Can your staff eat your health and safety management system?
The success of your health and safety management system depends on how well it is used by your staff. It doesn’t matter whether your system is paper, spreadsheet, software based, or some frankenstein-esque mix of all three – If your system isn’t used by you staff, you may as well not have it at all.
To ensure staff use your h&s system, it needs to be well made, and easy for them to consume. In this regard, it’s a lot like serving up a big burger to your staff. A burger that is well made, with the patty, tomatoes, and cheese lined up and in order will be enjoyed by your staff much easier than a burger that is sloppily made, with the fillings slipping out the side and onto the floor.
Just like a toothpick is used to keep a well made burger lined up and easy to consume,
tasks are used to make a management system easy to use, engaging and effective. Tasks link the different workflows of a health & safety management system to the day to day roles of your staff. To ensure your management system is tasty, you should ensure that tasks can be assigned, notified, escalated and reviewed easily.
The most important functionality of any task management system lies in its ability to take one of your health and safety workflows, like incident investigation, and divide it into tasks that can then be assigned to different staff members based on your business structure and processes. Prioritising these tasks is also important. If the incident investigated was a stubbed toe, it doesn’t need to be given the same importance or even assigned to the same person that would deal with a more severe investigation. When assigning tasks to staff, the task management system should balance the load and not overload any one staff member.
Notifications work by letting staff members know when it’s their time to shine within a workflow and should also consist of timely reminders to review aspects of a health and safety programme such as training competencies. These notifications need to be easy to digest, no-one likes to be inundated with alerts at
seemingly random times of the day. While urgent notifications need to be addressed immediately, your task management system should bundle less important notifications and serve them at an agreed upon time so that they can be effectively managed by the user.
After your task management system has successfully assigned tasks and your staff have been sent timely notifications, what happens if someone is too busy, forgetful, or negligent and drops the ball? Your task management system needs to have a way to escalate tasks up a chain, or to notify other people if the task has not been done. This is basically the re-assigning of responsibilities and should ideally be achieved automatically as not to increase any operational overhead.
To create operational efficiencies within your task system, you need to be able to audit and analyse how tasks have been performed. By making good use of the reviewing functionality, all of the task management processes related to assignment, notifications and escalations can be streamlined in order to keep them relevant as your business processes change and grow.