POPMA Part 2: Organisation
The absence of order is chaos. Just as the absence of light is darkness. Which is why in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Management System, you find the second element: organisation.
As you may have read in the previous entry, s.16, OSHA 1994, imposes a duty on the employer to have a written policy, organise the company to include OSH functions as well as having the necessary OSH procedures and methods.
There must be a system for OSH accountability and responsibility. Generally, all of it rests on the shoulders of the employer. However, for practical reasons, effectiveness and efficiency, these responsibilities and duties needs to be delegated.
For now, we focus on the duties of the employer. What must she do?
- The employer needs to endorse the OSH policy;
- The employer needs to set aside monetary, time and resource allocation for OSH;
- The employer should incorporate OSH into the business plan and model;
- The employer takes part in OSH committee meetings;
- The employer must walkabout to see the compliance and administration of good OSH practices in their workplace.
By organising the company, the relevant personnel knows what their responsibilities are. The employer is then able to track who does what, where and when. In the event of an emergency, for instance, the relevant personnel would know immediately what to do to control the damage brought by the havoc.
According to Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, accountability simply means stand up and be counted. So you can say that OSH organisation identifies who’s to stand up and what they’re being counted on to do.
With proper organisation, the employer is then able to identify areas that needs improvement. This also includes the ability of the employer to discover the necessary training and competence workshop needed.
To support the function of the Personnel Organisation, the employer needs to draw up and continuously revise a set of procedures, methods, techniques and system to guide the OSH personnel.
Unless it is quantified and orchestrated, it would be impossible for a company to carry out the policy satisfactorily and consistently. So, there should be a documentation system – recording what happened, who took action, and the outcome – to say the least.
In OSH MS documentation, there are four (4) levels:
- Level 1: OSH Manual
- Level 2: System procedures, e.g. procurement, accident investigation, recruitment, emergency response
- Level 3: Operating procedures, Work instructions
- Level 4: Forms, records.
Also, there is the need to identify communication methods. Communication methods can be divided into two categories: internal communication and external communication. Internal communication is the exchange of information within the company – employer-employee, inter-departments, employees to employers. External communication covers communication from the company to external parties.