What is Proactive Monitoring?
Proactive Monitoring is techniques that include safety inspections and audits, where the objective is to obtain performance feedback, enabling corrective action to be taken prior to any failure in the system. This type of monitoring is used to evaluate the level of compliance with a legal requirement, or with a stated organizational objective.
This may involve the setting up of a health and safety group but generally risk assessments by a competent person. This must evaluate existing procedures of work and the actual methods and systems that are adopted.
In order to implement the Safety Policy, the company directors should set key objectives and targets for the senior management team for safety and health management, and ensure their structures drive good performance. Key performance ‘leading and lagging indicators’ must be specific to the business needs and link in with the directors overall safety and health strategy.
Leading or proactive indicators include:
Carrying out work specific Risk Assessments, their extent and thoroughness
The level of implementation of the Safety Policy
Monitoring the appropriateness, replacement and maintenance of plant and equipment used for safety critical processes
Development, implementation and performance of the overall safety and health management system, e.g. extent of thoroughness of monitoring and auditing safety and health performance
Measuring the safety and health culture of the undertaking
Lagging or reactive indicators include investigating accidents, chemical spills, lifting equipment failure, safety-implication incidents and safety-related reports and representations
Monitoring and Improvement
The legal requirement for carrying out Risk Assessments (Section 8, Occupational Health and Safety Act) has an improvement programme built into it. The Safety Policy, which must include the workplace specific Risk Assessments, is where the safety and health organization plan should be spelt out.
The successful implementation of the businesses’ Safety Policy will help to ensure the health and safety of its employees and others who may be affected by its work activities.
To properly implement the Safety Policy your undertaking must put in place a monitoring system which suits its needs and gets the job done in an efficient manner.
This system must ensure that everyone in the workplace knows what is expected of them. It should set the ground rules which all must follow to comply with their legal responsibilities.
Most successful undertakings now want to do much more than the minimum and strive to have safety and health rules which ensure they have no accidents and continue to improve. This approach ensures they are, and will continue to be, a business success.
Why is proactive monitoring so important?
The iceberg effect –
The iceberg effect measures your direct cost vs your indirect cost, and this method can be applied to all aspects of Health and Safety including proactive monitoring. If your proactive monitoring techniques are not applied, you as the employer will never be able to identify possible failures in the current system or faults in your machinery and equipment that is used on a daily basis. These problems could result in personal injuries to employees, major damage to the machinery where it would have to be locked out until it is fixed.
The indirect cost in this aspect will be the production loss of that specific machinery resulting in that machine and operator of that machine not being productive which is a financial impact to the company as it could’ve been prevented.
It is good business practice to implement a proactive monitoring system on an operational level, all business are built to make profits at the end of the day, without this profit the employer will not be able to stay competitive in the market and remunerate the staff. The machinery being used to generate this profit needs to run on 100% capacity without fault and without a potential to injury an employee.
The proactive monitoring system will regulate certain inspections and checks needed to be done on the machine after a certain period of hours that the machine has been in operation for, this means that we are taking a proactive step in checking to see if the machines are in good working order and prevent an unforeseen downtime and inadvertently protecting your employee as you are maintaining the safe working environment as per the employers duties to his employees.
Proactive hazard identification methods:
Conducting pre-start discussions on the work to be carried out, this can also be done in the form of Toolbox talks.
Encouraging workers to recognize and highlight hazards while performing work, a daily safety talk induction can be conducted prior to any work being done. It is the employers responsibility to inform and Communicate the hazards associated with this specific work to the employees.
Carrying out safety inspections and audits of the workplace and work procedures.
Conducting job safety analyses (or similar task evaluation processes).
Monitoring, measuring and testing the working environment, such as noise monitoring, electrical testing and ventilation testing from an Authorized inspection authority.
Analyzing proposed new or modified plant, material, process or structure.
Conducting hazard (or risk) surveys.
Reviewing product information, e.g. safety data sheets, operating manuals.
Researching publicly available data on hazards, e.g. media articles, industry or safety regulator alerts and looking at past incident and near-miss reports.
Assessing your health and safety performance
The directors should ensure that safety and health risks generated by its undertaking are managed and controlled adequately and that a framework is established to ensure compliance with its core safety and health standards.
It is important that the directors’ governance structures enable management systems, actions and levels of performance to be challenged. Assessing how internal control procedures work is a key part of senior managers’ responsibilities.
In order to ensure that the undertaking’s safety and health responsibilities are properly discharged, Directors must ensure that they review their safety and health performance on a regular basis. The directors and senior management team should have an agreed plan on how this is done.
The directors must be assured that its management team is doing, at a minimum, what the law requires and, in addition that its safety and health management system continues to operate to the best standards. Reviewing safety and health performance ensures the safety and health risk management system remains up to date and effective.
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