NEBOSH IGC 1 Examiners Reports | Questions & Answers
Element 5: Health and Safety Management Systems:
Measuring, Audit & Review
Outline the reasons why an organization should monitor and review its health and safety performance.
Reasons such as
- To identify both good and substandard health and safety practices and conditions;
- To identify trends in relation to different types of incidents by analysis of relevant data;
- To compare actual performance with previously set targets;
- To identify whether control measures are in use, to assess their effectiveness and to be able to make decisions on appropriate remedial measures for any deficiencies identified;
- To identify any new or changed risks;
- To assess compliance with legal requirements and accepted national/international standards;
- To be able to provide a Board of Directors or safety committee with relevant information;
- To benchmark the organization’s performance against that of similar organizations or an industry norm;
- To boost morale and motivate the workforce; and
- Ultimately because monitoring and review is a vital component of any safety management system and is essential if the system is externally accredited and audited by a specific body.
A serious accident has occurred. During the investigation, it is found that an inspection of the work site had taken place before the accident.
Outline possible reasons why the inspection did not lead to an unsafe situation being corrected.
There are a number of possible reasons why the inspection did not lead to the unsafe situation being corrected.
- It may have been that the unsafe activity was not taking place at the time of the inspection.
- Maybe the hazard was not obvious and consequently, the inspector would not have noticed it.
- The unsafe condition might have been observed but was not mentioned in the report of the inspection and even if it had been included,
- The report might not have been seen by a responsible person or had not been followed up and the corrective action taken.
- There might have been a situation where the responsibility for taking the corrective action was unclear for instance if there had been a number of different employers on site.
- Finally, the failure to correct the unsafe action may well have been caused by the inability of the inspector to carry out a proper inspection because of his/her lack of knowledge and competence.
- Outline the role of workplace health and safety inspection.
- Give two strengths of using the checklist when carrying out an inspection.
- Give two weaknesses of using a checklist when carrying out an inspection.
Role of Workplace Health and Safety inspections:
- It is a general examination of health and safety performance at a particular point in time,
- It may be used to improve health and safety performance within an organization in a number of ways including identifying hazards and assessing controls enabling the appropriate remedial action to be taken before accidents have occurred;
- It showing management’s commitment to health and safety and improving the morale of the workforce;
- It enabled the involvement of workers in the management of health and safety and if carried out on a regular basis,
- It identifying trends and weaknesses in existing procedures;
- Ensuring adherence to legal requirements and standards;
- Reviewing previous findings and recommendations and
- Providing a summary report to individual managers of standards in their area of responsibility.
- One of the strengths of using a checklist to complete a health and safety inspection of a workplace is the opportunity given for prior preparation and planning to be made so that the inspection is structured and systematic.
- An additional strength involves the degree of consistency obtained firstly by those carrying out the inspection and further in the areas and issues to be covered.
- A checklist can be easily adapted or customized for different areas, results in an immediate record of findings, and provides an easy method for comparison and audit.
- The weaknesses of using such a system, however, are that over-reliance on a checklist may lead to a blinkered approach by inspectors with the possibility that significant risks might be missed;
- That the checklist may not be reviewed and updated to account for changes to work processes or equipment;
- That there is a danger that inspections become routine with no follow-up questions being asked;
- That the system is too objective and restrictive with no scope for peripheral issues to be considered;
- That untrained persons might be tempted to conduct inspections and that the procedure is subject to human error and/or abuse.
Outline the benefits to an employer of conducting accident investigations.
The benefits to an employer of carrying out an accident investigation include:
- The discovery of its root causes in order to facilitate the prevention of a recurrence;
- The improvement of the health and safety performance of the organization and
- The prevention of future business loss;
- The achievement of future compliance both with the law and with insurers’ requirements;
- The provision of evidence to support the defense in the event of any enforcement action being taken or a civil claim being made against the employer;
- The demonstration of management commitment and
- The improvement of the safety culture of the organization and the morale of the workforce.
- Give the meaning of the term health and safety audit.
- Outline the issues that need to be considered at the planning stage of an audit.
- Identify two methods of gathering information during an audit.
An audit – is a systematic critical examination of a health and safety management system, involving a structured process for the collection of independent information with the aim of assessing the effectiveness and reliability of the total system and identifying its strengths and weaknesses in order to improve it where this was thought to be necessary.
Issues such as
- The selection of a competent audit team independent of the area to be audited;
- Agreeing to the objectives and scope of the audit;
- Developing audit questionnaires and checklists and agreeing on relevant guidance and standards that would be applied;
- Allocating resources and facilities;
- Agreeing to timescales and deciding on methods of feedback.
Methods of gathering information during an audit include
- Interviewing; reviewing and assessing written procedures; and
- Workplace observations to assess compliance with relevant health and safety standards and guidelines.
- Explain how accident data can be used to improve health and safety performance within an organization.
- Explain two active (proactive) monitoring methods that can be used when assessing an organization’s health and safety performance.
- Accident data could be used to identify trends and problem areas and give the opportunity for remedial action;
- To enable improvement in resource allocation;
- To make comparisons with others;
- To inform and stimulate discussion at joint consultation meetings with the workforce;
- To identify the costs of accidents and to set new targets.
Proactive methods include:
- Audits involving comprehensive and independently executed examinations of all aspects of an organization’s health and safety performance against stated objectives;
- Inspections carried out on a regular basis which identifies existing conditions and compares them with agreed performance objectives;
- Safety surveys focusing on a particular activity such as manual handling, training programmes and workers’ attitudes towards safety;
- Sampling where specific areas of occupational health and safety are targeted;
- Tours involving unscheduled workplace inspections to check on issues such as wearing of personal protective equipment and housekeeping;
- Benchmarking where an organization’s performance in certain areas is compared with that of other organizations with similar processes and risks, and
- Health or medical surveillance using techniques such as audiometry and blood or urine analysis.
- Four Active (proactive)
- Four Reactive
Means by which organization can monitor health and safety performance.
Number of active monitoring methods including
- Safety inspections,
- Audits and sampling,
- Environmental monitoring,
- Health surveillance,
- The behavioral observation such as by carrying out safety observation tours and
- Benchmarking against the performance of other like organizations.
Reactive monitoring methods which might be used include
- Accident and ill-health statistics and reports;
- Incidents of reported near-misses and dangerous occurrences;
- Property damage;
- Actions were taken by the enforcement authorities;
- The number of civil claims;
- An analysis of absences and lost time;
- Complaints by workers and the costs involved in all the above.
A serious accident has occurred. During the investigation, it is found that an inspection of the workplace had taken place before the accident.
Outline possible reasons why the inspection failed to identify a problem.
Reasons such as:
- The lack of competency of the inspector,
- The unsafe activity not taking place at the time of the inspection and
- The hazard not being obvious/visible
Explain the purpose of, and procedures, for health and safety auditing.
An employer intends to implement a programme of regular workplace inspections following a workplace accident.
- Outline the factors that should be considered when planning such inspections.
- Outline three additional proactive methods that could be used in the monitoring of health and safety performance.
- Identify the possible costs to the organization as a result of the accident.
Factors such as:
- The nature of the hazards in the workplace;
- The composition and competence of the inspection team;
- The areas to be inspected and the routes to follow;
- The timing and frequency of the inspections;
- The relevant legislation and standards against which the results of the inspection would be judged;
- The preparation and provision of checklists; and
- The action that should follow the inspections (such as the procedures for reviewing and prioritizing any remedial measures found to be necessary).
- The means of notifying and consulting with relevant staff prior to the inspection.
Additional proactive measures such as:
- Audits (involving a comprehensive and independent examination of all aspects of an organization’s health and safety management systems against stated objectives);
- Safety surveys (focusing on particular activities);
- Sampling (involving the targeting of specific areas);
- Tours (where unscheduled, less formal workplace inspections are carried out to check on issues such as housekeeping or the use of personal protective equipment);
- Benchmarking (where an organization’s performance in certain areas is compared with that of similar organizations); and
- Environmental and health monitoring.
The possible costs to the organization following the accident. These are:
- The cost of lost production; time lost by the employee/employees involved in the accident;
- Clean-up costs and the possible repair of damaged plant and equipment;
- A possible increase in insurance premiums;
- The cost of legal representation in any subsequent court proceedings and the fine that might be imposed;
- Any part of compensation payments as a result of a civil action (ie any ‘excess’ agreed with the insurance company);
- Intangible costs such as the effects on the business image of the organization and the morale of the workforce as a whole.
- Explain why an organization should have a system for the internal reporting of accidents.
- Identify the reasons why employees may fail to report the accident at work.
There are a number of reasons why an organization should have a system for the internal reporting of accidents. These include:
- The compilation of accident statistics and the identification of trends;
- To meet the requirements of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995;
- So that an investigation may be carried out to prevent a recurrence or to identify weaknesses in the safety management system;
- For use in civil claims or to satisfy insurance requirements;
- To help in the identification and reduction of loss; and
- To inform the review of risk assessments.
Such reasons as:
- Ignorance of the reporting procedures;
- Peer pressure;
- Possible retribution by management;
- To preserve the company’s or department’s safety record (particularly when an incentive scheme is in operation);
- To avoid receiving first-aid or medical treatment (for whatever reason);
- Over-complicated reporting procedures; and
- Lack of obvious management response to earlier reported accidents.
A health and safety audit of an organization has identified a general lack of compliance with procedures:
- Describe the possible reasons for procedures not being followed.
- Outline the practical measures that could be taken to motivate employees to comply with health and safety procedures.
Possible reasons for health and safety procedures not being followed by employees include:
- inadequate supervision and enforcement of the procedures by management,
- A poor attitude towards health and safety generally (as an indication of a poor safety culture), and
- Issues relating to working conditions that may hinder compliance with procedures (such as poor workstation design and inattention to ergonomic issues).
- The procedures themselves being unrealistic or unclear;
- Literacy and language issues;
- Peer pressure and other pressures or incentives to cut corners;
- A failure by management to consult the workforce and
- Also, failure to provide the necessary information and training; and
- The repetitive, tedious or complex nature of the tasks being performed.
Practical measures that could be taken to motivate employees to comply with the procedures.
These should be:
- A display of commitment on the part of management.
- The provision of a good working environment;
- Joint consultation arid the involvement of employees in drawing up and reviewing the procedures;
- The setting of personal performance targets with due recognition when these are achieved;
- The provision of information and training including tool-box talks and
- The use of posters and notice-boards,
- the introduction of job rotation; and,
- Finally, the taking of disciplinary action in cases where there is deliberate failure to follow laid down procedures.
With reference to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995:
- Explain, using two examples, the meaning of the term ‘dangerous occurrence.
- Identify the requirements for reporting a dangerous occurrence.
Dangerous Occurrence – is a specified event that has not resulted in a reportable injury but had the potential to do so.
- With the collapse of scaffolding and the collapse,
- Overturning or failure of a lift or crane being the most popular.
- By the quickest practical means (usually the telephone or fax) and then make a report on the approved form (F2508) or
- By other approved means (such as reporting the incident to HSE’s Incident Contact Centre by telephone or online) within ten days.
Identify Eight measures that can be used to monitor an organizations health and safety performance.
There are several indicators that an organization can use to assess different aspects of its health and safety performance.
Reactive performance measures include
- Accident and ill-health statistics,
- Incidents of reported near-misses and dangerous occurrences,
- Actions were taken by the enforcement authorities and insurance claims.
Proactive performance measures, on the other hand, might include
- The results of the inspection and/or environmental monitoring,
- The quality and extent of risk assessments,
- Safety audit outcomes and the results of medical/health surveillance.
- Give the meaning of ‘confined space’ & give two workplace examples.
- Identify four ‘specified risks’ that may arise from work in a confined space.
Confined Space – any space, which by virtue of its enclosed nature, presented a reasonably foreseeable specified risk.
For examples such as chambers, tanks, vats, silos, pits, trenches, pipes, sewers, flues and wells.
These would include:
- Serious injury due to fire or explosion from flammable substances such as methane, leaks from adjoining plant, or oxygen enrichment;
- Loss of consciousness due to rise in body temperature (from boilers, furnaces or physical labor);
- Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation caused by the presence of gas, fume or vapor;
- Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation from lack of oxygen;
- Drowning due to increase in the level of liquid and
- Asphyxiation due to a free-flowing solid such as coal dust, grain or sand.
An employee has been seriously injured after being struck by a reversing vehicle in a loading bay.
- Give four reasons why the accident should be investigated by the person’s employer.
- Outline the information that should be included in the investigation report.
- Outline four possible immediate causes and four possible underlying (root) causes of the accident.
Purpose of investigating an accident is
- To identify the immediate and root causes in order to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future.
- To the identification of possible weaknesses in risk assessment processes and other aspects of safety management systems.
- Other reasons relate to facilitating compliance with legal obligations,
- To collect evidence to defend a civil claim,
- To determining economic loss and
- To demonstrating management commitment to occupational health and safety.
The following information should be included in the investigation report:
- the personal details of the injured party & the date, time and location of the accident,
- environmental conditions & the work activity at the time of the accident,
- the control measures in place,
- the precise circumstances of the accident,
- the type and extent of the injury sustained,
- details of witnesses and copies of their statements were taken, drawings and photographs,
- immediate and root causes identified,
- possible breaches of the law and the recommendations of the investigation team in relation to remedial action required.
Possible immediate causes such as
- Human error or failure to comply with procedures, mechanical failure,
- Poor visibility in the loading bay (eg absence of lighting),
- Restricted view of the driver and environmental conditions such as high noise levels.
- Underlying causes could have included lack of driver and/or other employee training,
- Lack of supervision, the absence of site rules or procedures for the control of reversing vehicles,
- Failure to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic and
- A lack of maintenance of vehicles and/or the workplace.
Outline factors that may discourage employees from reporting.
Factors such as:
- ignorance of the reporting procedures;
- peer pressure;
- possible retribution by management;
- to preserve the company’s or department’s safety record (particularly when an incentive scheme is in operation);
- to avoid receiving first-aid or medical treatment (for whatever reason);
- overcomplicated reporting procedures; and
- Lack of obvious management response to earlier reported accidents
- Explain the meaning of the term ‘safe system of work’.
- Describe the enforcement action that could be taken by an enforcing authority when a safe system has not been implemented.
It is the Procedure for carrying out a task safely, taking into account the risks and control measures, the equipment needed, the environment, contingent requirements, and the competence and skills required of personnel.
Possible enforcement actions are
- The issue of an improvement or prohibition notice, and prosecution.
- An inspector may give verbal or written advice and/or warning before taking more serious action.
Explain how the following may be used to improve safety performance within an organization.
- Accident Data
- Safety Inspection
- The obvious use of accident data is to identify specific problem areas by recording instances where control measures have failed.
- However, analysis of the data allows general trends to be shown in order perhaps to identify common root causes, as well as comparisons to be made with others in order to learn from successes elsewhere.
- Accident data can also help to raise awareness in the minds of both managers and employees of health and safety in general, and of specific problems in particular.
- In addition, the collection of data allows costs to be calculated, which can increase the likelihood of resources being allocated.
- Similarly, the obvious purpose of safety inspections is to identify areas where improvements are needed.
- Inspections may also affect the organizational safety culture, particularly where employees’ views are sought as part of the inspection.
- In this way, management commitment to safety can be demonstrated, ownership of health and safety can be shared and
- worker morale can be improved by simple improvements being implemented at the time of an inspection.
An employee slipped on a patch of oil on a warehouse floor and was admitted to hospital where they remained for several days. The oil was found close to a stack of pallets that had been left abandoned on the designated pedestrian walkway.
- Outline the legal requirements for reporting the accident to the enforcing authority.
- Identify the possible immediate and root causes of the accident.
- Outline ways in which management could demonstrate their commitment to improving health and safety standards in the workplace following the accident.
- Requirements arising in connection with a defined major injury (hospitalization for more than twenty-four hours) such as the need for a responsible person to notify the enforcing authority.
- Or the incident call center by the quickest practicable means (telephone, fax or email) with a written report to be submitted within ten days of the accident on the approved form (Form 2508).
Immediate causes include:
- Oil leaking onto the floor from equipment or being spilled by an employee;
- The floor remaining in a slippery condition because the spillage was not cleaned up;
- The abandoned pallets blocking the walkway causing the injured person to make a detour;
- Inadequate lighting at the scene of the accident and the employee wearing unsuitable footwear and not paying sufficient attention to where he was putting his feet.
Root causes would include:
- The absence of adequate risk assessments and safe systems of work;
- A failure to introduce procedures for routine maintenance of equipment and for cleaning up spillages;
- Poor warehouse design with inadequate walkways;
- Little training or instruction of employees in those procedures that might have been introduced and
- A failure by management to monitor working conditions in the warehouse to ensure employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Ways in which management might demonstrate their commitment to improving standards of health and safety such as:
- By giving health and safety the same priority as other business objectives;
- Reviewing all risk assessments and introducing changes in control measures where these were seen to be necessary;
- Developing a no blame culture and encouraging employees to report accidents, incidents, and hazards;
- Carrying out a prompt and thorough investigation of accidents, implementing remedial measures and communicating the findings of the investigation to the workforce;
- Consulting employees on health and safety issues and involving them, where possible, in proactive monitoring of working conditions.
- By involving employees in risk assessments & safe system of work.
Identify the advantage & disadvantages of carrying out a health and safety audit of an organization’s activities by:
- Internal auditor
- External auditor
The possible advantages of using an internal auditor for a safety audit of an organization would include:
- Familiarity with the workplace, its tasks and processes and an awareness of what might be practicable for the industry;
- Familiarity with members of the workforce including knowledge of an individual’s qualities and attitude; and
- An audit which was relatively less costly and easier to arrange.
- On the other hand, an internal auditor may not be in possession of recognized auditing skills, may not be up to date with legal requirements and be less likely to be aware of best practice in other organizations.
- They may be subject to pressure from management and the workforce and have time constraints imposed upon him.
- The external auditor is more likely to possess the necessary auditing skills and credibility;
- It will not be inhibited from criticising members of management or the workforce;
- Is more likely to be up to date with legal requirements and best practice in other companies and will view the organization’s performance with a fresh pair of eyes.
- However, he will be disadvantaged in that he is unlikely to be familiar with the workplace, tasks, and processes;
- May have difficulty in obtaining the full cooperation of the workforce;
- Maybe unfamiliar with the industry and seek unrealistic standards and
- May well be more costly than an internal member of staff.
Identify the issues that should be included in a typical workplace accident reporting procedure.
The range of issues that should be included in a typical workplace accident reporting procedure. These might include both internal and external reporting procedures.
- Internal procedures would address issues such as procedures for the completion of the accident book or internal accident forms and persons responsible for informing the next of kin.
- External reporting procedures would address procedures for reporting ·relevant accidents to the enforcing authority under RIDDOR including the identification of persons responsible for making the verbal and written reports;
- Such procedures would also include the use of paper or electronic records;
- Data protection and the security of the records;
- The reporting of accidents to persons working off-site or alone;
- Training of employees in reporting procedures and regular monitoring and
- Review of the effectiveness of the system that had been introduced.