Health Safety

The new approach to managing health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has completed its overhaul of guidance on how organisations should manage health and safety in 2014.

The final part of the jigsaw was a paper version of Managing for health and safety, which is the successor to the long-time bedrock of safety management in the UK, Successful health and safety management (HSG65).

The new guidance is particularly important because it has to fill the gap left by the HSE’s removal last summer of the Approved Code of Practice to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The HSE reassures dutyholders that, if they follow the new guidance, they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law; they should also expect inspectors to refer to the guidance during visits.

The new publication, which is similarly known as HSG65, differs significantly from its predecessor. The most important change is in how employers should “deliver” their health and safety arrangements. Whereas the old version of HSG65 used an approach based on “Policy, Organising, Planning, Measuring performance, Auditing and Review” (the POPMAR model), the new version uses a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” approach. This, according to the HSE, will help dutyholders focus on identifying the most important actions they need to take and relate them back to issues of leadership, management, worker involvement and competence.

A “better balance”

Delivering health and safety arrangements is the third of four sections in the guidance; the others offer advice on the fundamentals of health and safety management, deciding whether “you are doing what you need to”, and on further resources.

The HSE hopes Managing for health and safety, which has been available in an online version since August 2013, will allow duty holders to secure “a better balance between the systems and behavioural aspects of management”, while treating the management of health and safety “as an integral part of good management generally, rather than as a stand-alone system”.

Managing for health and safety is aimed at larger organisations; smaller organisations should refer to Health and safety made simple and Health and safety toolbox. All of the guidance is available on the HSE’s website.

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