Need a program but short on budget for a full-time safety person or consultant? Here’s what you need to know.
There are a lot of reasons you might need to set up a hospitality safety program, from insurance requirements and safety legislation to ownership or brand initiatives aimed at improving safety.
But sometimes budgets don’t allow for the hiring of a full-time safety person, or maybe you’re not quite ready to bring in a safety consultant.
That’s where a bit of do-it-yourself know-how comes in. Here are the basics of how to get started on developing a program that works for your organization, based on industry best practices and our knowledge of safety legislation.
There are three things your safety program should cover:
- The hazards workers and guests face have been assessed.
- Policies and procedures have been written to meet safety legislation and industry standards.
- These policies and procedures are communicated to workers.
Follow these five steps to help you recruit the right team, assess the safety situation in your organization, craft safety policies and implement your program.
Step 1: Put together a safety committee
Commonly referred to as a JHSC (joint health and safety committee), this is the backbone of any hospitality safety program. Requirements vary depending on local legislation, but most of the basic principles are the same.
Committee members must include representatives from all departments—F&B, front desk, clubhouse, housekeeping if applicable, and so on.
More information on setting up a committee is available from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).
Insider tip: Make sure people are not “volun-told” to be committee members. Enforcement officers frown upon this—not to mention that it’s non-compliant.
Step 2: Create formal hazard assessments
JHSC members are excellent candidates to spearhead detailed assessments of the hazards broken down by task and department. But it’s important to remember this is not solely the job of the JHSC. It should be a joint effort involving managers, supervisors and the workers performing the tasks.
Workers are your best resource to come up with the control measures that will be recorded. They’re the ones performing the tasks, they’ve encountered the hazards personally and they’ll likely have the answers to solve them.
For more information, see the sample risk assessment form available from CCOHS.
Insider tip: Record the names of all workers who were involved in creating or reviewing hazard assessments. You will need this information in the event of an audit or incident investigation.
Step 3: Get your safety documents together
Depending on your geographic area, the required documents will vary. The following list is not exhaustive but is a sample based on best practices for most workplaces:
- Safety policy/management committee
- Practices and procedures (a.k.a. SOP, SWP, SJP, etc.): Start with high-hazard tasks
- Incident/near miss policy: What will be investigated and how
- Harassment, bullying and violence prevention policies
- Safety meeting schedule
- Inspection policy and schedule: JHSC committee members can help with this. Download a template and suggestion on schedules from one of the safety management resources listed below.
Insider tip: Remember the adage, “If it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” It’s not enough to hold meetings and inspections, or to communicate the new policies. All these efforts must also be documented, complete with recorded attendance. If you’re doing it, you might as well get credit for it!
Step 4: Make sure people have appropriate training
Never assume everyone can easily take on the “safety role”—for one thing, that isn’t the reason they were hired! It’s a good idea to anticipate that workers expected to contribute to the safety program will need training.
Be open and supportive to workers receiving safety-relevant training and have someone research what is needed depending on your scope of work. Here is a starting-off point for the types of training people could take:
- Safety committee members: JHSC training level #1
- Co-chairs: JHSC training level #2
- Safety for supervisors: introduces responsibilities under legislation and basic safety structures
- Harassment in the workplace for leaders
- Workers “property-wide” should have WHMIS 2015 (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System 2015)
Insider tip: Creating a training matrix and tracking courses makes it much easier to demonstrate due diligence and helps keep your training budget in check.
Step 5: Implement your program
Once all the hazard assessments and new policies have been made, you’re ready to shout them from the rooftops. And without this last step, your program will be doomed to sit dormant on a shelf and collect dust.
A safety management system is a living, breathing program and needs to be maintained. And it can’t be run well or kept alive by any one person, regardless of their status within the company. Buy-in to the new program has to come from the top down, and that management commitment should be communicated to the entire workforce.
This is often most effective in the form of a group safety meeting where every worker is able to hear what the new safety program entails and what the workers’ responsibilities will be.
Insider tip: If it’s too challenging to get all workers together for one safety kickoff meeting, the meetings can be broken up and delivered in smaller groups. Make sure the agenda stays the same, record attendance at all meetings and be diligent in reaching the entire workforce.
Where to find more help
These five steps may sound easy, but often implementation is more challenging—especially when people have other jobs. It’s a process and it doesn’t need to be done overnight. Give your team some time to champion your program.
If you need some help along the way, contact us at BVSCanada.com. Refer to this article and get a free one-hour consultation.