I’m sure we’ve all done that thing where we’ve bought some new tools or equipment and the first thing we do when we get home is throw away the instruction manual and try to work out for ourselves how to use it. It’s very often the same at work. With most tools or equipment it may seem pretty obvious how to use them. However, if something was to go wrong and the safety instructions hadn’t been properly understood and followed then a business owner could be made accountable.

When looking at risk assessments or safe systems of work, it’s not good enough just to assume that people will know how to use the equipment or that they’ve taken the time to read the safety instructions. I worked with one business that asked all the engineers at each of their depots to record all the tools and equipment they had, creating a tools and equipment log. Then it was the job of the Health and Safety Manager to go through and download the instruction manuals.

Following that it was then a simple task of ensuring employees were all aware of the safety instructions. It wasn’t a longwinded process, it was just about keeping people safe and ensuring they’d taken the time to review the correct operating procedures.

The Health and Safety Manager then had a system of monitoring work being carried out. Knowing what work was being done, they would have a quick read of the manual before going on the shop floor, and then they’d assess whether the employees were working in accordance with the correct safety instructions.

In most cases this sort of monitoring can act as a risk assessment, as manuals will identify potential hazards and will recommend the controls to be followed when using the equipment.

The only thing to do then is add in regular routine maintenance and you’ve got a simple and effective system in place.

This isn’t just a safe way of working, it’s how we all need to be working to ensure that workforces are properly protected. This company could manage this because they had someone overseeing health and safety. Who is responsible for health and safety in your organisation? Are they keeping on top of things?

At Sky Blue Safety we believe that health and safety is paramount to any organisation. If you need any help in finding a person to manage your health and safety, please do get in touch.