In the construction industry, the majority of firms have less than 100 employees. At Harness, we speak with dozens of these companies daily, and we’re often asked if and when it’s appropriate to hire a dedicated health & safety person. In this article, we’ll discuss:
- how you can effectively create a safety program that runs without a dedicated safety person
- when you should start to think about hiring a safety manager, and
- how to set your safety program up for success
Managing Your Safety Program Without A Safety Person
Many smaller companies get by without someone dedicated to safety by spreading the responsibilities between employees. Here is a common and practical way to divide up the work:
All Onsite Workers:
- pre-use inspection of their equipment and tools
- Jobsite inspections
- Infraction notices
- Incident reports
- Tracks training certificates
- Organizes the outsourcing of training
- Creates and maintains safety binders, including Safety Data Sheets
- Collects and files safety paperwork
- Creation and implementation of safety program and policy
- Onboarding of new employees
- Quarterly safety meetings
- Incident investigations
As companies grow in size, this strategy becomes harder to manage. The amount of paperwork increases until its collection and storage become almost a full-time job.
Without one person overseeing the program, lots can fall through the cracks. Compliance becomes an issue because the workers aren’t accountable to anyone in particular. The office administrator ends up wasting their time tracking down missing paperwork.
When this happens, your program is no longer effective or efficient, and you should start looking for a solution.
Why You Should Hire A Dedicated Safety Professional
Having one person directly responsible for the health and well-being of all your employees can drastically improve your company’s safety culture. They ensure everyone is compliant with government and company policies and act as a resource for all employees.
They become the connecting piece between upper management and the field workers, ensuring the right policies are in place and the right resources are allocated to implement them.
The value of a safety person comes when they are on-site, conducting inspections, identifying and controlling hazards and training your workers. That can’t happen if they are hidden away in an office somewhere filing paper.
Hiring a safety manager improves your program but does not eliminate the issues surrounding paperwork. The only solution to that problem is to utilize technology.
Setting Your Safety Program Up For Success
A safety management system like Harness eases the strain of managing your health and safety program, with or without a dedicated person.
Making paper forms digital and accessible to everyone in the company on their mobile device makes safety easy and reduces the administrative burden on your team. It also provides you with analytics that a paper-based program cannot.
At Harness, we work with companies at every stage of their safety program development:
- We offer turnkey programs to those without anything in place
- We transfer existing paper based programs into a digital format
- We work with the safety personnel at larger companies to design and customize your program to be the best possible
Industry best practice shows a strong return on the investment of a dedicated safety professional AND a safety management system. A combination of both will provide your company with everything you need to keep your employees safe. Click the button below to find out more about how Harness can help you manage your safety program.