Most Employers and Safety Managers are aware of the legal requirement to provide a level of suitable supervision, if you didn’t, you do now! Regardless of what we do with regards to the line of work, Health and Safety Laws require Supervision to be provided, however no H&S Law will not specify exactly how or what that supervision will be.
When I deliver training, I go a stage further and add to supervision the word Monitoring. For both moral and legal reasons Monitoring staff with regards to H&S is an absolute must, allow me to explain…
Lets say, I was a machine operator and every morning I was required to pre inspect my machine prior to use. I would have to, after completing these checks, complete paperwork to confirm what I had checked and its condition. Now, it is quite common practice, to tick the boxes and get on with work, not even doing the checks correctly and carrying out this practice over a long period of time.
Two things to look at with this scenario
1. The human- A human will at some point without doubt take a shortcut, if an employee realises that a shortcut taken was not discovered the likelihood of repeating that shortcut increases after each time and then becomes a habit. Leading to the machine never being checked and being operated with potential faults and risking lives.
2. The Law- If this situation was to unfold into an accident, could you prove that you provided a suitable amount of supervision? Whilst paperwork can become a burden, when was the last time you checked that the checks are being completed correctly? Could you prove you did?
As a Training Provider, all our instructors regardless of how many years they have taught for will be vetted, we will attend one of their courses to ensure that standards are high, even this morning I audited the paperwork of a trainer, to ensure compliance. We complete compliance checks to maintain standards and to ensure staff are being vigilant. Why should you Monitor your staff for H&S? Well for the same reasons – maintain high standards of H&S and to ensure staff are vigilant to ensure H&S is a priority thus prevent accidents!
A secondary reason to prove legal compliance, if an HSE inspector ever came calling you may have enough evidence to show that you did all you reasonably could to provide supervision and prevent an accident.
As H&S Consultants, we are required by our clients to audit areas of work to ensure compliance and quality of H&S work- to check that the things that should be being done are actually being done. When was the last time you checked that the checks were being done correctly? If it has been a considerable time, can we rely on everyone doing what they are supposed to how they are supposed to do it?
Remember it is a legal requirement to provide supervision & monitoring, not only will it help with legal compliance, but more importantly it will help prevent accidents occurring.