Managers Health and Safety Responsibilities
If you are a Manager, you have responsibilities for Health and Safety. These extend to areas under your control and to decisions you make on behalf of your organisation. You are accountable for the choices you make and actions you take. It is my hope that this article helps you to understand what some of your accountabilities and responsibilities are, so that you can make better choices about the health and safety of the people in your care.
The following list is a suggested set of duties, roles and responsibilities to be adopted by Managers. These are usually defined in the Employment Manual and Health and Safety Policy (Organisation Section) but may also be included in the Job Description and Employment Contract.
1. Understand that they are responsible and accountable for the health and safety performance of their people (see a separate article on what responsibility and accountability mean in English Law);
2. Make regular contact with their supervisors (the frequency may vary according to the changing risks) to receive information from monitoring of the health and safety performance;
3. Hold health and safety meetings with their supervisors (contact Greens for a suggested agenda);
4. Ensure that equipment such as machinery and vehicles, are maintained in a condition safe to be used and if not, prevented from being used, keeping copies of records of all maintenance, statutory and insurance inspections;
5. Ensure that fire and other emergency staff are aware of and drilled in the emergency procedures;
6. Ensure that there is adequate first-aid cover on all shifts and first-aid boxes are adequately stocked;
7. Ensure that safe systems of work (safe ways of working) are in place and that these are recorded and communicated as required (know which tasks legally require a written plan);
8. Ensure suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments are in place and that these are recorded and communicated as required (Risk Assessments are required to be recorded if 5 or more people are employed).
9. Ensure that all health and safety documents (such as the organisation’s Risk Assessments, Safe Systems, Plans and Procedures) are easily accessible as required;
10. Assign responsibility for specific areas to supervisors, ensuring there is a clear understanding of their specific duties and responsibilities, to e.g. make a spot checks, carry out planned inspections and submit written reports with recommendations and timescales for any required actions;
11. Authorise purchases of for the purposes of safety as necessary to attain compliance with the organisation’s specifications and relevant statutory Requirements and to inform senior management should the existing budget need to be exceeded to achieve this.
12. Implement a training plan for new or transferred employees and for those people or tasks that may require refreshing (copies of records of all training must be kept accessible by the Manager);
13. Review the health and safety performance of their department and submit a report to the Managing Director/ Chief Executive;
14. Ensure accidents, illnesses and dangerous occurrences investigations are carried out and reported to the Enforcement Authority, Insurer and Managing Director/ Chief Executive as required. In conclusion, an action plan, with clear recommendations, and timescales to prevent a reoccurrence may be required;
15. Ensure Equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment is issued to employees in accordance with the appropriate Risk Assessment. Issue should be accompanied with information, instruction and training on the risks they protect the user from, their proper use, maintenance, storage, cleaning and replacement;
16. Demonstrate, promote and encourage a positive attitudes and behaviours to develop and maintain a positive safety culture.
17. Manage the provision of additional measures to protect employees with additional safety or health factors, such as young, pregnant, nursing, ill or injured;
18. Manage the induction back into the workplace (including making reasonable adjustments) of employees who have been absent (which may involve working alongside the Human Resources Manager).
19. Ensure all contractors, (before being appointed) are properly vetted and have suitable and sufficient safety systems in place, coordinating these with the organisations own where required.
20. Take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure their areas remain legally compliant.