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Compliance: What Does Success Look Like?

Compliance: What Does Success Look Like?

Tanya Conole, Safety Professional and ASLS Guest Blogger looks at the changing way ‘safety success’ is measured.

Health and safety professionals have a strong role to play in the front end of the compliance journey i.e. identification of requirements and assistance in getting started, but they also have a role to play in tracking and communicating progress. But compliance to what?

How do you best measure success? How do you know you are on the right path?

The days of only measuring success by a low injury frequency rate, are passing us by; companies are realising that there is more to ‘safety success’ to that. Other elements such as continuous improvement, due diligence and corporate citizenship are on the radar now. While this progress is great news for health and safety as a profession, it can be hard to measure some of these metrics and provide any indication of success.

The changes in the legislation have bought health and safety a seat at the round table. Management is interested in safety like never before (at least they should be), so what should you communicate to them? At times like these I like to go back to basics: my company’s Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS).

“Management is interested in safety like never before
(at least they should be)”

An OHSMS houses an organisation’s critical safety success factors and by focusing on these there is potential to not only increase accountability and awareness of safety, but also to:

  • Imbed building blocks of a reporting and a just safety culture into your organisation;
  • Provide early indications of when performance is slipping which will in turn afford the company time to implement corrective actions before things start going wrong; and
  • Infer a corporate safety culture interested in the safety performance of the organisation.

Of course:

  • Data needs to be relevant and fit-for-purpose. As the company’s needs change, maturity levels vary or statutory requirements are amended you will need to vary what data you present; and
  • Metrics need to be reviewed against a previous time period’s performance e.g. last year’s results, to be significant.

However by choosing the elements of your OHSMS to measure your compliance to, you can tell a meaningful and engaging story about your company’s level of success on its journey to compliance.

With all the metrics and measurements, statutes and standards out there it can be a minefield trying to figure out what to report on; come home to your OHSMS.

Develop your understanding and skills as a Work Health and Safety Professional

Influential Prose:
Cannon, J.C., & Byers, M. (2006). Compliance Deconstructed. ACM Queue, September 2006, 30 – 37
Garavan, T. (1997). The Learning Organization: A Review and Evaluation. The Learning Organisation. Vol 4, No. 1, 18 – 29
Health and Safety Executive. (2006). Developing Process Safety Indicators. A step-by-step guide for chemical and major hazard industries. Norwich

Tanya Conole is an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) qualified and experienced Health and Safety Professional. Tanya’s passion is the creation of a positive and informed OHS culture through both the systemic and behavioural management of safety as well as constructive interactions and communications across all parties; rising to engage people in what it takes to go home safely and then providing them the structural framework and empowerment to do so.

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