ensure that their
recommends that Member States extend the period of premises provide suitable access for such people. From a
maternity leave referred to in the Convention to at least health and safety point of view, it is important that work-
18 weeks. If the current work of the woman presents a risk ers with a disability are covered by special risk assessments
to her or her unborn child, as indicated by an appropriate so that appropriate controls are in place to protect them.

Risk assessment

For example, employees with a hearing problem will For details of further precautions for lone workers, see
need to be warned when the fire alarm sounds or a fork- Section 6.6 of Chapter 6.
lift truck approaches. Special vibrating signals or flashing
lights may be used. Similarly workers in wheelchairs will
require a clear, wheelchair-friendly route to a fire exit and
onwards to the assembly point. Safe systems of work and
   5.11      Sources of reference
welfare facilities need to be suitable for any workers with
disabilities. Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Manage-
ment Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) ISBN-0-580-37805-5
Five Steps to Risk Assessment (INDG163, Revision 3), HSE
5.10.4  Lone workers Books ISBN 978-0-7176-6189-3
People who work alone, like those in small workshops, Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS
remote areas of a large site, social workers, sales person- 18000): Occupational Health and Safety
nel or mobile maintenance staff, should not be at more Management Systems OHSAS 18001:2007 (ISBN-0-580-
risk than other employees (Figure 5.5). It is important 50802-8), OHSAS 18002:2008 (ISBN 9780-580-61674-7)
to consider whether the risks of the job can be properly
controlled by one person. Other considerations in the risk
assessment include:
ää does the particular workplace present a special risk to    5.12      Practice NEBOSH questions
someone working alone? for Chapter 5
ää is there safe egress and exit from the workplace?
ää can all the equipment and substances be safely han- 1. (i) Explain, using examples, the meaning of the fol-
dled by one person? lowing terms:
ää is violence from others a risk? (a) hazard.
ää would women and young persons be specially at risk? (b) risk.
ää is the worker medically fit and suitable for working (ii) Outline the key stages of a general risk assess-
alone? ment.
ää are special training and supervision required? (iii) Give THREE reasons why the seriousness of a
ää has the worker access to first-aid? hazard may not be obvious to someone exposed
to it.
(iv) Outline the logical steps to take in managing
at work.

2. (i) Define the term ‘hazard’.
(ii) Define the term ‘risk’.
(iii) Identify FOUR means of hazard identification that
may be used in a workplace.

3. (i) Explain, using an example, the meaning of the term

(ii) Outline the factors that should be considered
when selecting individuals to assist in carrying out
risk assessments in the workplace.

4. Give the reasons why hazards to the health of workers

may not be identified during a workplace inspection.

5. (i) Identify the key stages of a workplace risk assess-

(ii) Outline THREE reasons for reviewing a risk
Figure 5.5  A lone worker-special arrangements are required. ­assessment.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

  6. With respect to undertaking general risk assessments the factors that the employer should consider prior to
on activities within a workplace: the placement.
(i) Outline the key stages of the risk assessment pro-
cess, identifying the issues that would need to be 14. (i) Define the meaning of the term ‘young person’ as
considered at EACH stage; used in health and safety legislation.
(ii) Explain the criteria which must be met for the (ii) Outline the factors to be taken into account when
assessment to be ‘suitable and sufficient’; undertaking a risk assessment on young persons
(iii) Outline the factors that the employer should take who are to be employed in the workplace.
into account when selecting individuals to assist (iii) Outline reasons why young persons may be at a
in carrying out the required risk assessment. higher risk of injury in a workplace.

  7. With respect to undertaking general risk assessments 15. (i) Identify FOUR ‘personal’ factors that may place
on activities within a workplace: young persons at a greater risk from workplace
(i) Outline the FIVE key stages of the risk assess- hazards.
ment process, identifying the issues that would (ii) Outline FOUR measures that could be taken to
need to be considered at EACH stage. minimize the risks to young persons in the work-
(ii) Identify FOUR items of information from within place.
and FOUR items of information from outside the
organization that may be useful when assessing 16. Outline the factors that may increase risks to preg-
the activities. nant employees.
(iii) Identify the legal requirements for recording
workplace risk assessments. 17. (i) Identify work activities that may present a par-
ticular risk to pregnant women at work, giving an
  8. (i) Identify the ‘five’ steps involved in the assessment example of EACH type of activity.
of risk from workplace activities [as described in (ii) Outline the actions that an employer may take
HSE’s Five Steps to Risk Assessment (INDG163)]. when a risk to a new or expectant mother cannot
(ii) Explain the criteria that should be applied to be avoided.
help develop an action plan to prioritize the con-
trol of health and safety risks in the workplace. 18. An employee who works on a production line has
notified her employer that she is pregnant. Outline
  9. Outline the hazards that might be encountered in a the factors that the employer should consider when
busy hotel kitchen. undertaking a specific risk assessment in relation to
this employee.
10. Identify SIX hazards that might be considered when
assessing the risk to the health and safety of a multi- 19. Outline the issues to be considered to ensure the
storey car park attendant. health and safety of disabled workers in the work-
11. Outline the hazards that might be encountered by a
gardener employed by a local authority parks depart- 20. Identify the factors to be considered to ensure the
ment. health and safety of persons who are required to work
on their own away from the workplace.
12. Outline the content of a training course for staff who
are required to assist in carrying out risk assessments. 21. Outline the issues that should be considered to
ensure the health and safety of cleaners employed in
13. An employer has agreed to accept a young person on a school out of normal working hours.
a work experience placement for one week. Outline

Risk assessment

Appendix 5.1  Procedure for risk assessment and management (European Commission)

  1. Establish a programme of risk assessment at work

  2. Structure the assessment – decide on approach (site- or process- based)
  3. Collect information (jobs, environment, management methods, past experience)
  4. Identify hazards
  5. Identify those at risk
  6. Identify the patterns of exposure of those at risk
  7. Evaluate significant risks (probability of harm/severity of harm in actual circumstances)
  8. Check whether existing control measures are adequate to control the risks
  9. Investigate options for eliminating or controlling the risks
10. Prioritize action and decide on suitable control measures
11. Implement controls
12. Record the risk assessment
13. Measure the effectiveness of the controls
14. Review the risk assessment either periodically or if changes have been introduced. If the assessment is still
valid, no further action required otherwise revision is needed
15. Monitor the programme of risk assessment
Note: The content and extent of each step depend on the condition in the workplace (e.g. number of workers,
accident and ill-health records and work equipment and process)

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 5.2  Hazard checklist

The following checklist may be helpful.

  1. E
 quipment/mechanical   7. Fire and Explosion
entanglement flammable materials/gases/liquids
friction/abrasion explosion
cutting means of escape/alarms/detection
shearing   8. Particles and dust
stabbing/puncturing inhalation
impact ingestion
crushing abrasion of skin or eye
drawing-in   9. Radiation
air or high-pressure fluid injection ionizing
ejection of parts non-ionizing
pressure/vacuum 10. Biological
display screen equipment bacterial
hand tools viral
  2. Transport fungal
works vehicles 11. Environmental
mechanical handling noise
people/vehicle interface vibration
  3. Access light
slips, trips and falls humidity
falling or moving objects ventilation
obstruction or projection temperature
working at height overcrowding
confined spaces 12. The individual
excavations individual not suited to work
  4. Handling/lifting long hours
manual handling high work rate
mechanical handling violence to staff
  5. Electricity unsafe behaviour of individual
fixed installation stress
portable tools and equipment pregnant/nursing women
  6. Chemicals young people
dust/fume/gas lone workers
toxic people with a disablity
irritant 13. Other factors to consider
sensitizing poor maintenance
corrosive lack of supervision
carcinogenic lack of training
nuisance lack of information
inadequate instruction
unsafe systems

Risk assessment

Appendix 5.3  Example 1 - A UK-based risk assessment record

General Health and Safety Risk Assessment No.

Firm/Company Department

Contact Name Nature of Business

Telephone Number

Principal Hazards
Risks to employees and members of the public could arise due to the following hazards:
1. hazardous substances
2. electricity
3. fire
4. dangerous occurrences or other emergency incidents

Persons at Risk
Employees, contractors, and members of the public.

Main Legal Requirements

1. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – sections 2 and 3
2. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
3. The Noise at Work Regulations 1989
4. Common Law Duty of Care

Significant Risks
1.  acute and chronic health problems caused by the use or release of hazardous substances
2.  injuries to employees and members of the public due to equipment failure such as electric shock
3.  injuries to employees and members of the public from slips, trips and falls
4.  injuries to employees and members of the public caused by fire

Fractures, bruising, smoke inhalation and burns, acute and chronic health problems and death.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 5.3  Example 1 - A UK-based risk assessment record)—cont’d

Existing Control Measures

Possible examples include:
  1. All sub-contractors are vetted prior to appointment.
  2. All hazardous and harmful materials are identified and the risks to people assessed. COSHH assessments are
provided and the appropriate controls are implemented. Health surveillance is provided as necessary.
  3. Fire risk assessment has been produced. Fire procedures are in place and all employees are trained to deal with
fire emergencies. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is available at every work site.
  4. A minimum of flammable substances are used on the premises, no more than a half day’s supply at a time. Kept
in fire resistant store.
  5. No smoking is allowed on the premises.
  6. Manual handling is kept to a minimum. Where there is a risk of injury manual handling assessments are carried out.
  7. Method statements are used for complex and/or hazardous jobs and are followed at all times.
  8. All accidents on or around the site are reported and investigated by management. Any changes found necessary
are quickly implemented. All accidents, reportable under RIDDOR 1995, are reported to the HSE on form F2508.
  9. At least 1 qualified First Aider is available during working hours.

Residual Risk, i.e. after controls are in place.

Severity …………………………….  Likelihood …………………………….  Residual Risk …………………………..

Details of various relevant HSE and trade publications.

Comments from Line Manager Comments from the Risk Assessor

Signed ……………………… Signed …………………………….

Date ……………………………. Date …………………………….

Review Date

Likelihood Severity

Slight 1 Serious 2 Major 3

Low 1 Low 1 Low 2 Medium 3

Medium 2 Low 2 Medium 4 High 6

High 3 Medium 3 High 6 High 9

Appendix 5.4  Risk assessment example 2: Hairdressing salon

Name of Company : His and Hers Hairdressers Date of Assessment: 11 January 2008
Name of Assessor: A. R. Smith Date of Review : 12 July 2008

Hazards Persons Risks Initial risk Existing controls Additional Action by Action by Done
affected Risks level controls whom? when?

Hairdressing products Staff and Eye and/or skin Medium COSHH assessment completed Needs to be reviewed Manager 12/2/08 8/2/08
and chemicals customers irritation Non-latex gloves are provided Eye baths to be purchased Owner 12/2/08 24/1/08
Various bleaching and Possible allergic for staff when using products for treatment of eye
cleansing products, in reaction Customers are protected with splashes
particular: single use towels
–lightening (bleach)
product Only non-dusty bleaches used
–hydrogen peroxide Staff report any allergies at Repeat allergy checks Manager 14/2/08 12/2/08
–oxidative colourants induction every 3 months and then every 3
records kept months
Store-room and salon well Storage in salon kept to 1 Manager 18/1/08 16/1/08
ventilated day requirement
Products stored as per manu-
facturer’s recommendations
Staff are specifically trained in Refresher training every 3 Manager 11/4/08 8/4/08
the correct use of products months and records kept
Staff check whether customers Records kept of customer Staff
have allergies to any products allergies and simple patch Manager 25/4/08 7/5/08
tests introduced

Sharp instruments Staff and Cuts, grazes and Medium All sharp instruments sterilized Regular recorded checks Manager 18/1/08 then 18/1/08
customers blood-borne after use that sterilization proce- monthly
infections Sterilizing liquid changed daily dures correctly followed
Sharps box available for
disposable blades
First aid box available Contents of first aid box Manager 18/1/08 then 18/1/08
checked weekly weekly

Fire Staff and Smoke inhalation Low Fire risk assessment completed No flammable products Manager 18/1/08 18/1/08
customers and burns will be displayed in the

Risk assessment
windows or near heater


Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 5.4  Risk assessment example 2: Hairdressing salon—cont’d

Electricity Staff and Electrical shocks Low Any damaged cables, plugs An appropriate fire extin- Owner 25/1/08 23/1/08
customers and burns. Also a or electrical equipment is guisher (carbon dioxide)
risk of fire reported to the manager should be available
All portable electrical Make a visual check of Manager 25/1/08 then 25/1/08
equipment and thermostats electrical equipment, every month
checked every 6 months by a cables and sockets every
competent person month and record findings
All electrical equipment pur- All internal wiring should Owner 25/4/08 3/4/08
chased from a reliable supplier be checked by a qualified
Staff shown how to use and
store hairdryers, etc. safely and
isolate electrical supply

Standing for long periods Staff Back pain and pain Medium Staff given regular breaks Develop a formal rota Manager 25/1/08 21/1/08
in neck, shoulders, Stools available for staff for use system for breaks
legs and feet – while trimming hair
musculoskeletal Customer chairs are adjustable
injuries in height

Wet hand work Staff Skin sensitization, Medium Staff are trained to wash and Ensure that a range of Manager 25/1/08 31/1/08
dry skin, dermatitis dry hands thoroughly between glove sizes are available
hair washes for staff
Non-latex gloves are provided Staff will always wear Manager 25/1/08 1/2/08
for staff gloves for all wet work
Moisturizing hand cream is
provided for staff

Slips and trips Staff and Bruising, lacerations Low Cut hair is swept up regularly
customers and possible Staff must wear slip-resistant
fractures footwear
No trailing leads on floor Organize repair of worn Manager 8/2/08 5/2/08
Any spills are cleaned floor covering
Door mat provided at shop
Appendix 5.5  Risk assessment example 3: Office cleaning

Name of Company : Apex Cleaning Company Date of Assessment: 14 May 2008

Name of Assessor: T W James Date of Review : 14 November 2008

Hazards Persons Risks Initial risk Existing controls Additional Action by Action by Done
affected level controls whom? when?

Machine cleaning of Staff and Injury to ankles due Low Machine supplied for the job
floors others to incorrect use of is suitable
machinery Machine is maintained Maintenance and inspec- Manager 30/5/08 21/5/08
regularly and examined by a tions to be documented
competent person
Cleaners trained in the safe Training to be Manager 30/5/08 28/5/08
use of the machine documented

Electrical Staff Electric shock and Low Staff trained in visual Training to be Manager 30/5/08 28/5/08
burns inspection of plugs, cables documented
and switches before use on
each shift
Staff inform manager of any Defect forms and a proce- Manager 13/6/08 18/6/08
defects dure to be developed and
communicated to staff
All portable electrical equip- All electrical equipment Manager 20/6/08 18/6/08
ment is regularly tested by a to be listed and results of
competent person portable appliance testing
(PAT ) tests recorded
Staff trained not to splash Training to be Manager 30/5/08 28/5/08
water near machines or wall documented

Lone working Staff Accident, illness or Medium Staff sign in and out at either Check that staff are aware Manager 22/5/08 20/5/08
attack by intruder end of shift with security staff that security staff are
trained first aiders
Security staff visit staff Check on regularity of Manager 22/5/08 20/5/08
regularly these visits
All staff issued with mobile If manager cannot Manager 22/5/08 20/5/08
telephone number of manager respond, staff to be told to
for emergency use ring emergency services

Risk assessment
Work at height Staff Bruising, sprains, Low Staff issued with long-handled Staff to be trained in safe Manager 11/6/2008 3/6/08
lacerations and equipment for work at high system of work for clean-
fractures level ing stairways, escalators
Staff told not to stand on and external windows

chairs or stepladders


Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 5.4  Risk assessment example 3: Office cleaning—cont’d

Contact with bleach Staff Skin irritation. Low COSHH assessment completed COSSH assessment to be Manager 27/6/08 18/6/08
and other cleaning Possible allergic reviewed
chemicals reaction and eye Staff trained in safe use and Records of the staff Manager 30/5/08 28/5/08
injuries from splashes storage of cleaning chemicals training to be kept and
Staff induction questionnaire Check whether products Manager 20/6/08 25/6/08
includes details of any aller- marked ‘harmful’ or ‘irri-
gies and skin problems tant’ can be substituted
with milder alternatives
Impervious rubber gloves are Staff to report any health Staff Ongoing
issued for use with any chemi- problems
cal cleaners
Equipment used with chemi-
cals is regularly serviced and/
or cleaned

Musculoskeletal Staff Musculoskeletal Medium Staff trained in correct lifting Check that staff are not Manager 28/5/08 26/5/08
disorders and injuries injuries to the back, technique lifting heavy objects
neck, shoulders, legs or furniture or unduly
and feet stretching while cleaning
Long-handled equipment Check whether more
used to prevent stooping up-to-date equipment is
Each floor is provided with all available (long-handled Manager 28/5/08 28/5/08
necessary cleaning equipment wringers and buckets on
Staff trained not to overfill wheels)

Slips, trips and falls Staff and Bruising, sprains, Medium Warning signs placed on wet Introduce a wet and dry Manager 28/5/08 26/5/08
others lacerations and floors mops cleaning system for
possible fractures Staff use nearest electrical floors
socket to reduce trip hazards
Staff told to wear slip-resistant
Wet floor work restricted to
less busy times at client offices
Client encouraged in a good
housekeeping policy

Fire Staff and Smoke inhalation and Low Staff trained in client’s emer- On each floor, a carbon Manager 6/6/08 2/6/08
others burns gency fire procedures includ- dioxide fire extinguisher is
ing assembly point available for cleaning staff
Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Principles of
control 6
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Describe the general principles of control and a basic

hierarchy of risk reduction

nn Discuss measures that encompass technical, behavioural

and procedural controls

nn Describe the factors that should be considered when

developing and implementing a safe system of work for
general work activities and explain the key elements of a
safe system applied to the particular situations of working
in confined spaces and lone working

nn Explain the role and function of a permit-to-work system

nn Explain the need for emergency procedures and the

arrangements for contacting emergency services

nn Describe the requirements for, and effective provision of,

first-aid in the workplace.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

 6.1    Introduction

he control of risks is essential to secure and main- hierarchy of control methods which give the preferred
tain a healthy and safe workplace which complies order of approach to risk control.
with local relevant legal requirements. Hazard When risks have been analysed and assessed, deci-
identification and risk assessment were covered in Chap- sions can be made about workplace precautions.
ter 5 and these together with appropriate risk control All final decisions about risk control methods must
measures form the core of the Occupational Safety and take into account the relevant national legal require-
Health Management Systems such as ILO-OSH 2001, ments, which establish minimum levels of risk prevention
OHSAS18001 and UK, HSG65. Chapter 1 covered these or control. Sometimes the duties imposed by national
in more detail. statutory provisions are absolute and must be complied
Today safety is controlled through a combination of with. Many requirements are, however, qualified by
engineered measures such as the provision of safety protec- phrases such as: suitable and sufficient, proportional to
tion (e.g. guarding and warning systems), and operational the risk, so far as is reasonably practicable, or so far as is
measures, such as training, safe work practices, operating practicable. These require an assessment of cost, along
procedures and method statements, along with manage- with information about relative costs, effectiveness and
ment supervision. reliability of different control measures. Further guidance
These measures (collectively) are commonly known in on the meaning of these four expressions is provided in
health and safety terms as control measures. Some of the Chapter 1.
more common measures will be explained in more detail
This chapter concerns the principles that should be
adopted when deciding on suitable measures to elimi-
   6.2      General principles of prevention
nate or control both acute and chronic risks to the health
and safety of people at work. The principles of control can The general principles of prevention cover technical,
be applied to both health risks and safety risks, although behavioural and procedural controls. They are set out in
health risks have some distinctive features that require a Article 6(2) of the European Council Directive 89/391/EEC
special approach. but are just as relevant outside the EU. These general prin-
Chapters 9–16 deal with specific workplace hazards ciples require that where an employer implements any pre-
and controls, subject by subject. The principles of pre- ventative measures they shall do so on the basis of these
vention now enshrined in EU Directives, OHSAS 18001: principles which are not a hierarchy or order of priority. ILO-
2007 and ILO OSH-2001 should be used jointly with the OSH 2001 sets out an order of priority which is covered in
Section 6.3.
The general principles of prevention are as follows:

1. A voiding risks
This means, for example, trying to stop doing the task
or using different processes or doing the work in a dif-
ferent, safer way.
2. Evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided
This requires a risk assessment to be carried out.
3. Combating the risks at source
This means that risks, such as a dusty work atmo-
sphere, are controlled by removing the cause of the
dust rather than providing special protection; or that
slippery floors are treated or replaced rather than put-
ting up a sign.
4. Adapting the work to the individual
This involves the design of the workplace, the choice
Figure 6.1  When controls break down. of work equipment and the choice of working and

Principles of control

production methods, with a view, in particular, to

alleviating monotonous work and work at a prede-    6.3      General hierarchy of control
termined work rate and to reducing their effect on measures
This will involve consulting those who will be affected 6.3.1  Hierarchy of control
when workplaces, methods of work and safety pro-
cedures are designed. The control individuals have A hierarchy or priority of control should be considered
over their work should be increased, and time spent when assessing the adequacy of existing controls or
working at predetermined speeds and in monoto- introducing new controls. It is important to remember
nous work should be reduced where it is reasonable that the general principles of prevention are not set
to do so. out in a hierarchy but as a list of prevention principles
5. Adapting to technical progress which must all be considered when controlling risks.
It is important to take advantage of technological ILO-OSH 2001 gives an order of priority for preventive
and technical progress, which often gives design- and protective measures which is the same as a hierar-
ers and employers the chance to improve both chy. The NEBOSH International General Certificate sylla-
safety and working methods. With the Internet and bus uses basically the same hierarchy with a few minor
other international information sources available, differences and is the source of the list shown in Sec-
very wide knowledge, going beyond what is hap- tions 6.2.2–6.2.12. Table 6.1 compares these two hierar-
pening in a particular nation state or region, is likely chies alongside the UK’s HSG65 hierarchy of risk control
to be expected by the enforcing authorities and the principles.
courts. The general hierarchy reflects the concept that risk
6. Replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or elimination and risk control by the use of physical engi-
the less dangerous neering controls and safeguards can be more reliably
This involves substituting, for example, equipment maintained than those which rely solely on people.
or substances with non-hazardous or less hazardous Where a range of control measures is available, it
substances. will be necessary to weigh up the relative costs of each
7. Developing a coherent overall prevention policy against the degree of control each provides, both in the
This covers technology, organization of work, short and long term. Some control measures, such as
working conditions, social relationships and the eliminating a risk by choosing a safer alternative sub-
influence of factors relating to the working envi- stance or machine, provide a high degree of control
ronment. and are reliable. Physical safeguards such as guarding
Health and safety policies should be prepared and a machine or enclosing a hazardous process need to
applied by reference to these principles. be maintained. In making decisions about risk control,
8. Giving collective protective measures priority over it will therefore be necessary to consider the degree of
individual protective measures control and the reliability of the control measures along
This means giving priority to control measures which with the costs of both providing and maintaining the
make the workplace safe for everyone working there, measure.
giving the greatest benefit, for example removing
hazardous dust by exhaust ventilation rather than 6.3.2  Avoidance of risks by elimination or
providing a filtering respirator to an individual worker.
This is sometimes known as a ‘Safe Place’ approach to
controlling risks. The best and most effective way of reducing risks is by
9. Giving appropriate instruction to employees avoiding a hazard and its associated risks. For example
This involves making sure that employees are avoid working at height by using a long-handled tool to
fully aware of company policy, safety procedures, clean windows; avoid entry into a confined space by, for
good practice, official guidance, any test results example, using a sump pump in a pit which is removed by
and legal requirements. This is sometimes known a lanyard for maintenance; eliminate the fire risks from tar
as a ‘Safe Person’ approach to controlling risks boilers by using bitumen which can be applied cold.
where the focus is on individuals. A properly set- Substitution describes the use of a less hazardous
up health and safety management system should form of a substance or process. There are many exam-
cover and balance both a ‘Safe Place and Safe Per- ples of substitution such as the use of water-based
son approach’. rather than solvent-based paints; the use of asbestos

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Table 6.1  Hierarchies of control – Comparisons

NEBOSH International UK-HSE-HSG65 Summary of Risk Control Principles ILO-OSH 2001 Guidelines on OSH
General Certi cate management systems

Avoidance of risks Eliminate risk by substituting the dangerous by the inherently less Eliminate the hazard/risk.
dangerous, for example:
use less hazardous substances.
Elimination of hazards or substitute a type of machine which is better guarded to make the
substitution for something less same product.
hazardous avoid the use of certain processes.

Reducing or limiting the Combat risks at source by engineering controls and giving collective Control the hazard/risk at source,
duration of exposure to the protective measures priority, for example: through the use of engineering
hazard Separate the operator from the risk of exposure to a known controls or organizational measures.
hazardous substance by enclosing the process.
Protect the dangerous parts of a machine by guarding.
Isolation/segregation Design process machinery and work activities to minimize the
release of, or to suppress or contain, airborne hazards.
Design machinery which is remotely operated and to which
materials are fed automatically, thus separating the operator from
Engineering controls
danger areas.

Minimize the hazard/risk by the

Safe systems of work
design of safe work systems, which
Minimize risk by: include administrative control
Training and information designing suitable systems of working. measures.
using personal protective clothing and equipment; this should
PPE Where residual hazards/risks cannot
only be used as a last resort.
be controlled by collective measures,
Welfare the employer should provide for
appropriate PPE, including clothing,
at no cost, and should implement
Monitoring and supervision measures to ensure its use and

s­ ubstitutes and the use of compressed air as a power

6.3.3  Reduced time exposure
source rather than ­electricity to reduce both electri-
cal and fire risks; and the use of mechanical excavators This involves reducing the time during the working day
instead of hand digging. that the employee is exposed to the hazard, by giving the
In some cases it is possible to change the method of employee either other work or rest periods. It is normally
working so that risks are reduced. For example use rods only suitable for the control of health hazards associated
to clear drains instead of strong chemicals; use a long- with, for example, noise, vibration, excessive heat or cold,
handled water hose brush to clean windows instead of display screens and hazardous substances. However, it is
climbing on ladders. Sometimes the pattern of work can important to note that for many hazards, there are short-
be changed so that people can do things in a more natu- term exposure limits as well as normal workplace exposure
ral way, for example when placing components for pack- limits over an 8-hour period (see Chapter 14). Short-term
ing consider whether people are right- or left-handed; limits must not be exceeded during the reduced time
encourage people in offices to take breaks from computer exposure intervals.
screens by getting up to photocopy, fetch files or print It cannot be argued that a short time of exposure to
documents. a dangerous part of a machine is acceptable. However,
Care must be taken to consider any additional hazards it is possible to consider short bouts of intensive work
which may be involved and thereby introduce additional with rest periods when employees are engaged in heavy
risks, as a result of a substitution. labour such as manual digging when machines are not

Principles of control

permitted due to the confines of the space or buried


6.3.4  Isolation/segregation
Controlling risks by isolating them or segregating people
and the hazard is an effective control measure and used
in many instances; for example separating vehicles and
pedestrians on factory sites, providing separate walkways
for the public on road repairs, providing warm rooms on
sites or noise refuges in noisy processes.
The principle of isolation is usually followed with the
storage of highly flammable liquids or gases which are put
into open, air ventilated compounds away from other haz-
ards such as sources of ignition or from people who may Figure 6.2  Proper control of gases and vapours in a laboratory.
be at risk from fire or explosion.

6.3.5  Engineering controls be conveyed verbally. There should be records that the
This describes the control of risks by means of engineer- employee (or contractor) has been trained or instructed in
ing design rather than a reliance on preventative actions the safe system of work and that they understand it and
by the employee. There are several ways of achieving such will abide by it.
1. C ontrol the risks at the source (e.g. the use of more 6.3.7  Training
efficient dust filters or the purchase of less noisy
Training helps people acquire the skills, knowledge and
attitudes to make them competent in the health and
2. Control the risk of exposure by:
safety aspects of their work. There are generally two types
ää isolating the equipment by the use of an enclo-
of safety training:
sure, a barrier or guard;
ää insulating any electrical or temperature hazard; ää specific safety training (or on the job training) which
ää ventilating away any hazardous fumes or gases aims at tasks where training is needed due to the
either naturally or by the use of extractor fans and specific nature of such tasks. This is usually a job for
hoods (Figure 6.2). supervisors, who by virtue of their authority and
close daily contact, are in a position to convert safety
generalities to the everyday safe practice procedures
6.3.6  Safe systems of work that apply to individual tasks, machines, tools and
Operating procedures or safe systems of work are prob-
ää planned training, such as general safety training,
ably the most common form of control measure used in
induction training, management training, skill train-
industry today and may be the most economical and, in
ing or refresher courses that are planned by the orga-
some cases, the only practical way of managing a par-
nization, and relate to managing risk through policy,
ticular risk. They should allow for methodical execution
legislative or organizational requirements that are
of tasks. The development of safe operating procedures
common to all employees.
should address the hazards that have been identified in
the risk assessment. The system of work describes the safe Before any employee can work safely, they must
method of performing the job or activity. A safe system of be shown safe procedures for completing their tasks.
work is often a requirement of national legislation and is The purpose of safety training should be to improve
dealt with in detail later. the safety awareness of employees and show them
If the risks involved in the task are high or medium, how to perform their jobs employing acceptable safe
the details of the system should be in writing and should behaviour.
be communicated to the employee formally in a train- See Chapter 4 for more detail on health and safety
ing session. Details of systems for low-risk activities may training.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

6.3.8  Information Prohibition

A red circular band with diagonal crossbar
Organizations need to ensure that they have effective on a white background, the symbol within
arrangements for identifying and receiving relevant the circle to be black denoting a safety sign
health and safety information from outside the organiza- that indicates that a certain behaviour is
tion including:
ää ensuring that pertinent health and safety information
is communicated to all people in the organization Warning
who need it; A yellow triangle with black border and
symbol within the yellow area denoting a
ää ensuring that relevant information is communicated safety sign that gives warning of a hazard.
to people outside the organization who require it;
ää encouraging feedback and suggestions from employ-
ees on health and safety matters.
Anyone who is affected by what is happening in the A blue circle with white symbol denoting a
workplace will need to be given safety information. This sign that indicates that a specific course of
does not only apply to staff. It can also apply to visitors, action must be taken.
members of the public and contractors. Information to be
provided for people in a workplace includes:
ää who is at risk and why; Safe condition
ää how to carry out specific tasks safely; A green oblong or square with symbol or
text in white denoting a safety sign
ää correct operation of equipment; providing information about safe
ää emergency action arrangements; conditions.
ää accident and hazard reporting procedures;
ää the safety responsibilities of individual people.
Information can be provided in a variety of ways. Fire equipment
These include safety signs, posters, newsletters, memos, A red oblong or square with symbol in
emails, personal briefings, meetings, toolbox talks, formal white denoting a safety sign that indicates
the location of fire-fighting equipment.
training, written safe systems of work and written health
and safety arrangements.
For more details see Chapters 1, 4 and 9.
Figure 6.3  Colour categories and shapes of signs.

6.3.9  Safety signs

out to guarantee that, wherever in the world, a manufac-
All general health and safety signs used in the workplace turer of safety signs for workplaces and public areas uses
should include a pictorial symbol categorized by shape, exactly the same pattern. The standard seeks, moreover,
colour and graphic image. A picture may be worth a thou- to give guidance to the designers of safety signs and get
sand words, but when it comes to graphical symbols for them to use ISO 7010 with a view to obtaining greater
safety-related information, misunderstanding the mes- overall consistency and, thereby, better universal public
sage may have serious consequences. An International recognition
Standard aims to improve understanding and proper The collection of safety signs contained in ISO 7010 is
application of safety signs designed to reduce accidents not a mere “collection” of more or less randomly sampled
and injury in workplaces and public areas worldwide (Fig- proposals. The signs included have given evidence, after
ures 6.3 and 6.4). year-long use in different countries, that they will also be
Published by ISO (International Organization for Stan- globally understood.
dardization), ISO 7010:2003, Graphical symbols - Safety The standard covers 32 safety signs designed for use in
colours and safety signs - Safety signs used in workplaces accident prevention, fire protection and emergency evac-
and public areas, provides a method of communicating uation. Each is displayed by a visual illustration together
safety information through a collection of signs designed with the image content, function, field and format of appli-
for use in any workplace, location and sector where cation. Geometric shape and colour are also indicated as
safety-related questions may be posed. ISO 7010 sets prescribed by ISO 3864-1:2002, Graphical symbols - Safety

Principles of control

Figure 6.4  Examples of pictorial designs.

Toxic Corrosive
Figure 6.7  Examples of chemical warning signs.
Figure 6.5  Falling object and construction site entrance signs.

keep people out of the danger area. Signs are generally not
needed where the sign would not reduce the risk or the risk
is insignificant.
The following signs are typical of some of the ones
most likely to be needed in these premises. Others may
be necessary, depending on the hazards and risks pres-
ent. The wording will of course be in the relevant local

(i)  verhead obstacles, construction site and Prohi-

bition notices (Figure 6.5).
(ii) Wet floors – These need to be used wherever a
­slippery area is not cordoned off. Lightweight stands
holding double-sided signs are readily available­­­
(Figure 6.6).
Figure 6.6  Wet floor signs. (iii) Chemical storage – Where hazardous cleaning
chemicals are stored, apart from keeping the store
locked, a suitable warning notice should be posted
colours and safety signs - Part 1: Design principles for safety if it is considered this would help to reduce the risk
signs in workplaces and public areas. of injury (Figure 6.7).
All workplaces need to display safety signs of some (iv) Fire safety signs – These are needed to indicate
kind but deciding what is required can be confusing. Here emergency routes and emergency exits (Figure 6.8).
are the basic suggestions for the majority of small prem- (v) Fire action signs – These are needed to show actions
ises or sites like small construction sites, canteens, shops, necessary in an emergency such as sounding a
small workshop units and offices. This does not cover any fire alarm, location of fire extinguishers or hose reels
signs which food hygiene law may require. (Figure 6.9).
Many national regulatory regimes require signs to be (vi) First-aid – Signs showing the location of first-aid
displayed where a risk has not been controlled by other facilities will be needed. Advice on the action to
means. For example if a wet area of floor is cordoned off, a take in the case of electric shock is no longer a legal
warning sign will not be needed, because the barrier will requirement but is recommended (Figure 6.10).

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

(vii) G  as pipes and LPG cylinder stores – LPG cylinder

stores should have the sign shown in Figure 6.11.
(viii) No smoking – Where smoking is not permitted the
no-smoking sign is required. In many EU member
states areas substantially enclosed areas should
have the sign shown in Figure 6.12 under smoke-
free legislation.
(ix) Fragile roofs – Signs should be erected at roof access
Fire exit
points and at the top of outside walls where ladders
Figure 6.8  Examples of fire safety signs. may be placed (Figure 6.13).
(x) Obstacles or dangerous locations – For example
low head height, tripping hazard, etc. – alternating
yellow and black stripes.

Hose reel Fire extinguisher Fire alarm call point

Figure 6.9  Examples of fire action signs.

First-aid post First-aid stretcher Eyewash

Figure 6.10  Examples of first-aid signs.

Figure 6.12  (a) No Smoking sign (b) Smokefree – no-smo­­king


Figure 6.11  LPG sign. Figure 6.13  Fragile roof sign.

Principles of control

(xi) O  ther signs and posters – There may be other spe- ää must be used properly;
cific signs or posters required by national legislation; ää must be replaced when it no longer offers the correct
here are examples from the UK: level of protection. This last point is particularly rel-
ää UK Health and Safety Law – What you should evant when respiratory protection is used.
know (there is a legal requirement to display
The benefits of PPE are:
this poster or distribute equivalent leaflet).
ää Certificate of Employer’s Liability Insurance ää it gives immediate protection to allow a job to
(there is a legal requirement to display this). ­continue while engineering controls are put in
ää Scalds and burns are common in kitchens. place;
A poster showing recommended action is advis- ää in an emergency it can be the only practicable way of
able, for example ‘First-Aid for Burns’. effecting rescue or shutting down plant in hazardous
(xii) Sign checklist – Existing signs should be checked to atmospheres;
ensure that: ää it can be used to carry out work in confined spaces
ää they are correct and up-to-date; where alternatives are impracticable. But it should
ää they carry the correct warning symbol where never be used to allow people to work in dangerous
appropriate; atmospheres, which are, for example, enriched with
ää they are relevant to the hazard; oxygen or potentially explosive.
ää they are easily understood;
ää they are suitably located and not obscured; See Chapter 14 for more details on PPE.
ää they are clean, durable and weatherproof where
6.3.11  Welfare
ää illuminated signs have regular lamp checks;
ää they are used when required (e.g. ‘Caution: wet Welfare facilities include general workplace ventila-
floor’ signs); tion, lighting and heating and the provision of drink-
ää they are obeyed and effective. ing water, sanitation and washing facilities. There is also
a requirement to provide eating and rest rooms. Risk
control may be enhanced by the provision of eye wash-
6.3.10  Personal protective equipment ing and shower facilities for use after certain accidents
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be used (Figure 6.15).
as a last resort. There are many reasons for this (Figure Good housekeeping is a very cheap and effective
6.14). The most important limitations are that PPE: means of controlling risks. It involves keeping the work-
place clean and tidy at all times and maintaining good
ää only protects the person wearing the equipment, not
storage systems for hazardous substances and other
others nearby;
potentially dangerous items. The risks most likely to be
ää relies on people wearing the equipment at all
influenced by good housekeeping are fire and slips, trips
and falls.
See Chapter 15 for more information on the work

6.3.12  Monitoring and supervision

All risk control measures, whether they rely on engi-
neered or human behavioural controls, must be moni-
tored for their effectiveness with supervision to ensure
that they have been applied correctly. Competent people
who have a sound knowledge of the equipment or pro-
cess should undertake monitoring. Checklists are useful
to ensure that no significant factor is forgotten. Any statu-
tory inspection or insurance company reports should be
checked to see whether any areas of concern were high-
lighted and if any recommendations were implemented.
Figure 6.14  PPE used for loading a textile dye vessel. Details of any accidents, illnesses or other incidents will

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

give an indication on the effectiveness of the risk ­control

measures. Any emergency arrangements should be    6.4      Controlling health risks
tested during the monitoring phase including first-aid
provision. 6.4.1  Types of health risk
It is crucial that the operator should be monitored to
ascertain that all relevant procedures have been under- The principles of control for health risks are the same as those
stood and followed. The operator may also be able to sug- for safety. However, the nature of health risks can make the
gest improvements to the equipment or system of work. link between work activities and employee ill-health less
The supervisor is an important source of information dur- obvious than in the case of injury from an accident.
ing the monitoring process. The general principles of good practice for the control
Where the organization is involved with shift work, it of exposure are set out in the following box.
is essential that the risk controls are monitored on all shifts
to ensure the uniformity of application.
The effectiveness and relevance of any training or Principles of good practice for the control
instruction given should be monitored. of exposure to substances hazardous to
Periodically the risk control measures should be health
reviewed. Monitoring and other reports are crucial for
the review to be useful. Reviews often take place at safety (a) Design and operate processes and activities to
committee and/or at management meetings. A serious minimize emission, release and spread of sub-
accident or incident should lead to an immediate review stances hazardous to health.
of the risk control measures in place. (b) Take into account all relevant routes of exposure –
inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion – when
developing control measures.
(c) Control exposure by measures that are propor-
tionate to the health risk.
(d) Choose the most effective and reliable control
options which minimize the escape and spread
of substances hazardous to health.
(e) Where adequate control of exposure cannot be
achieved by other means, provide, in combina-
tion with other control measures, suitable PPE.
(f) Check and review regularly all elements of con-
trol measures for their continuing effectiveness.
(g) Inform and train all employees on the hazards
and risks from the substances with which they
work and the use of control measures developed
to minimize the risks.
(h) Ensure that the introduction of control measures
does not increase the overall risk to health and safety.

Unlike safety risks, which can lead to immediate injury,

the result of daily exposure to health risks may not mani-
fest itself for months, years and, in some cases, decades.
Irreversible health damage may occur before any symp-
toms are apparent. It is, therefore, essential to develop
a preventive strategy to identify and control risks before
anyone is exposed to them (see Figure 6.16).
Risks to health from work activities include:

Figure 6.15  Welfare washing facilities: washbasin large ää skin contact with irritant substances, leading to der-
enough for people to wash their forearms. matitis, etc.;

Principles of control

ää consulting the workforce on the design of workplaces;

ää talking to manufacturers and suppliers of substances
and work equipment about minimizing exposure;
ää enclosing machinery to cut down dust, fumes and noise;
ää researching the use of less hazardous substances;
ää ensuring that employees are given appropriate informa-
tion and are trained in the safe handling of all the sub-
stances and materials to which they may be exposed.

To assess health risks and to make sure that control

measures are working properly, it may be necessary, for
example, to measure the concentration of substances in
air to make sure that exposures remain within the relevant
workplace exposure levels. Sometimes health surveillance
Figure 6.16  Health risk – checking on the contents. of workers who may be exposed will be needed. This will
enable data to be collected to check control measures
ää inhalation of respiratory sensitizers, triggering and for early detection of any adverse changes to health.
immune responses such as asthma; Health surveillance procedures available include biological
ää badly designed workstations requiring awkward body monitoring for bodily uptake of substances, ­examination
postures or repetitive movements, resulting in upper for symptoms and medical surveillance – which may entail
limb disorders, repetitive strain injury and other mus- clinical examinations and physiological or psychological
culoskeletal conditions; measurements by occupationally qualified registered med-
ää noise levels which are too high, causing deafness and ical practitioners. The procedure chosen should be suitable
conditions such as tinnitus; for the case concerned. Sometimes a method of surveil-
ää too much vibration, for example from hand-held tools lance is specified for a particular substance in national leg-
leading to hand–arm vibration syndrome and circula- islation or guidance. Whenever surveillance is undertaken,
tory problems; a health record must be kept for the person concerned.
ää exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation Health surveillance should be supervised by a regis-
including ultraviolet in the sun’s rays, causing burns, tered/qualified medical practitioner or, where appropri-
sickness and skin cancer; ate, it should be done by a suitably qualified person (e.g.
ää infections ranging from minor sickness to life-threat- an occupational nurse). In the case of inspections for easily
ening conditions, caused by inhaling or being con- detectable symptoms like chrome ulceration or early signs
taminated with microbiological organisms; of dermatitis, health surveillance should be done by a suit-
ää stress causing mental and physical disorders. ably trained responsible person.

Some illnesses or conditions, such as asthma and

back pain, have both occupational and non-occupational    6.5      Safe systems of work
causes and it may be difficult to establish a definite causal
link with a person’s work activity or their exposure to 6.5.1  What is a safe system of work?
­particular agents or substances. But, if there is evidence
that shows the illness or condition is prevalent among the A safe system of work has been defined as:
type of workers to which the person belongs or among
workers exposed to similar agents or substances, it is
likely that their work and exposure has contributed in The integration of personnel, articles
some way. and substances in a laid out and con-
sidered method of working which takes
6.4.2  Assessing exposure and health proper account of the risks to employees
and others who may be affected, such as
surveillance visitors and contractors, and provides
Exposure to some agents require input from specialist or a formal framework to ensure that all
professional advisers, such as occupational health hygienists, of the steps necessary for safe working
nurses and doctors. However, considerable progress can be have been anticipated and implemented.
made by taking straightforward measures such as:

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

In simple terms, a safe system of work is a defined ää foreseeable hazards (health, safety, environment),
method for doing a job in a safe way. It takes account of whether to the people doing the work or to others
all foreseeable hazards to health and safety and seeks who might be affected by it;
to eliminate or minimize these. Safe systems of work are ää practical precautions which, when adopted, will elimi-
normally formal and documented, for example in written nate or minimize these hazards;
operating procedures but, in some cases, they may be ää the training needs of those who will manage and
verbal. operate under the procedure;
The particular importance of safe systems of work ää monitoring systems to ensure that the defined pre-
stems from the recognition that most accidents are caused cautions are implemented effectively.
by a combination of factors (plant, substances, lack of
training and/or supervision, etc.). Hence prevention must
be based on an integral approach and not one which only
6.5.2  Legal requirements
deals with each factor in isolation. The adoption of a safe
system of work provides this integral approach because an Article 10(a) of the ILO recommendation R164 requires
effective safe system: employers, ‘to provide and maintain workplaces,
machinery and equipment, and use work methods, which
ää is based on looking at the job as a whole;
are as safe and without risk to health as is reasonably
ää starts from an analysis of all foreseeable hazards, for
example physical, chemical, health;
In addition 10(b) requires employers, ‘to give necessary
ää brings together all the necessary precautions, includ-
instructions and training, taking account of the functions
ing design, physical precautions, training, monitoring,
and capacities of different categories of workers’.
procedures and PPE.
Many national regulations require information and
It follows from this that the use of safe systems of instruction to be provided to employees and others. In
work is in no way a replacement for other precautions, effect, this is also a more specific requirement to provide
such as good equipment design, safe construction and safe systems of work. Many of these safe systems, informa-
the use of physical safeguards. However, there are many tion and instructions will need to be in writing.
situations where these will not give adequate protec- There may also a need for employers to provide a safe
tion in ­themselves, and then a carefully thought-out and system of work to fulfil their civil law/common law duty
properly implemented safe system of work is especially of care.
important. The best example is maintenance and repair
work, which will often involve, as a first-stage, disman-
tling the guard or breaking through the containment, 6.5.3  Assessment of what safe systems of work are
which exists for the protection of the ordinary process required
operator. In some of these operations, a permit-to-work
procedure will be the most appropriate type of safe sys- Requirement
tem of work. It is the responsibility of the management in each
The operations covered may be simple or complex, organization to ensure that its operations are assessed
routine or unusual. to determine where safe systems of work need to be
Whether the system is verbal or written, and whether developed. This assessment must, at the same time,
the operation it covers is simple or complex, routine decide the most appropriate form for the safe system;
or unusual, the essential features are forethought and that is:
planning – to ensure that all foreseeable hazards are
ää Is a written procedure required?
identified and controlled. In particular, this will involve
ää Should the operation only be carried out under a
scrutiny of:
ää Is an informal system sufficient?
ää the sequence of operations to be carried out;
ää the equipment, plant, machinery and tools involved;
ää chemicals and other substances to which people Factors to be considered
might be exposed in the course of the work; It is recognized that each organization must have the
ää the people doing the work – their skill and freedom to devise systems that match the risk potential
experi­ence; of their operations and which are practicable in their

Principles of control

s­ ituation. However, they should take account of the fol- Management is responsible to ensure that employees
lowing factors in making their decision: are adequately trained in a specific safe system of work and
are competent to carry out the work safely. Managers need
ää types of risk involved in the operation; to provide sufficient supervision to ensure that the system
ää magnitude of the risk, including consideration of the of work is followed and the work is carried out safely. The
worst foreseeable loss; level of supervision will depend on the ­experience of the
ää complexity of the operation; particular employees concerned and the complexity and
ää past accident and loss experience; risks of the task.
ää requirements and recommendations of the relevant When construction work is involved, principal or main
health and safety authorities; contractors will need to monitor sub-contractors to check
ää the type of documentation needed; that they are providing suitable safe systems of work, have
ää resources required to implement the safe system of trained their employees and are carrying out the tasks in
work (including training and monitoring). accordance with the safe systems.

Role of employees/consultation
   6.6      Development of safe systems Many people actually operating a piece of machinery or a
manufacturing process are in the best position to help with the
Role of competent person preparation of safe systems of work. Consultation with those
A competent person or safety adviser may be required to employees who will be exposed to the risks, either directly or
be appointed under national legislation. Article 13 of ILO- through their representatives, is also a legal requirement. The
R164 requires that: importance of discussing the proposed system with those
who will have to work under it, and those who will have to
supervise its operation, cannot be emphasized enough.
As necessary in regard to the activities Employees have a responsibility to follow the safe sys-
of the undertaking and practicable in tem of work.
regard to size, provision should be made
for: Analysis
(a)  the availability of an occupational The safe system of work should be based on a thorough
health service and a safety service, analysis of the job or operation to be covered by the sys-
within the undertaking, jointly tem. The way this analysis is done will depend on the
with other undertakings, or under nature of the job/operation.
arrangements with an outside body; If the operation being considered is a new one involv-
(b)  recourse to specialists to advise on ing high loss potential, the use of formal hazard analysis
particular occupational safety or techniques such as hazard and operability (HAZOP) study,
health problems or supervise the fault tree analysis (FTA) or failure modes and effects analy-
application of measures to meet sis should be considered.
them. However, where the potential for loss is lower, a more
simple approach, such as job safety analysis (JSA), will be
sufficient. This will involve three key stages:
ää identification of the key steps in the job/operation –
Appointed competent persons should assist manag-
what activities will the work involve?
ers to draw up guidelines for safe systems of work. This
ää analysis and assessment of the risks associated with
will include, where necessary, particularly in construction
each stage – what could go wrong?
work, method statements. The competent person should
ää definition of the precautions or controls to be taken –
prepare suitable forms and should advise management on
what steps need to be taken to ensure the operation
the adequacy of the safe systems produced.
proceeds without danger, either to the people doing
the work, or to anyone else?
Role of managers
Primarily management is responsible for providing safe The results of this analysis are then used to draw up
systems of work, as they will know the detailed way in the safe operating procedure or method statement. (See
which the task should be carried out. Appendix 6.1 for a suitable form.)

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Introducing controls
There are a variety of controls that can be adopted in safe
systems of work. They can be split into the following three
basic categories:

(i) T echnical – these are engineering or process type con-

trols which engineer out or contain the hazard so that
the risks are acceptable. For example exhaust ventila-
tion, a machine guard, dust respirator or locking off a
valve (see Figure 6.17).
(ii) Procedural – these are ways of doing things to ensure
that the work is done according to the procedure,
legislation or cultural requirements of the organiza-
tion. For example a supervisor must be involved, the
induction course must be taken before the work com-
mences, a particular type of form or a person’s signa-
ture must be obtained before proceeding; the names
of the workforce must be recorded.
(iii) Behavioural – these are controls which require a cer-
tain standard of behaviour from individuals or groups
of individuals. For example, no smoking is permitted
during the task, hard hats must be worn, all lifts are to
be in tandem between two workers.

6.6.1  Preparation of safe systems

A checklist for use in the preparation of safe systems of
work is set out as follows:

ää What is the work to be done?

ää What are the potential hazards?
ää Is the work covered by any existing instructions or
procedures? If so, to what extent (if any) do these Figure 6.17  (a) Example of a multi padlocked hasp for locking
need to be modified? off an electrical switch gear (b) Multi-padlocked hasp for lock-
ää Who is to do the work? ing off an isolation valve.
ää What are their skills and abilities – is any special train-
ing needed? ää Have other departments been informed about the
ää Under whose control and supervision will the work be work to be done, where appropriate?
done? ää How will the people doing the work communicate
ää Will any special tools, protective clothing or equip- with each other?
ment (e.g. breathing apparatus) be needed? Are they ää Have possible emergencies and the action to be taken
ready and available for use? been considered?
ää Are the people who are to do the work adequately ää Should the emergency services be notified?
trained to use the above? ää What are the arrangements for handover of the plant/
ää What isolations and locking-off will be needed for the equipment at the end of the work? (For maintenance/
work to be done safely? project work, etc.)
ää Is a permit-to-work required for any aspect of the ää Do the planned precautions take account of all fore-
work? seeable hazards?
ää Will the work interfere with other activities? Will other ää Who needs to be informed about or receive copies of
activities create a hazard to the people doing the work? the safe system of work?

Principles of control

ää What arrangements will there be to see that the ll a ny monitoring (e.g. air testing) which is to be
agreed system is followed and that it works in done during the work, or before it starts;
practice? ll how to use any necessary PPE;
ää What mechanism is there to ensure that the safe sys- ll emergency procedures.
tem of work stays relevant and up-to-date?
6.6.4  Monitoring safe systems
6.6.2  Documentation Safe systems of work should be monitored to ensure that
Safe systems of work should be properly documented. they are effective in practice. This will involve:
Wherever possible, they should be incorporated into
ää reviewing and revising the systems themselves, to
normal process operating procedures. This is so that:
ensure they stay up-to-date;
ää health and safety are seen as an integral part of, and ää inspecting to identify how fully they are being
not add-on to, normal production procedures; implemented.
ää the need for operators and supervisors to refer to sep-
In practice, these two things go together, as it is
arate manuals is minimized.
likely that a system that is out of date will not be fully
Whatever method is used, all written systems of implemented by the people who are intended to oper-
work should be signed by the relevant managers to ate it.
indicate approval or authorization. Version numbers All organizations are responsible for ensuring that
should be included so that it can quickly be verified their safe systems of work are reviewed and revised as
that the most up-to-date version is in use. Records appropriate. Monitoring of implementation is part of all
should be kept of copies of the documentation, so that line managers’ normal operating responsibilities, and
all sets are amended when updates and other revisions should also take place during health and safety audits.
are issued.
As far as possible, systems should be written in a non-
technical style and should specifically be designed to be
as intelligible and user-friendly as possible. It may be nec-    6.7      Lone workers and working
essary to produce simple summary sheets which contain abroad
all the key points in an easy-to-read format.
6.7.1  Lone working
6.6.3  Communication and training People who work by themselves without close or direct
People doing work or supervising work must be made supervision are found in many work situations. In some
fully aware of the laid-down safe systems that apply. The cases they are the sole occupant of small workshops or
preparation of safe systems will often identify a training warehouses; they may work in remote sections of a large
need that must be met before the system can be imple- site; they may work out of normal hours, like cleaners or
mented effectively. security personnel; they may be working away from their
In addition, people should receive training in how the main base as installers, or maintenance people; they could
system is to operate. This applies not only to those directly be people giving a service, like domiciliary care workers,
involved in doing the work but also to supervisors/manag- drivers and estate agents.
ers who are to oversee it. There is generally no legal reason why people should
In particular, the training might include: not work alone. However, there may be special risks which
require two or more people to be present, for example,
ää why a safe system is needed;
during entry into a confined space in order to effect a res-
ää what is involved in the work;
cue. It is important to ensure that a lone worker is not put
ää the hazards which have been identified;
at any higher risk than other workers. This is achieved by
ää the precautions which have been decided and, in
carrying out a specific risk assessment and introducing
special protection arrangements for their safety. People
ll t he isolations and locking-off required, and how particularly at risk, like young people or women, should
this is to be done; also be considered. People’s overall health and suitability
ll details of the permit-to-work system, if applicable; to work alone should be taken into account.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Procedures may include: of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or

ää periodic visits from the supervisor to observe what is money belt worn under your clothing.
happening; If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them
ää regular voice contact between the lone worker and and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.
the supervisor; To avoid problems when passing through cus-
ää automatic warning devices to alert others if a specific toms, keep medicines in their original, labelled
signal is not received from the lone worker; containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and
ää other devices to raise the alarm, which are activated the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is
by the absence of some specific action; unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your
ää checks that the lone worker has returned safely home doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you
or to their base; have any doubt about the legality of carrying a cer-
ää special arrangements for first-aid to deal with minor tain drug into a country, consult the embassy or con-
injuries – this may include mobile first-aid kits; sulate of that country before you travel.
ää arrangements for emergencies – these should be Bring one or two major credit cards (keep them
established and employees trained. separate), and traveller’s cheques if they are still
accepted at your destination. Only have enough cash
for immediate needs.
6.7.2  Working abroad Pack an extra set of passport photos along with
a photocopy of your passport’s information page
Introduction to make replacement of your passport easier in the
Staff may travel and work abroad in the course of the organi- event it is lost or stolen.
zation’s business. Most of this work is no more risky than the Put your name, and organization’s address and
equivalent activity in their home country and takes place in telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece
countries that are considered safe for travellers. Increasingly of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual
though, work takes place in countries or parts of countries observation of your identity or nationality. If possible,
where the relevant government office advises against travel. lock your luggage.
The notes in the following box outline the steps
needed for safe management of these activities. It
applies to work carried out by staff (working alone or
with colleagues). Risks involved in overseas work
Risks to health and safety that arise from overseas work
General Safety Advice can be
1. w ork-related (e.g. physical risks from the fieldwork
Safety begins when you pack. To help avoid becom- itself;
ing a target, do not dress so as to mark yourself as 2. health related (e.g. exposure to tropical diseases);
an affluent tourist. Expensive-looking jewellery, for 3. related to personal security (e.g. associated with local
instance, can draw the wrong attention. criminal or political activity, or civil unrest).
Always try to travel light. You can move more
quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. These notes concentrate on (3) as the health and safety
You will also be less tired and less likely to set your aspects of the work itself are covered throughout this book.
luggage down, leaving it unattended.
Carry the minimum number of valuables, and Risk assessment
plan places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and Risk assessments must be made for all work abroad. This
credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel need not necessarily be onerous – the nature and complex-
safe. When you have to carry them on your person, ity of the assessment should reflect the risks involved in the
you may wish to put them in various places rather work. In many cases the work itself is not hazardous but it
than all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags and takes place in hazardous surroundings. In these cases the risk
outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. assessment should concentrate on the travel-associated risks.
Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the For instance, no written risk assessment would be needed for
strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One low risk activities such as attending conferences or visiting
colleagues in Australia or the European Union, but similar
activities in more dangerous locations would require one.

Principles of control

Travel advice To be effective, the permit system requires the train-

Many national foreign office departments or consulates ing needs of those involved to be identified and met, and
will have information about safe travel. The UK’s Foreign that monitoring procedures ensure that the system is
and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a website (www.fco. operating as intended.
gov.uk/travel) which carries up-to-date travel advice for
over 200 countries. It could be used as the basis for inform-
6.8.2  Permit-to-work procedures
ing all those travelling on business or leisure of the risks
that they might face. Although the advice pertains to the The permit-to-work procedure is a specialized type of safe
safety of British travellers, it is relevant to other nationali- system of work under which certain categories of high
ties as British insurance companies use it to determine the risk–potential work may only be done with the specific
extent or validity of insurance cover. permission of an authorized manager. This permission
(in the form of the permit-to-work) will be given only if
Health matters the laid-down precautions are in force and have been
Staff travelling on business should take advice on the checked.
potential health risk associated with travel. This should The permit document will typically specify:
be sought in good time so that any recommended
ää what work is to be done;
immunisations can be given and/or prophylactic drugs
ää the plant/equipment involved, and how it is identified;
ää who is authorized to do the work;
Appendix 6.4 has some useful safe travel
ää the steps which have already been taken to make the
plant safe;
ää potential hazards which remain, or which may arise as
the work proceeds;
   6.8      Permits-to work ää the precautions to be taken against these hazards;
ää for how long the permit is valid;
6.8.1  Introduction
ää that the equipment is released to those who are to
carry out the work.
Safe systems of work are crucial in work such as the
maintenance of chemical plant where the potential risks In accepting the permit, the person in charge of doing
are high and the careful coordination of activities and the authorized work normally undertakes to take/main-
precautions is essential to safe working. In this situa- tain whatever precautions are outlined in the permit. The
tion and others of similar risk potential, the safe system permit will also include spaces for:
of work is likely to take the form of a permit-to-work
ää signature certifying that the work is complete;
ää signature confirming re-acceptance of the plant/
The permit-to-work procedure is a specialized type
of safe system of work for ensuring that potentially very
dangerous work (e.g. entry into process plant and other See Figure 6.18 and Appendix 6.3.
confined spaces) is done safely.
Although this procedure has been developed and
refined by the chemical industry, the principles of the
6.8.3  Principles
­permit-to-work procedure are equally applicable to the Permit systems must adhere to the following eight
management of complex risks in other industries. principles:
The fundamental principle is that certain defined
operations are prohibited without the specific permis- 1. W herever possible, and especially with routine jobs,
sion of a responsible manager, this permission only being hazards should be eliminated so that the work can be
granted once stringent checks have been made to ensure done safely without requiring a permit-to-work.
that all necessary precautions have been taken and that it 2. Although the Site Manager may delegate the respon-
is safe for work to go ahead. sibility for the operation of the permit system, the
The people doing the work take on responsibility for overall responsibility for ensuring safe operation rests
following and maintaining the safeguards set out in the with him/her.
permit, which will define the work to be done (no other 3. The permit must be recognized as the master instruc-
work being permitted) and the timescale in which it must tion which, until it is cancelled, overrides all other
be carried out. instructions.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Associated Permits (specify type, if none state N/A) On the Job Copy Best Practice Company Ltd
Type: Prefix & Number:
Type: Prefix & Number:
Type: Prefix & Number: GENERAL WORK PERMIT Number GWP 0000
Permit Receiver/Competent Person in charge of work: Location of work/Equipment to be worked on:

Names of persons detailed to carry out work: Details of work to be done:

Risk Assessment attached? Safety Method Statement or Safe System of Work attached?
Yes No Reference: Yes No N/A Reference:
Section 2 ISOLATION of electrical or mechanical plant, liquid or gas pipeline or other energy source – give details
Item: Lock location & reference: Isolated by: Print name

Attached Isolation Sheet. Yes No Reference: Location of Keys:

Section 3 PREPARATIONS/PRECAUTIONS Tick box Section 3 Continued
Yes No N/A 8. Other Precautions/Control Measures required (specify)
1. Has every source of energy been isolated?
2. Have all isolations been tagged?
3. Have all isolations been tested?
4a. Does the standard of pipeline isolation
meet minimum Corporate standards?

4b. If not, specify additional precautions

Site Standard Other (specify):
5. Are vessels/pipes free of toxic/flammable, Safety Goggles
gas, dangerous sludge & depressurized?
Hearing protection
6. Are asbestos containing materials present? Respiratory protection
7. Are the risk assessment control measures Specify type:


from hrs on / / to hrs on / /
Operational Period Max 24 hours Non-Operational Period Max 28 days See overleaf for details of time extensions allowed.
Section 6 Authorization Permit Issuer/Authorized Person Section 7 RECEIPT Permit Receiver/Competent Person in charge of work
I certify that it is safe to work in the area/on the equipment detailed in Section1 I have read, understood and accept the requirements of this permit.
above and that all safety measures detailed in Sections 2–4 have I will ensure that everyone working under my supervision will strictly follow the
been carried out/complied with. ALL OTHER PARTS ARE DANGEROUS requirements of this permit. I have checked the isolations.

Print Name: Date: Time: Print Name: Date: Time:

Signed: Signed:
Section 8 SUSPENSION OF GENERAL WORK PERMIT This is an exception and must be signed on the front of the 'on the job' copy.
I certify that the task for which this Permit was issued has now been suspended. We have agreed and implemented a procedure which complies
with the criteria noted in the checklist in Section 13 overleaf.
Signed Permit Receiver/Competent Person in charge of work Signed Authorized Person

Date: Time: Date: Time:

The plant has been re-isolated and the original permit conditions apply
Signed Permit Receiver/Competent Person in charge of work Signed Authorized Person

Date: Time: Date: Time:

Section 9 CLEARANCE Permit Receiver/Competent Person in charge of work Section 10 CANCELLATION Permit Issuer/Authorized Person
I certify that the work for which the permit was issued is now COMPLETED and This permit-to-work is hereby CANCELLED, all plant is restored to safe operating
that all persons at risk have been WITHDRAWN and WARNED that it is conditions, including the replacement of guards.
NO LONGER SAFE to work on the plant specified on this permit and that
Print Name: Date: Time: Print Name: Date: Time:
Signed: Signed:
GWPFrOTJCDraft7 20/12/2008

Figure 6.18  Example of a general Work Permit.

Principles of control

4. T he permit applies to everyone on site, including Confined space permit

­contractors. Confined spaces include chambers, tanks (sealed and
5. Information given in a permit must be detailed and open-top), vessels, furnaces, ducts, sewers, manholes, pits,
accurate. It must state: flues, excavations, boilers, reactors and ovens.
(a) which plant/equipment has been made safe and Many fatal accidents have occurred where inadequate
the steps by which this has been achieved; precautions were taken before and during work involving
(b) what work may be done; entry into confined spaces (Figure 6.19). The two main haz-
(c) the time at which the permit comes into ards are:
ää the potential presence of toxic or other dangerous
6. The permit remains in force until the work has been
substances; and
completed and the permit is cancelled by the person
ää the absence of adequate oxygen.
who issued it or by the person nominated by manage-
ment to take over the responsibility (e.g. at the end of In addition, there may be:
a shift or during absence).
ää mechanical hazards (entanglement on agitators);
7. No work other than that specified is authorized. If it is
ää ingress of fluids;
found that the planned work has to be changed, the
ää risk of engulfment in a free flowing solid like grain or
existing permit should be cancelled and a new one
sugar; and
ää raised temperatures.
8. Responsibility for the plant must be clearly defined at
all stages.

The nature of permit-to-work procedures will vary in

their scope depending on the job and the risks involved.
However, a permit-to-work system is unlikely to be needed
where, for example:
(a) t he assessed risks are low and can be controlled easily;
(b) the system of work is very simple;
(c) other work being done nearby cannot affect the work
concerned in say a confined space entry, or a welding
However, where there are high risks and the system
of work is complex and other operations may interfere, a
formal permit-to-work should be used.
The main types of permit and the work covered by
each are identified below. Appendix 6.2 illustrates the
essential elements of a permit-to-work form with support- Figure 6.19  Entering a confined space.
ing notes on its operation.
The work to be carried out may itself be especially
General permit hazardous when done in a confined space, for example
The general permit (Figure 6.18) should be used for work cleaning using solvents, cutting/welding work. Should the
such as: person working in a confined space get into difficulties for
whatever reason, getting help in, and getting the individ-
ää alterations to or overhaul of plant or machinery where ual out, may prove difficult and dangerous.
mechanical, toxic or electrical hazards may arise; Stringent preparation, isolation, air testing and other
ää work on or near overhead crane tracks; precautions are therefore essential and experience shows
ää work on pipelines with hazardous contents; that the use of a confined space entry permit is essential
ää repairs to railway tracks, tippers, conveyors; to confirm that all the appropriate precautions have been
ää work with asbestos-based materials; taken.
ää work involving ionizing radiation; There may be specific national regulations for entry
ää roof work; into confined spaces which detail the controls that are
ää excavations to avoid underground services. necessary when people enter confined spaces.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Work on high-voltage apparatus (including

Work on high-voltage apparatus (over about 600 V) is
potentially high risk. Hazards include:
ää possibly fatal electric shock/burns to the people
doing the work;
ää electrical fires/explosions;
ää consequential danger from disruption of power sup-
ply to safety-critical plant and equipment.
In view of the risk, this work must only be done by
suitably trained and competent people acting under the
terms of a high-voltage permit.

Hot work
Hot work is potentially hazardous as:

ää a source of ignition in any plant in which highly flam-

mable materials are handled;
ää a cause of fires in all processes, regardless of whether
highly flammable materials are present.

Hot work includes cutting, welding, brazing, solder-

ing and any process involving the application of a naked Figure 6.20  A hot work permit is usually essential except in
flame. Drilling and grinding should also be included designated areas.
where a flammable atmosphere is potentially present
­(Figure 6.20).
Hot work should therefore be done under the terms ää defines the work on the site which requires a permit;
of a hot work permit, the only exception being where hot ää ensures that people responsible for this work are
work is done in a designated maintenance area suitable aware that it must only be done under the terms of a
for the purpose. valid permit;
ää appoints all necessary authorized persons;
ää appoints a deputy to act in his/her absence.
6.8.4  Responsibilities
The effective operation of the permit system requires
Authorized persons:
the involvement of many people. The following specific
responsibilities can be identified. (Note: all appointments, ää issue permits to competent persons and retain copies;
definitions of work requiring a permit, etc., must be in writ- ää personally inspect the site to ensure that the condi-
ing. All the categories of people identified below should tions and proposed precautions are adequate and
receive training in the operation of the permit system as that it is safe for the work to proceed;
it affects them.) ää accompany the competent person to the site to ensure
that the plant/equipment is correctly identified and
Site manager: that the competent person understands the permit;
ää cancel the permit on satisfactory completion of the
ää has overall responsibility for the operation and man-
agement of the permit system;
ää appoints a senior manager (normally the Chief Engi-
neer) to act as a senior authorized person. Competent persons:
ää receive permits from authorized persons;
ää read the permit and make sure they fully understand
Senior authorized person:
the work to be done and the precautions to be taken;
ää is responsible to the Site Manager for the operation of ää signify their acceptance of the permit by signing both
the permit system; copies;

Principles of control

ää comply with the permit and make sure those under

their supervision similarly understand and implement
the required precautions;
ää on completion of the work, return the permit to the
authorized person who issued it;.

ää read the permit and comply with its requirements,
under the supervision of the competent person.
A number of permits require the advice/skills of
s­ pecialists in order to operate effectively. Such specialists
may include chemists, electrical engineers, health and
safety advisers and fire officers. Their role may involve:
ää isolations within his/her discipline – for example elec- Figure 6.21  Emergency services at work.
trical work;
should be established and set in motion when necessary
ää using suitable techniques and equipment to moni-
to deal with serious and imminent danger to persons at
tor the working environment for toxic or flammable
work. Necessary links should be maintained with local
materials, or for lack of oxygen;
authorities, particularly with regard to first-aid, emergency
ää giving advice to managers on safe methods of working.
medical care and rescue work (Figure 6.21).
Specialists must not assume responsibility for the per- Under the ILO Ambient Factors Code of Practice emer-
mit system. This lies with the Site Manager and the senior gency prevention, preparedness and response arrange-
authorized person. ments should be established and maintained. These
arrangements should identify the potential for accidents
Engineers (and others responsible for work and emergency situations, and address the prevention of
covered by permits): occupational health and safety risks associated with them.
The arrangements should be made according to the size
ää ensure that permits are raised as required.
and nature of activity of the organization. They should:
(a) e nsure that the necessary information, internal com-
The permit system should be applied to contractors in
munication and coordination are provided to protect
the same way as to direct employees. The contractor must
all people in the event of an emergency at the worksite;
be given adequate information and training on the permit
(b) provide information to, and communication with, the
system, the restrictions it imposes and the precautions it
relevant competent authorities, and the neighbour-
hood and emergency response services;
(c) address first-aid and medical assistance, firefighting
and evacuation of all people at the worksite; and
(d) provide relevant information and training to all mem-
   6.9      Emergency planning procedures bers of the organization, at all levels, including regular
exercises in emergency prevention, preparedness and
6.9.1  Introduction response procedures.
Most of this chapter is about the principles of control to Emergency prevention, preparedness and response
prevent accidents and ill-health. Emergency procedures, arrangements should be established in co-operation with
however, are about control procedures and equipment external emergency services and other bodies where
to limit the damage to people and property caused by applicable.
an incident. Local fire and rescue authorities will often Although fire is the most common emergency likely to
be involved and are normally prepared to give advice to be faced, there are many other possibilities, which should
employers. be considered including:
Under ILO-R164 Article 3(q) there is a requirement
to establish emergency plans. This requirement is also ää gas explosion;
reflected in many national OSH legislation. Procedures ää electrical burn or electrocution;

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

ää escape of toxic gases or fumes; the organization has a well-defined policy to call the emer-
ää discovery of dangerous dusts like asbestos in the gency services in good time, so that individuals are not
atmosphere; personally penalized for calling the services.
ää terrorist threat; Many countries’ public telephone networks have a
ää large vehicle crashing into the premises; single emergency telephone number, sometimes known
ää aircraft crash if near a flight path; as the universal emergency telephone number or occa-
ää spread of highly infectious disease; sionally the emergency services number, that allows a
ää severe weather with high winds and flooding. caller to contact local emergency services for assistance.
The emergency telephone number may differ from coun-
For fire emergencies, see Chapter 13.
try to country. It is typically a three-digit number so that
it can be easily remembered and dialled quickly. Some
countries have a different emergency number for each of
6.9.2  Supervisory duties
the different emergency services; these often differ only
A member of the site staff should be nominated to super- by the last digit.
vise and co-ordinate all emergency arrangements. This An emergency telephone number call may be
person should be in a senior position or at least have direct answered by either a telephone operator or an emergency
access to a senior manager. Senior members of the staff service dispatcher. The nature of the emergency (police,
should be appointed as departmental fire/emergency fire, medical) is then determined. If the call has been
procedure wardens, with deputies for every occasion of answered by a telephone operator, they then connect the
absence, however brief. They should ensure that the fol- call to the appropriate emergency service, who then dis-
lowing precautions are taken: patch the appropriate help. In the case of multiple services
being needed on a call, the most urgent need must be
ää everyone on site can be alerted to an emergency;
determined, with other services being called in as needed.
ää everyone on site knows what signal will be given for
Emergency dispatchers are trained to control the call in
an emergency and knows what to do;
order to provide help in an appropriate manner. The emer-
ää someone who has been trained in what to do is on
gency dispatcher may find it necessary to give urgent advice
site and ready to co-ordinate activities;
in life-threatening situations. Some dispatchers have special
ää emergency routes are kept clear, signed and ade-
training in telling people how to perform first-aid or CPR.
quately lit;
The emergency dispatcher will need the following
ää there are arrangements for calling the fire and rescue ser-
vices and to give them special information about high-
risk work, for example, in tunnels or confined spaces; ää The caller’s telephone number.
ää there is adequate access to the site for the emergency ää The exact location of the incident, e.g. the road name
services and this is always kept clear; and any important details about approaching and
ää suitable arrangements for treating and recovering accessing the site.
injured people are set up; ää The type and seriousness of the incident, i.e. major
ää someone is posted to the site entrance to receive and fire, robbery taking place.
direct the emergency services. ää Details of any hazards, e.g. gas leak or fire.
In many parts of the world, an emergency service can
identify the telephone number that a call has been placed
6.9.3  Calling Emergency Services
from. This is normally done using the system that the tele-
Emergency services should be called as soon as possible phone company uses to bill calls, making the number vis-
after the start of an emergency. The system for calling ible even for users who have unlisted numbers or who
out the services will vary between countries. The follow- block caller ID. For an individual fixed landline ­telephone,
ing information and Appendix 6.5 gives information on a the caller’s number can often be associated with the call-
number of countries worldwide. Many emergency services er’s address and therefore their location. However, with
prefer to be called early as this gives them the best chance mobile phones and business telephones, the address may
to contain the emergency and save lives. Within Europe be a mailing address rather than the caller’s location. The
such services are generally provided at tax payers’ cost and latest ‘enhanced’ systems, such as Enhanced 911 in the
there is no direct charge at the point of use. This encour- USA, are able to provide the physical location of mobile
ages people to use the services. This may not be the case telephones. This is often specifically mandated in a coun-
in all countries, and it is then even more important that try’s legislation.

Principles of control

Europe attention and that an ambulance is called in serious cases.

The most common European emergency number 112 First-aid at work (FAW) covers the arrangements that
(following Directive 2002/22/EC - Universal Service Direc- employers must make to ensure this happens. It can save
tive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones.
used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, ILO-R164 requires the employer to provide first-aid
Czech ­Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, treatment. The UK’s guide on the provision of first-aid at
­Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, work L74 is used as the basis for the guidance given here.
­Latvia, ­Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, ­Republic Employers should provide adequate and appropriate
of ­Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first-aid to be
­Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work.
­Sweden, ­Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in What is adequate and appropriate will depend on the
addition to their other emergency numbers circumstances in a particular workplace.
If people struggle with the language, or are just not The recommended minimum first-aid provision on
confident of getting their message across in an emer- any work site is:
gency situation, then the pan-European Union number
ää a suitably stocked first-aid box;
112 is worth keeping to hand.
ää an appointed person to take charge of first-aid
The number allows people to speak to the emergency
services in all member states of the EU, although some
people claim almost a third of callers get a poor response, It is also important to remember that accidents can
or none at all. happen at any time. First-aid provision needs to be avail-
Anyone can call the single European emergency call able at all times people are at work.
number 112 from all telephones, mobile and fixed line, Many small firms will only need to make the minimum
even if they have no money, calling credit card or even a first-aid provision. However, there are factors which might
SIM card. make greater provision necessary. The following checklist
See Appendix 6.5 for emergency numbers in many covers the points that should be considered.
countries worldwide, including those covered in Chapter 17.
6.10.2  First-aid provision check list
6.9.4  Assembly and roll call
The risk assessments should show whether there are any
Assembly points should be established for use in the specific risks in the workplace requiring particular first-aid
event of evacuation. They should be at a position, pref- provision. The following should be considered:
erably undercover, that is unlikely to be affected at the
time of emergency. In some cases, it may be necessary to ää Are there hazardous substances, dangerous tools and
make mutual arrangements with the client or occupiers of equipment; dangerous manual handling tasks, electri-
nearby premises. cal shock risks, dangers from neighbours or animals?
In the case of small sites, a complete list of the names ää Are there different levels of risk in parts of the prem-
of all staff should be maintained so that a roll call can be ises or site?
made if evacuation becomes necessary. ää What is the accident and ill-health record, and type
In those premises where the number of staff would and location of incidents?
make a single roll call difficult, each area warden should ää What is the total number of persons likely to be on site?
maintain a list of the names of employees and contractors ää Are there young people, pregnant or nursing mothers
in their area. Roll call lists must be updated regularly. on site, employees with disabilities or special health
ää Are the facilities widely dispersed with several build-
ings or compact in a multi-storey building?
   6.10      First-aid at fwork ää What is the pattern of working hours? Does it involve
night work?
6.10.1  Introduction ää Is the site remote from emergency medical services?
ää Do employees travel a lot or work alone?
People at work can suffer injuries or fall ill. It does not mat- ää Do any employees work at sites occupied by other
ter whether the injury or the illness is caused by the work employers?
they do. What is important is that they receive ­immediate ää Are members of the public regularly on site?

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Table 6.2  Typical Contents of first-aid box – low


Stock for up to 50 persons:

A leaflet giving general guidance on first-aid, for

example HSE leaflet Basic advice on first-aid at work.

Medical adhesive plaster 40

Figure 6.22  (a) First-aid and stretcher sign (b) First-aid sign.
Sterile eye pads 4

6.10.3  Impact on first-aid provision if risks are Individually wrapped triangular bandages 6
Safety pins 6
Qualified first aiders may need to be appointed if risks are
This will involve a number of factors which must be Individually wrapped: medium sterile 8
considered, including: unmedicated wound dressings

ää training for first aiders; Individually wrapped: large sterile 4

ää additional first-aid equipment and the contents of the unmedicated wound dressings
first-aid box;
ää siting of first-aid equipment to meet the various Individually wrapped wipes 10
demands in the premises; for example provision of
equipment in each building or on several floors;
Paramedic shears 1
ää the need for first-aid provision at all times during
working hours;
ää informing local medical services of the site and its risks; Pairs of latex gloves 2
ää any special arrangements that may be needed with
the local emergency services. Sterile eyewash if no clean running water 2

Any first-aid room provided must be easily accessible

to stretchers and to other equipment needed to convey Tablets or medicines should not be kept in the
patients to and from the room. They must be sign posted first-aid box. Table 6.2 shows a suggested contents list
according to International standard ISO 7010 (Figure 6.22). only; equivalent but different items will be considered
If employees travel away from the site, the employer acceptable.
needs to consider:
ää issuing personal first-aid kits and providing training;
ää issuing mobile phones to employees;
6.10.5  Appointed persons
An appointed person is someone who is appointed by
ää making arrangements with employers on other sites.
management to:
Although there may be no legal responsibilities for
ää take charge when someone is injured or falls ill. This
non-employees, it is strongly recommended that they are
includes calling an ambulance if required;
included in any first-aid provision.
ää look after the first-aid equipment, for example keep-
ing the first-aid box replenished;
6.10.4  Contents of the first-aid box ää keep records of treatment given.
There is no standard list of items to put in a first-aid box. Appointed persons should never attempt to give
It depends on what the employer assesses the needs to first-aid for which they are not competent. Short emer-
be. Where there is no special risk in the workplace, a mini- gency first-aid training courses are often available locally.
mum recommended stock of first-aid items is listed (see Remember that an appointed person should be available
Table 6.2). at all times when people are at work on site – this may

Principles of control

mean appointing more than one. The training should be particular organization or work site. Table 6.3 offers sug-
repeated about every three years to keep up-to-date. gestions on how many first aiders or appointed persons
might be needed in relation to categories of risk and
­number of employees. The details in the table are sugges-
6.10.6  A first aider tions only; they are not definitive.
A first aider is someone who has undergone a recognized Employees should be informed of the first-aid arrange-
training course with for example the Red Cross/Red Cres- ments. Putting up notices telling staff who and where the
cent Society, in administering first-aid at work and holds first aiders or appointed persons are and where the first-aid
a current certificate. Many countries will have local lists of box is will usually be enough. Special arrangements will be
training organizations. The training should be repeated needed for employees with reading or language difficulties.
every three years to maintain a valid certificate and keep To ensure cover at all times when people are at
the first aider up-to-date. work and where there are special circumstances, such as
It is not possible to give hard and fast rules on when remoteness from emergency medical services, shift work
or how many first aiders or appointed persons might be or sites with several separate buildings, there may need to
needed. This will depend on the circumstances of each be more first-aid personnel than set out in Table 6.3.

Table 6.3  Number of first-aid personnel

Category of risk Numbers employed at any Suggested number of first-aid

location personnel

Lower risk

For example shops and offices, Fewer than 50 At least one appointed person

50–100 At least one first aider

More than 100 One additional first aider for every
100 employees

Medium risk

For example light engineering and Fewer than 20 At least one appointed person
assembly work, food processing,

20–100 At least one first aider for every 50

More than 100 employed (or part thereof )
One additional first aider for every
100 employees

Higher risk

For example most construction, Fewer than 5 At least one appointed person
slaughterhouses, chemical
manufacture, extensive work with
dangerous machinery or sharp

5–50 At least one first aider

More than 50 One additional first aider for every
50 employees

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

  8. In relation to a safe system of work, outline the factors

    6.11      Sources of reference that might influence the choice of risk control mea-
First-Aid at Work (ACOP) (L74), HSE Books ISBN 978 0 7176
1050 1   9. Outline the reasons why employees might fail to
Safe Work in Confined Spaces (ACOP) (L101), HSE Books comply with safety procedures at work.
ISBN 978 0 7176 1405 9
Permit-to-Work Systems (INDG98), HSE Books ISBN 0-7176- 10. An organization is introducing a new work activity
1331-3 that requires a safe system of work. Explain:
Safety in the Global Village, IOSH Information Sheet, 1999 (i) Why it is important to involve workers in the
http://www.iosh.co.uk/index.cfm?go=technical.guidance development of a safe system of work;
(ii) Why it is important for safe systems of work to
have written procedures.
    6.12      Practice NEBOSH Questions for
11. Due to an increase in knife related accidents among
Chapter 6 hotel kitchen staff who use the sharp tools in the
preparation of food for the restaurant, a safe system of
  1. With respect to the management of risk within the work is to be developed to minimize the risk of injury
workplace: to this group of employees.
(i) Explain the meaning of the term ‘hierarchy of (i) Describe the issues to be addressed when devel-
control’. oping the safe system of work for the hotel kitchen
(ii) Outline, with examples, the standard hierarchy staff who use the knives as part of their work.
that should be applied with respect to controlling (ii) Outline the ways in which the employer could
health and safety risks in the workplace. motivate the hotel kitchen staff to follow the safe
system of work.
  2. Outline the possible effects on health and safety of
poor standards of housekeeping in the workplace. 12. (i) Define the term ‘permit-to-work system’.
(ii) Outline THREE types of work situation that may
  3. Identify the shape and colour, AND give a relevant require a permit-to-work system, giving reasons
example, of EACH of the following types of safety in EACH case for the requirement.
sign: (iii) Outline the specific details that should be
(i) prohibition included in a permit-to-work for entry into a con-
(ii) warning fined space.
(iii) mandatory
(iv) emergency escape or first-aid. 13. (i) Identify TWO specific work activities for which a
permit-to-work system might be needed.
  4. Explain why personal protective equipment (PPE) (ii) Outline the key elements of a permit-to-work
should be considered as a last resort in the control of system.
occupational health hazards.
14. Outline the issues to be addressed in a training ses-
  5. (i) Explain the meaning of the term ‘safe system of sion on the operation of a permit-to-work system.
(ii) Describe the enforcement action that could 15. (i) Give the meaning of ‘confined space’, giving TWO
be taken by an enforcing authority when a safe workplace examples.
­system of work has not been implemented. (ii) Outline specific hazards associated with working
in confined spaces.
  6. Outline the factors that should be considered when (iii) Identify FOUR ‘specified risks’ that may arise from
developing a safe system of work. work in a confined space.

  7. Identify EIGHT sources of information that might 16. Outline the precautions that should be taken in order
usefully be consulted when developing a safe system to ensure the safety of employees undertaking main-
of work. tenance work in an underground storage vessel.

Principles of control

17. Outline the factors that should be considered when 20. A car maintenance workshop located adjacent to a
preparing a procedure to deal with a workplace emer- river was flooded. Repairs were needed to structural
gency. steelwork, garage pits and basements, electrical
equipment and flammable stores.
18. (i) Identify FOUR types of emergency procedure (i) Identify FOUR emergencies that may occur dur-
that an organization might need to have in place. ing the repairs.
(ii) Explain why visitors to a workplace should be (ii) Outline why emergency procedures are needed.
informed of the emergency procedures. (iii) Identify FOUR types of permit that may be required
to undertake the repairs AND outline a relevant
19. (i) Identify THREE types of emergency in the work- task that requires EACH of the specified permits.
place for which employees may need to be evac-
uated. 21. (i) I dentify the TWO main functions of first-aid
(ii) Explain why it is important to develop work- treatment.
place procedures to enable the safe evacuation (ii) Outline the factors to consider when making an
of employees during an emergency. assessment of first-aid provision in a workplace.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 6.1  Job safety analysis form


Job Date

Department Carried out by

Description of job

Legal requirements and guidance

Task steps Hazards Likelihood Severity Risk L X S Controls

Safe system of work

Job Instruction

Training requirements

Review date

Appendix 6.2  Essential elements of a permit-to-work form

2. Should have any reference 1 Permit Title 2 Permit Number

to other relevant permits or
isolation certificates.

3 Job Title

4 Plant identification

5. Description of work to be done 5 Description of Work

and its limitations.

Principles of control

Appendix 6.2  Essential elements of a permit-to-work form—cont’d

  6. Hazard identification including 6 Hazard Identification

residual hazards and hazards
introduced by the work.

  7. Precautions necessary – 7 Precautions necessary 7 Signatures

person(s) who carry out …………………………………………. …………………………
precautions, e.g. isolations, …………………………………………. …………………………
should sign that precautions …………………………………………. …………………………
have been taken.

  8. Protective equipment needed 8 Protective Equipment

for the task.

  9. Authorization signature 9 Authorization

confirming that isolations have
been made and precautions
taken, except where these can
only be taken during the work.
Date and time duration of

10. Acceptance signature 10 Acceptance

confirming understanding
of work to be done, hazards
involved and precautions
required. Also confirming
permit information has been
explained to all workers

11. Extension/Shift handover 11 Extension/Shift handover

signature confirming checks
have been made that plant
remains safe to be worked on,
and new acceptance/workers
made fully aware of hazards/
precautions. New time expiry

12. Hand back signed by acceptor 12 Hand back

certifying work completed.
Signed by issuer certifying work
completed and plant ready for
testing and re-commissioning.

13. Cancellation certifying work 13 Cancellation

tested and plant satisfactorily

Source: UK HSE.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Where employees are required to use or handle

Appendix 6.3  Asbestos examples of safe systems
materials containing asbestos not subject to the Licens-
of work
ing Regulations, the Site Supervisor will ensure that the
Standards required appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing is
All work involving asbestos in any form will be carried out provided and that the agreed safe working procedures are
in accordance with the current national Asbestos Regula- understood by employees and complied with.
tions and ILO Code of Practice, Safety in the Use of Asbes- All warning labels will be left in place on any asbestos
tos. Any asbestos removal must be done in accordance materials used on site.
with the relevant regulations. The use of new asbestos
containing materials is prohibited. Examples
1. P
 ainting undamaged asbestos insulating boards
Planning procedures Description
All work will be tendered for or negotiated in accordance
with the approved standards. This task guidance sheet can be used where undam-
The Contracts Manager will ascertain at an early stage aged asbestos insulating boards need to be painted.
whether asbestos in any form is likely to be present or used This may be to protect them, or for aesthetic reasons.
on the site. If details provided by the client are inconclu- It is not appropriate where the material is damaged.
sive, then an occupational hygiene specialist will be asked Use a specialist contractor.
to take and analyse samples. Carry out this work only if you are properly trained.
Method statements will be prepared by the Contracts
Manager in conjunction with an occupational hygiene
specialist, and, where necessary, a licensed asbestos ää d isposable overalls fitted with a hood;
removal contractor will be selected to carry out the work. ää boots without laces (laced boots can be difficult
In the UK, the Contracts Manager will ensure that any to decontaminate);
requirement to give notice of the work to the Health and ää disposable particulate respirator (FF P3).
Safety Executive is complied with.
Where any work involving asbestos materials not
subject to the licensing requirements is to be carried out ää 5 00 gauge polythene sheeting and duct tape;
by employees, the working methods, precautions, safety ää warning tape and notices;
equipment, protective clothing, special tools, etc. will be ää type H vacuum cleaner to BS5415 or equivalent
arranged by the Contracts Manager. (if dust needs to be removed from the asbestos
insulating board);
Supervision ää paint conforming to the original specification, for
Before work starts, all information on working methods example fire resistant. Select one low in hazard-
and precautions agreed will be issued to site supervision ous constituents, for example solvents;
by the Contracts Manager in conjunction with the Safety ää low-pressure spray or roller/brush;
Adviser/Officer. ää bucket of water and rags;
The Site Supervisor in conjunction with management ää suitable asbestos waste container, for example a
will ensure that the licensed contractor contracted to carry labelled polythene sack;
out the removal work has set up operations in accordance ää appropriate lighting.
with the agreed method statement and that the precau-
Preparing the work area
tions required are fully maintained throughout the opera-
tion so that others not involved are not exposed to risk. ää T his work may be carried out at height; if so, the
Where necessary, smoke testing of the enclosure and appropriate precautions MUST be taken.
monitoring of airborne asbestos fibre concentrations out- ää Carry out the work with the minimum number of
side the removal enclosure will be carried out by an occu- people present.
pational hygiene specialist. ää Restrict access, for example close the door and/or
The Site Supervisor will ensure that when removal use warning tape and notices.
operations have been completed, no unauthorized person ää Use polythene sheeting, secured with duct tape,
enters the asbestos removal area until clearance samples to cover surfaces within the segregated area,
have been taken by an occupational hygiene specialist which could become contaminated.
and confirmation received that the results are satisfactory. ää Ensure adequate lighting.

Principles of control

Painting ää b olt cutters;

ää bucket of water, garden type spray and rags;
ää  ever prepare surfaces by sanding.
ää suitable asbestos waste container, for example a
ää Before starting, check there is no damage.
labelled polythene sack;
ää Repair any minor damage.
ää lockable skip for larger quantities of asbestos
ää If dust needs to be removed, use a Type H vacuum
cleaner or rags.
ää asbestos warning stickers;
ää Preferably use the spray to apply the paint.
ää appropriate lighting.
ää Spray using a sweeping motion.
ää Do not concentrate on one area as this could Preparing the work area
cause damage.
ää T his work may be carried out at height; if so, the
ää Alternatively, apply the brush/roller lightly to
appropriate precautions to prevent the risk of
avoid abrasion/damage.
fails MUST be taken.
Cleaning ää Carry out the work with the minimum number of
people present.
ää U se wet rags to clean the equipment.
ää Restrict access, for example close the door and/or
ää Use wet rags to clean the segregated area.
use warning tape and notices.
ää Place debris, used rags, polythene sheeting and
ää Use 500-gauge polythene sheeting, secured with
other waste in the waste container.
duct tape, to cover any surface within the segre-
Personal decontamination gated area, which could become contaminated.
ää It is dangerous to seal over exhaust vents from
ää Use suitable personal decontamination procedure.
heating units in use.
Clearance procedure ää Ensure adequate lighting.
ää V
 isually inspect the area to make sure that it has Overlaying
been properly cleaned.
ää I nstead of removing asbestos cement roofs, con-
ää Clearance air sampling is not normally required.
sider overlaying with a non-asbestos material.
ää Attach sheets to existing purlings but avoid drill-
2. R
 emoval of asbestos cement sheets, gutters, etc. ing through the asbestos cement.
Description ää Note the presence of the asbestos cement so that
This task guidance sheet can be used where asbestos it can be managed.
cement sheets, gutters, drains and ridge caps, etc. need to
be removed.
For the large-scale removal of asbestos cement, for ää A void breaking the asbestos cement products.
example demolition, standards can be found in Working ää If the sheets are held in place with fasteners, dampen
with Asbestos Cement HSG189/2 HSE Books 1999 ISBN 978 and remove – take care not to create a risk of slips.
0 7176 1667 1. ää If the sheets are bolted in place, use bolt cut-
It is not appropriate for the removal of asbestos insu- ters avoiding contact with the asbestos cement.
lating board. Remove bolts carefully.
Carry out this work only if you are properly trained. ää Unbolt or use bolt cutters to release gutters, drain
pipes and ridge caps, avoiding contact with the
asbestos cement.
ää U se disposable overalls fitted with a hood. ää Lower the asbestos cement to the ground. Do not
ää Waterproof clothing may be required outside. use rubble chutes.
ää Boots without faces (laced boots can be difficult ää Check for debris in fasteners or bolt holes. Clean
to decontaminate). with wet rags.
ää Use disposable particulate respirator (FIF P3). ää Single asbestos cement products can be double
wrapped in 1000 gauge polythene sheeting
(or placed in waste containers if small enough),
ää 5 00 and 1000 gauge polythene sheeting and Attach asbestos warning stickers.
duct tape; ää Where there are several asbestos cement sheets
ää warning tape and notices; and other large items, place in a lockable skip.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

4. Further Information
ää U se wet rags to clean the equipment.
These examples are taken from the UK Asbestos
ää Use wet rags to clean segregated area.
Essentials Task Manual HSG210 (now revised) HSE Books
ää Place debris, used rags, polythene sheeting and
2008 ISBN 978 0 7176 6263 0. Many more examples are
other waste in the waste container.
contained in the publication including equipment and
Personal decontamination method guidance sheets. Obtainable from HSE Books.
ää Use a suitable personal decontamination system.
Appendix 6.4  International Travel Tips
Clearance procedure
General tips
ää V
 isually inspect the area to make sure that it has ää Leave copies of your passport, visa and itinerary with
been properly cleaned. your office and home. If you should lose any docu-
ää Clearance air sampling is not normally required. ments you would have easy access to a copy.
ää Ask the relevant authorities/travel experts for a
3. Personal decontamination system
country profile if you are travelling to a new desti-
nation. They can provide extensive data on weather,
This guidance sheet explains how you should decon- local customs, food, political climate and much
taminate yourself after working with asbestos materials. more.
If you do not decontaminate yourself properly, you ää Your luggage may be searched upon entering a coun-
may take asbestos fibres home on your clothing. You or try, so pack accordingly. Know what items are taboo in
your family and friends could be exposed to them if they the country you are visiting.
were disturbed and became airborne. ää Be wary of anyone loitering around doors to your
It is important that you follow the procedures given room, and notify the desk of your suspicions.
in the task guidance sheets and wear PPE such as overalls ää Do not swap or sell any personal effects, such as jew-
correctly; this will make cleaning easier. ellery or religious items, in countries where it is illegal
to do so.
Removing and decontaminating PPE
ää Avoid photographing military installations, border pro-
ää R emove your respirator last. tection points and sensitive government buildings.
ää Clean your boots with wet rags. ää Avoid any area of the city which has been the target
ää Where available, use a Type H vacuum cleaner to of a terrorist or is a place where people are known to
clean your overalls. congregate.
ää Otherwise use a wet rag – use a ‘patting’ action ää Know the location of the embassy of your passport
– rubbing can disturb fibres. country, and have that phone number with you at all
ää Where two or more workers are involved they can times.
help each other by ‘buddy’ cleaning. ää If you go out, let another member of your group know
ää Remove overalls by turning inside out – place in when you expect to return and the general location
suitable asbestos waste container. you are visiting. You may wish to provide a contact
ää Use wet rags to clean waterproof clothing. number as well.
ää Disposable respirators can then be removed and ää If you are in a situation where someone starts shoot-
placed in a suitable asbestos waste container. ing a gun, drop to the floor or get down as low as pos-
sible and don’t move until you are sure the danger has
Personal decontamination
passed. If possible, shield yourself behind or under a
ää S ite-washing facilities can be used but restrict solid object.
access during asbestos work.
ää Wash each time you leave the work area.
ää Use wet rags to clean washing facilities at the end Hotel travel tips
of the job. ää Reserve rooms above first floor.
ää Clean facilities daily if the job lasts more than a day. ää Keep doors and windows locked, and check them
ää Visually inspect the facilities once the job is before retiring.
finished. ää Put valuables in the hotel room safe.
ää Clearance air sampling is not normally required. ää Keep curtains/blinds closed after dark.

Principles of control

ää Verify workmen with the front desk before admitting ää You will be given a form to complete. DO THIS IMME-
them into your room. DIATELY, BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE AIRPORT. This form
ää Locate your nearest emergency exit and fire will describe the luggage and its contents.
extinguisher. ää Obtain a copy of the form before giving it to airline
ää Be careful answering the door. Use the peephole, or representative.
leave the chain attached when opening the door to ää If you are asked to surrender your claim checks, make
talk. sure you note this on the form.
ää Don’t accept packages or items unless you know the ää 98% of lost luggage is found within several hours, and
source. will be put on the next flight to your destination.
ää Don’t answer the phone with your name. ää If you cannot wait, make sure the airline has your
ää Remember that the doorknob signs tell an outsider address to forward your luggage.
whether you are in the room (Do Not Disturb) or out ää If you need to buy or rent replacement items, most
of the room (Please Make Up This Room). carriers will front you some cash.
ää Take your passport and other forms of identification ää If luggage is never found, you will be asked to esti-
with you when leaving the room. mate the value (depreciated) of its contents. If you
ää Do not indiscriminately give out names and room claim anything new or costly (i.e. camera), you may be
numbers of others in your group. asked to provide receipts and other documentation.
ää Know your hotel phone number.
Walking travel tips from the travel experts at
Taxi travel tips Safe Harbors
ää If possible, pick your own taxi.
ää Avoid walking alone or travelling to remote places
ää Have the address of your destination and hotel writ-
after dark; avoid poorly lit streets and narrow alleys.
ten in the local language.
ää Do not wear flashy jewellery.
ää If you call a taxi, wait for it indoors.
ää Avoid public demonstrations, accidents or civil
ää Compare the face of the taxi driver with the posted
ää Do not engage in loud conversations or arguments.
ää When in a metered taxi, make sure the meter is
ää Avoid discussing personal matters with people you do
not know.
ää When boarding a bus or limo, do so promptly.
ää Keep a phrase book handy.
ää Keep an eye on the loading and unloading of your
ää Know how to use the pay phones in the country you
baggage, especially if you are sharing a taxi or limo
are visiting, and carry exact change in local currency.
which makes an intermediate stop.
ää Avoid bringing any unnecessary attention to yourself.

Lost luggage travel tips

ää If your luggage is lost, find an airline representative
and report the problem.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries worldwide


Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  Egypt 122 123 180 Tourist Police - 126; Traffic

Police - 128; Electricity
Emergency - 121; Natural
Gas Supply Emergency - 129.

  Nigeria 199 199 199 199 for any of the 3


  South Africa 10111 10177 10111 112 from mobile phones

(soon also from fixed line

Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  China Patrol: 110 120 119 Traffic accident - 122.

Traffic: 122 999 for private ambulance service in Beijing,
along with government owned ambulance
service 120.

  India 100 102,108,104 101 Traffic police - 103.

112 from any GSM handsets are redirected
to the local emergency number.
Central Govt of India designate 108 as the
national emergency contact number for
Police, Medical and Fire emergencies. Central
Govt of India designate 104 as the Andhra
pradesh state health advice emergency
contact number for Medical emergencies.

  Indonesia 110 118/119 113 Search and rescue team - 115; Natural
disaster - 129; Electricity - 123; Mobile
phone and satellite phone emergency
number - 112.

110 119 Emergency at sea - 118.


Principles of control

Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries worldwide—cont’d

Country Police Medical Fire Notes

 South 112 119 National security hotline - 111; Reporting

Korea spies - 113; Reporting a child, mentally
handicapped, or elderly person
wandering - 182 (missing child report
hotline); 114 connects to the phone service

  Malaysia 999

  Mongolia 102 103 101 100

  Oman 9999

  Pakistan 15/1122 115 16 15/1122 can be used to redirect to any

service. 112 from any GSM handset will
forward to the local emergency number.

Philippines 117 112 and 911 redirect to 117. 112 and 911
can be dialed from mobile phones. 117 may
also be texted from mobile phones. 136 for
motorist assistance (Metro Manila only), 163
for child abuse (Bantay Bata)

 Saudi 999 997 998 Traffic police - 993; Rescue emergency - 911,
Arabia 112 or 08

  Thailand 191 1669 199 Bangkok EMS Command Center - 1646

(Bangkok only), Tourist Police “1155” (English
speaking emergency and routine assistance).

 United 999 or 112 998 or 999 997


  Bangladesh 999 For the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong

only (Dhaka Metropolitan Police - “999” and
Chittagong Metropolitan Police-“999”).


Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries worldwide—cont’d

The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC - Universal Service Directive)
and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.

Non EU
Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  Kazakhstan 112 Police - 102; Ambulance - 103;

Fire - 101; Gas leaks 104.

112 Police - 02; Ambulance - 03; Fire - 01;

Gas leaks - 04.

  Moldova 902 903 901 112 is being implemented by 2010.

  Norway 112 113 110 Police (non-urgent) - 02800.

112 Police (until 2012) - 02; Ambulance (until

2012) - 03; Fire (until 2012) 01; Gas leaks

  Serbia 112 Police - 92; Ambulance - 94; Fire - 93

112 Police - 117; Ambulance - 144;

  Switzerland Fire - 118; Poison - 145; Road
emergency - 140; Psychological
support (free and anonymous) - 143;
Psychological support for teens and
children (free and anonymous) - 147;
Helicopter air-rescue (Rega) -1414 or
by radio on 161.300 MHz; Air rescue (Air
Glaciers) (in Valais only) -1415.

  Turkey 155 112 110 Gendarmerie - 156; Coast Guard - 158

  Ukraine 112 Police - 102; Ambulance - 103; ­

Fire - 101; Gas leaks - 104.

Principles of control

Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries worldwide—cont’d

Australia and Oceania

Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  Australia 000 On a mobile phone, dial 112, 000, remembering

to tell the operator your exact location. If you
have a textphone/TTY, you can use the National
Relay Service on106. SES units in The Australian
Capital Territory, Victoria, New South Wales,
Queensland and South Australia can be contacted
on 132 500. In Western Australia, the number
is 1300 130 039. In Tasmania and Northern
Territory, you will have to call the individual units.
The number 131 444 is used for non-emergency
police. For reporting crimes, Crime Stoppers can
be called on 1800 333 000 from all internal states
and territories. Threats to national security can be
reported on 1800 123 400. 911 may also be dialed
in emergency situation from mobile phones ONLY
however the call will be redirected to 000.

 New Zealand 111 Urgent but not emergency police/traffic number

*555 (from mobile phones only). Redirect
connects many popular foreign emergency
numbers. From mobile phones, the international
emergency numbers 112, 911 and 08 also work.
The 0800 161616 TTY and 0800 161610 fax
numbers are operated by the police for all three

North America
Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  Canada 911 Non-emergency 311 in certain areas. Some

rural areas still lack 911 service. Also 112
is being redirected to 911 on GSM mobile

  Mexico 066, 060, or 080 Some regions redirect 911 calls to the proper

 United 911 Non-emergency 311 in certain areas. A few

States of rural areas still lack 911 service. Also 112
America is being redirected to 911 on GSM mobile


Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

Appendix 6.5  Emergency numbers in some countries worldwide—cont’d

Central America and the Caribbean

Country Police Medical Fire Notes

  Jamaica 119 110

999 990
 Trinidad and

South America

Country Police Medical Fire Notes

190 192 193 Federal highway police 191; federal police

194; civil police 197; state highway police
198; civil defense 199; human rights 100;
emergency number for Mercosularea 128;
112 will be redirected to 190 when dialed
from mobile phones and 911will also be
redirected to the police number (190)

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

review and audit 7
After reading this chapter,
you should be able to:

nn Outline and differentiate between active (proactive)

monitoring procedures, including inspections, sampling,
tours and reactive monitoring procedures, explaining
their role within a monitoring regime

nn Carry out a workplace inspection, and communicate

findings in the form of an effective and persuasive report

nn Explain the purpose of regular reviews of health and

safety performance, the means by which reviews might
be undertaken and the criteria that will influence the
frequency of such reviews

nn Explain the meaning of the term ‘health and safety audit’

and describe the preparations that may be needed prior
to an audit and the information that may be needed
during an audit.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work. 978-0-08096-636-6.

© 2010 Philip W. Hughes and Edward Ferrett. Published by Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

 7.1    Introduction

his chapter concerns the monitoring of health and ii. include both active and reactive monitoring, and
safety performance, including both active measures not be based only upon work-related injury, ill-
like inspections and reactive measures like injury sta- health, disease and incident statistics; and
tistics. It is about reviewing progress to see if something iii. be recorded.
better can be done and auditing to ensure that what has
(e) Monitoring should provide:
been planned is being implemented.
Measurement is a key step in any management pro- i. f eedback on OSH performance;
cess and forms the basis of continuous improvement. ii. information to determine whether the day-to-day
If measurement is not carried out correctly, the effec- arrangements for hazard and risk identification,
tiveness of the health and safety management system is prevention and control are in place and operating
undermined and there is no reliable information to show effectively; and
how well the health and safety risks are controlled. iii. the basis for decisions about improvement in haz-
Managers should ask key questions to ensure that ard identification and risk control, and the OSH
arrangements for health and safety risk control are in place, management system.
comply with the law as a minimum, and operate effectively.
(f) A
 ctive monitoring should contain the elements ­necessary
There are two basic types of monitoring:
to have a proactive system and should include:
1. P roactive or active monitoring, by taking the initiative
i.  onitoring of the achievement of specific plans,
before things go wrong, involves routine inspections
established performance criteria and objectives;
and checks to make sure that standards and policies
ii. the systematic inspection of work systems, prem-
are being implemented and that controls are ­working.
ises, plant and equipment;
2. Reactive monitoring, after things go wrong, involves
iii. surveillance of the working environment, including
looking at historical events to learn from mistakes and
work organization;
see what can be put right to prevent a recurrence.
iv. surveillance of workers’ health, where appropriate,
The ILO guidelines on occupational safety and health through suitable medical harm to health in order to
management systems (ILO-OSH 2001) requires the follow- determine the effectiveness of prevention and con-
ing under performance monitoring and measurement trol measures; and
v. compliance with applicable national laws and
(a) P rocedures to monitor, measure and record OSH
­regulations, collective agreements and other
­performance on a regular basis should be developed,
commitments on OSH to which the organization
established and periodically reviewed. Responsibility,
accountability and authority for monitoring at different
levels in the management structure should be ­allocated. (g) R
 eactive monitoring should include the identification,
(b) The selection of performance indicators should be reporting and investigation of:
according to the size and nature of activity of the organi-
i.  ork-related injuries, ill-health (including monitor-
zation and the OSH objectives.
ing of aggregate sickness absence records), diseases
(c) Both qualitative and quantitative measures appropriate
and incidents;
to the needs of the organization should be considered.
ii. other losses, such as damage to property;
These should:
iii. deficient safety and health performance, and OSH
i.  e based on the organization’s identified hazards
b management system failures; and
and risks, the commitments in the OSH policy and iv. workers’ rehabilitation and health-restoration pro-
the OSH objectives; and grammes.
ii. support the organization’s evaluation process,
including the management review. The UK Health and Safety Executive’s experience
is that organizations find health and safety perfor-
(d) Performance monitoring and measurement should:
mance measurement a difficult subject. They struggle
i.  e used as a means of determining the extent to
b to develop health and safety performance measures
which OSH policy and objectives are being imple- which are not based solely on injury and ill-health
mented and risks are controlled; statistics.

Monitoring, review and audit

   7.2      The traditional approach to major accident hazards (e.g. release of flammable or

toxic material).
measuring health and safety ää A small number of accidents may lead to complacency.
performance ää Injury statistics demonstrate outcomes not causes.
Because of the potential shortcomings related to the
Senior managers often measure company performance use of accident/injury and ill-health data as a single mea-
by using, for example, percentage profit, return on invest- sure of performance, more proactive or ‘upstream’ mea-
ment or market share. A common feature of the mea- sures are required. These require a systematic approach to
sures would be that they are generally positive or active deriving positive measures and how they link to the over-
in nature, which demonstrates achievement, rather than all risk control process, rather than a quick-fix based on
negative or reactive, which demonstrates failure. things that can easily be counted, such as the numbers of
Yet, if senior managers are asked how they measure training courses or numbers of inspections, which has lim-
their companies’ health and safety performance, it is likely ited value. The resultant data provide no information on
that the only measure would be accident or injury statis- how the figure was arrived at, whether it is ‘acceptable’ (i.e.
tics. Although the general business performance of an good/bad) or the quality and effectiveness of the activity.
organization is subject to a range of positive measures, for A more disciplined approach to health and safety perfor-
health and safety it too often comes down to one nega- mance measurement is required. This needs to develop as
tive, reactive measure of failure. the health and safety management system develops.
Health and safety differs from many areas measured
by managers because improvement in performance
means fewer outcomes from the measure (injuries or    7.3      Why measure performance?
ill-health) rather than more. However a low injury or ill-
health rate trend over years is still no guarantee that risks 7.3.1  Introduction
are being controlled and that incidents will not happen in
the future. This is particularly true in organizations where
major hazards are present but there is a low probability of You can’t manage what you can’t ­measure
an incident.
There is no single reliable measure of health and safety —Peter Drucker
performance. What is required is a ‘basket’ of measures, pro-
viding information on a range of health and safety issues. Measurement is an accepted part of the ‘plan-do-check-
There are some significant problems with the use of act’ management process. Measuring performance is as
injury/ill-health statistics in isolation as follows: much part of a health and safety management system as
financial, production or service delivery management.
ää There may be under-reporting – focusing on injury The ILO-OSH 2001 framework for managing health and
and ill-health rates as a measure, especially if a reward safety, discussed at the end of Chapter 1 and illustrated in
system is involved, can lead to non-reporting to keep Figure 7.1, shows where measuring performance fits within
up performance. the overall health and safety management system.
ää It is often a matter of chance whether a particular inci- The main purpose of measuring health and safety
dent causes an injury, and they may not show whether performance is to provide information on the progress
or not a hazard is under control. Luck, or a reduction and current status of the strategies, processes and activi-
in the number of people exposed, may produce a ties employed to control health and safety risks. Effective
low injury/accident rate rather than good health and measurement not only provides information on what the
safety management. levels are but also why they are at this level, so that correc-
ää An injury is the particular consequence of an incident tive action can be taken.
and often does not reflect the potential severity. For
example an unguarded machine could result in a cut
finger or an amputation.
7.3.2  Answering questions
ää People can be absent from work for reasons which are Health and safety monitoring or performance measure­
not related to the severity of the incident. ment should seek to answer such questions as the following:
ää There is evidence to show that there is little relation-
ship between ‘occupational’ injury statistics (e.g. slips, ää Where is the position relative to the overall health and
trip and falls) and the reasons for the lack of control of safety aims and objectives?

Introduction to International Health and Safety at Work

ää priorities – what should be done first and what is most

Policy important;
ää effective use of resources.

Organizing 7.3.4  Addressing different information needs

Information from the performance measurement is
needed by a variety of people. These will include direc-
Planning and Continual tors, senior managers, line managers, supervisors, health
implementation improvement and safety professionals and employees/safety represen-
tatives. They each need information appropriate to their
position and responsibilities within the health and safety
Evaluation management system.
For example what the Chief Executive Officer of a large
organization needs to know from the performance mea-
Action for surement system will differ in detail and nature from the
improvement information needs of the manager of a particular location.
A co-ordinated approach is required so that individual
Figure 7.1  The health and safety management system ILO- measuring activities fit within the general performance
OSH 2001 measurement framework.
Although the primary focus for performance mea-
ää Where is the position relative to the control of hazards surement is to meet the internal needs of an organization,
and risks? there is an increasing need to demonstrate to external
ää How does the organization compare with others? stakeholders (regulators, insurance companies, sharehold-
ää What is the reason for the current position? ers, suppliers, contractors, members of the public, etc.)
ää Is the organization getting better or worse over time? that arrangements to control health and safety risks are in
ää Is the management of health and safety doing the place, operating correctly and effectively.
right things?
ää Is the management of health and safety doing things
right consistently?    7.4      What to measure
ää Is the management of health and safety proportion-
ate to the hazards and risks? 7.4.1  Introduction
ää Is the management of health and safety efficient?
ää Is an effective health and safety management system In order to achieve an outcome of no injuries or work-
in place across all parts of the organization? related ill-health, and to satisfy stakeholders, health and
ää Is the culture supportive of health and safety, particu- safety risks need to be controlled. Effective risk control is
larly in the face of competing demands? founded on an effective health and safety management
system. This is illustrated in Figure 7.2.
These questions should be asked at all management
levels throughout the organization. The aim of monitoring
should be to provide a complete picture of an organiza- 7.4.2  Effective risk control
tion’s health and safety performance. The health and safety management system comprises
three levels of control (see Figure 7.2):
7.3.3  Decision making
ää Level 3 – effective workplace precautions provided
The measurement information helps in deciding: and maintained to prevent harm to people who are
exposed to the risks;
ää where the organization is in relation to where it wants ää Level 2 – risk control systems (RCSs): the basis for
to be; ensuring that adequate w