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Performance Evaluation

Monitoring and measurement of occupational health and safety hazards, risks, and performance indicators form the basis of continual improvement. External unattached assessment, as well as internal, will identify business improvement opportunities and shortcomings and provide unbiased intelligence. Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.

Top management is responsible for performance monitoring, from monitoring the extent to which the organization's occupational health and safety plans and objectives are being met, to monitoring the effectiveness of controls. Then there is the monitoring of conformance and compliance with the organization's management system programs and operational criteria.

Reactive measures are also monitored regarding ill health, incidents (accidents, near-misses), and other historical evidence of deficient performance. A low accident rate does not necessary mean that risks are being effectively controlled.

Effective monitoring of the organization's hazards and its control of risks needs to be planned and implemented. Line management is responsible for monitoring these two areas, active and reactive systems.

Active systems are the design, development, production, and operation of management arrangements, which are tied to documented procedures and objectives (projects) and can be verified through review of risk assessments (functioning as intended or updated), inspections of processes and equipment, sampling (noise, air, dust), maintenance, calibration, audits (compliance/conformance), and management reviews.

Having performance criteria in place is important, as what gets measured gets done. The monitoring needs to be proportional to the hazard profile for the organization.

Reactive systems include the monitoring of incidents/accidents and ill health. This requires an open approach to reporting from workers and a documented procedure for handling nonconformance or noncompliance (legal), investigating the area for corrective action, preventing recurrence, and, if required, restoring compliance as soon as possible.

This may be controlled through an accident/incident investigation process or the company's nonconformance/corrective action process system, which is tied to its management system identifying the category as an accident/incident. This would put all nonconformances, including those for noncompliance, in one reporting system that can be sorted by categories or areas.

It is important to review not only who was involved or injured and what and where it occurred but also the root cause of the incident/ accident and how a similar incident can be prevented, as well as the continual improvement of the situation.

As part of the process, look at where this information is kept and review the risk assessment log, where the list of all company's hazards have been identified, to ensure that it has been updated, as well as the documents and training applicable to the incident/accident. Ensure that the results of the investigations have been communicated in a timely manner.

Inspections are an ongoing task, both scheduled and unscheduled, ensuring the identification of hazards; after inspections the hazards should be eliminated or controlled. As mentioned earlier, the use of hand-held devices for inspections assists greatly in data management and communicating results immediately to all persons for actions or review.

If equipment is required to monitor and measure performance, then calibration and maintenance procedures need to be in place and records kept of activities.

Top management can improve the organization's overall approach to health and safety by combining the monitoring of performance with audit reports. An organization can do its own compliance audit or review or contract with an outside consulting company to ensure that it is meeting applicable legal requirements.

The internal and third-party audit process (auditors independent from the audited activity) assists the organization in reviewing and verifying the effectiveness and efficiency of its processes, “closing the loop” to reduce risks and continually improve the organization's management system.

It is through the review of monitoring and measurement that continual improvement can take place in redesign, amendment, or changes to the company's objectives, processes, or procedures. It is crucial through the change management process to share results with workers to engage them in the successes and failures of the system. The company can improve performance by emphasizing positive reinforcement and engagement.

A positive health and safety culture can be achieved by benchmarking with other similar organizations rather than measuring failure against accident data.

Reviews are a continuous process undertaken at different levels in the organization during routine activities, inspections, assessment of new projects/plans, audit results, etc. The action items need to have defined responsibilities, tasks, and deadlines for completion, which are then monitored. Companies continue to have many projects in place, and priorities to be assessed according to the degree of risks involved, legal compliance requirements, and the availability of resources.

Boards of directors or senior management need to be kept informed and, if required, alerted to relevant health and safety risk management objectives and any issues, ensuring that the management systems are in place and remain effective. One of the board members could be selected as the health and safety champion.

It is important to ensure that health and safety performance is reviewed at least annually by the board and that the policy statement reflects the board's current priorities. When significant health and safety failures happen within the organization the board should be kept informed and review the outcome of the investigations into their causes.

Boards can be kept more actively involved by providing positive feedback, demonstrating gratitude when improvement is identified and implemented, and participating as a stakeholder in the recognition activities for workers at lunches and awards ceremonies.

A demonstration of a corporations commitment to health and safety and its performance monitoring can be published in annual reports.


Focus: Health and Safety – Prevention of Injury and Ill Health

1 Do you know how well your company is performing in health and safety? How is the performance measured?

2 Do you keep your board directors and senior management informed about your performance? How?

3 Is the board active in reviewing your occupational health and safety performance? Do they ensure that you have a management system in place and it is effective, and that risk assessment is part of evaluating your performance? Do you report to the board about health and safety?

4 Has your board or senior management appointed someone at the director level to ensure safety and health risk management issues are properly addressed? Is the person competent to do so? If not, what support is given to the individual?

5 Are your measurements for performance good enough? Are your controls for risks good enough? What data supports this?

6 Do you know if your company complies with applicable legal regulations/laws? If you don't meet the requirements, what can be done or what is being done for due diligence?

7 Does your organization carry out internal audits related to occupational health and safety? How often? Is the time frame tied to your organization's occupational health and safety risks adequate?

8 When did you last review and revise your occupational health and safety policy statement?

9 Do you set high expectations and performance standards for your management team?

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