The fundamentals of awesome planning
It’s January, the festivities are over and it’s back to business as usual. We’re all about setting goals at the moment. New Year’s resolutions. Business Strategies. You name it.
We’re motivated, we want to improve and we want to achieve.
That motivation only lasts so long, though, and at that point the goals often fall by the wayside.
Goals fail because:
1. They’re not specific enough.
2. They’re not broken down into achievable steps.
3. They don’t have a deadline.
This is all common sense, isn’t it? Of course it is.
Health and safety is no different. You can apply these fundamentals when putting together your health and safety plan. All it takes is logic and a bit of common sense.
What is a health and safety plan?
A health and safety plan is a document that sets out how you will meet your company’s health and safety policy requirements.
A health and safety plan will:
1. Help your business set achievable goals.
2. Show the steps to complete each goal.
3. Set target dates (or deadlines) for each task and overall goal.
Why do I need a health and safety plan?
Health and safety can be a contributing factor to the success or steady decline of any business. Think prosecution fines, damaged reputation, civil claims, loss of time through ill-health absence, property damage, etc. Any of which can cause significant loss of capital.
When safety goes wrong your control can quickly slip.
Planning is one of the major parts of any health and safety management system. Creating a health and safety plan makes safety management seem a little less daunting and a lot more manageable.
Plus, it keeps you in control of a confusing and intangible area of business management.
If you haven’t already created your plan, do it this month. If you have time now, read on to our how-to section and apply it to your business.
How to create your health and safety plan
To help you put together your plan for 2018 we have listed examples of what you should include in the document. By working through the steps below you can create a thorough health and safety plan to guide your business through a full year of successful safety management.
We will include more information on the overall process of health and safety management over the next few weeks in our upcoming blog posts.
Step 1 – Review the past 12 months
This is how you find out where you are now. It will form the basis on which you set this year’s goals and targets.
You should look at last year’s performance. Consider how well you performed and whether there were any gaps you need to pay more attention to this year. Remember to be honest in your review.
Some useful points to consider when reviewing last year’s performance are:
• Did you achieve your objectives? If there were some objectives that you didn’t meet – why not?
• Were there any common trends in the causes of injuries or incidents?
• Did you identify any repeated areas of concern or weakness? What were the reasons? How can you address them?
• Perform a ‘gap analysis’ – this tells you where you are now and where you should be in terms of compliance.
Are the following up to date and still relevant?
• Risk assessments.
• Training – including general employee training, Fire marshals/first aiders.
Extra point – You will also need to check whether there were any recent changes to equipment, personnel, property etc. that may require additional tasks in your plan.
Step 2 – Set goals and objectives
Goals and objectives provide focus, allowing you to stay organised so that you can concentrate on the things that matter. With the data you’ve taken from reviewing last year’s goals and safety performance, you now need to set new goals. Make them specific and actionable, with overall target dates.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your goals and objectives this year:
• Publish the company goals and objectives so everyone knows them.
• Regularly review and update them as necessary.
• Assign someone to manage each goal.
• Include performance indicators so that you can measure your goals.
For example, if your objective is to reduce accidents, be specific:
• What was last year’s accident rate?
• What number do you want to reduce it to this year?
• Are there any specific types of accident you wish to reduce in particular?
• What is the date will you measure the final number of accidents recorded?
• How often do you want to measure your performance for that goal?
Step 3 – Write it down in a plan
Now that you’ve reviewed everything, now that you’ve set your goals for the year ahead, what’s next?
Your next step is to write everything down. Organise all of your notes and findings and bits of paper and stray thoughts into one clear, concise document.
A simple plan would include the following information:
• What goals you have set.
• What you need to do for each goal – break it down into individual tasks required.
• Deadlines for each goal and task.
• Responsible person – whoever is taking ownership for goals and tasks.
• Resources needed to achieve goal.
For example, you might write – Due to several recorded incidents of skin irritation from chemicals, there is a need for improved COSHH management and training.
Goal – To avoid reoccurrence of such incidents.
• Review chemicals in use – determine if less harmful replacements are available.
• Review COSHH assessments to make sure controls remain adequate.
• Provide more COSHH training.
• Review PPE use.
• Resources required:
- PPE – nitrile chemical gloves x 50 pairs @ £2.50 each.
- COSHH training x 10 candidates @ £80 per candidate
- Time and travel costs for training: £100
- Less harmful replacement chemical identified as ‘chemical x’ @ £10 per 600ml
(Note: the above resources are example only, and do not reflect any actual products, courses, or prices.)
In a real life scenario, you would also include the information for completion dates and ownership. Of course this is just one goal, you would write down all of your findings, goals and tasks. Your plan can be as simple or as detailed as you need it to be to effectively manage safety.
Over the next few weeks we will be writing about various aspects of health and safety management in detail.
As well as planning, we will cover policy, procedures and arrangements, risk management, reviewing, accident investigation, RIDDOR reporting, communication, training and culture. If you would like to learn more about these, subscribe to our blog below.