On average, most of the people spend 8-9 hours in the place they work. The workplace like any other environment is prone to hazards which could be as trivial as a fall on wet floor or a major accident resulting in serious injuries or permanent disability. Health, safety and environment (HSE) management is an essential requirement for every business to ensure the provision of safe conditions for the employees as well as other people, the business property and the environment of work. HSE is not a one-way process only meant for the employee’s benefit; instead, it is an integral part of the broader system of business management. Business gurus suggest that the discipline involved in developing and implementing a workplace safety process with the involvement of people spills over into production as well as quality control. People when know how to keep themselves safe during the job are also expected to know how to do their job well.
Workplace safety is considered to be the responsibility of the employer and every business need to fulfill the legal requirements of the HSE management according to the extent and nature of business. Smaller businesses with low-risk activities may just need to develop a mechanism for listening to workers complaints and rectifying them. While, larger firms in a high-risk industry need policy, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and human resource to implement these systems.
Employers are not solely responsible for safety program in any business; workers also have a duty towards adoption a safe culture in the workplace and follow the safety procedures and to encourage their peers do the same and value the importance of safe workplaces. All written plans and procedures eventually have to be executed by human beings and in spite of detailed written instructions and available resources, untoward incidents that happen due to workers not conforming to the recommended PPE (personal protective equipment) or following other recommended practices. Public health and development programs use BCC (behavior change communication) as a strategy to develop appropriate behaviors for any setting. A similar approach may be used for behavior change towards better compliance to the safety protocols, and it may be integrated with the training on technical aspects of safety procedures.
It is important to note that HSE management is not merely a legal requirement to be fulfilled for the sake of not coming under the radar of the concerned authorities. HSE considerations have to be a fundamental aspect of all business planning including designing, development, and delivery of all products and services. The vision for HSE management should come from the top management with clear directions on how to establish HSE management. Business leadership should mirror the reiterative process of planning, developing, implementing and monitoring to ensure effective HSE management. Leaders must lead by example by following all safety rules themselves and delegate required authority to concerned personnel such as security supervisors. Also, higher management should make available the resources necessary for carrying out HSE functions smoothly such as protective equipment’s, first aid and firefighting equipment, etc. Systematic monitoring strategies of HSE functions must be in place, and they are further augmented by regular checking visits by the leadership that not only demonstrates commitment to HSE matters but also inspire employees for better compliance to safety practices.