Health and Safety Bulletin | 31 August, 2010 | Hot Topics:
Inside this issue...
- Each job description contains 4 parts
- What happens once I’ve successfully recruited my health and safety officer?
- It’s the best decision you could make this year
We all know that if we have more than 20 employees, we need to designate a health and safety representative in writing. But, what about those health and safety positions where you actually need to recruit a qualified person? Do you know each and everything to include in his job description?
Each job description contains 4 parts
1. Brief description of job purpose. Use this to quickly summarise the main focus of the position.
2. Qualifications, experience, competencies. Use this for when you review CVs submitted. If anyone doesn’t meet the requirements under this section, you can dismiss their candidacy. This will help you discern who is best qualified for the position.
3. Key responsibilities. Use this section to understand which goals you should set for the employee.
4. Main activities. This section will help you break down day-to-day functions of the position. Use this as a means to ensure your employee is meeting his necessary deliverables.
But what are his main activities? You know he needs to assist you in maintaining health and safety standards but what does this translate to on an everyday level? Do you install him on the shop floor, keeping a beady eye on everyone to ensure they’re following your health and safety practices?
This isn’t a very productive use of his time. I am not saying he shouldn’t be monitoring your employees to ensure they’re behaving in a healthy and safe manner, but his job is really about so much more. Let’s start with your health and safety officer…
13 main duties of a health and safety officer
When you recruit your health and safety officer, include these duties on his job description:
- Develop, implement and maintain an effective program and ensure compliance to satisfy the requirements of local legislation e.g. the OHS, COID and Environmental Conservation Acts
- Develop systems to ensure all employees comply with all relevant legal safety requirements
- Identify safety training needs, organise and co-ordinate safety training courses and prepare training material where appropriate
- Co-ordinate the monthly safety meeting:
- ensure meeting times are set
- agendas are sent out
- minutes are kept and sent out
- ensure that all support documentation in respect of the safety program is received on time and in the correct format from all concerned parties
- Assist in appointment of safety representatives for all departments
- Communicate changes in Safety and Environment legislation to Management
- Evaluate incident forms, surveys, audits to establish root causes and together with Supervisors and Managers concerned, formulate a plan of action to correct non-compliant behaviour or conditions
- Liaise with on site contractors to ensure their compliance with Company safety regulations and adherence to safety standards, including basic safety induction training
- Conduct surveys and audits as required to identify and minimise the risk to company and employees
- Identify unsafe acts, conditions, and hazards, investigate root causes and identify corrective and preventative actions and report to management
- Co-ordinate at least two evacuation exercises per year to ensure that all staff become familiar with these procedures.
- Assist with the formulation of emergency/contingency plans for:
- Natural disasters
- Industrial action
- Political unrest
- Bomb threats
- Review and update Emergency Procedures as and when necessary
You can view the full job description (and those for a health and safety manager, and health and safety supervisor) in J01: Job descriptions, in Update 2/2010. If you’re a subscriber, but don’t have this update, call 0861 114 338. If you’re not a subscriber, click here to order the Health and Safety Advisor Handbook.
What happens once I’ve successfully recruited my health and safety officer?
Once you’ve hired your perfect candidate, you’ll need to set out his goals (key performance areas) so he can perform his job to the best of his ability. This will ensure if he fails to perform you have proof that you made him aware of his responsibilities, and he has no excuse. The best way to do this is in his employment contract.
Have you followed the same advice with your other employees? What about any other documentation that helps your business run efficiently and smoothly? I know, paperwork is the thorn in my side too. When my company drafts employment contracts, policies and other business forms I used to just hand the task over to my labour consultant. It was the only way I knew I would include all the essential information, and be aligned to labour law standards. I would hate to find myself in front of the CCMA because I forgot a single line in an employee’s contract!
But then I thought why spend thousands of rands having a labour consultant develop my policies, forms and contracts when Fleet Street Publications has done it for me and at a third of the price!
In the name of safety,
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The Health & Safety Bulletin keeps our readers in the loop regarding health and safety, through updates regarding reported incidents in the news and questions our health and safety expert Wilna Louw answers. It’s also a platform for subscribers to send in any issues they’re currently experiencing in their workplace.