Regulatory compliance alone will not guarantee a safe workplace. Organizations aspiring to leading-edge safety must do more than merely what legislation demands. They need to have safety management systems in place that address the unique hazards and risks of their workplaces, as well as systems to identify and mitigate the safety issues that are not explicitly addressed in regulations and acts.
Occupational safety regulators understand that, despite very comprehensive acts, regulations and codes, they have not identified everything that could cause an incident or an injury.
They do, however, compel employers to go beyond the regulations and “do what it takes” to make a worksite safe with the due diligence, general duty statement “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [OHSA S 25(2)(H)]. Through this statement, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) is acknowledging that employers have the expertise to implement best practices for their specific industry.
When developing a safety management system, two approaches are possible; however, it is a question of putting the cart before the horse or, the horse before the cart.
- Scenario #1 – Meeting Regulatory Compliance
Expend effort, resources time and money to research and/or employ third party expertise to develop policies and procedures that meet regulatory compliance.
- Scenario #2 – Build an effective safety management system first and then test that it is in regulatory compliance.
It takes as much effort in Scenario #2 to create that safe workplace as in Scenario #1 but, once the safety management system is in place, regulatory compliance follows and, with minimal effort. Where an effective safety management system is in place and everything is done right in safety, the demands of the regulations are met naturally.
It is no longer acceptable to simply build a safety management system with the limited purpose of meeting regulatory compliance. For an effective and successful health and safety program, employers must move beyond the bare minimum to engage and keep their valuable workforce.
WSG’s consultants can help organizations who want to improve their existing health and safety system.
Contact us and someone from our team will follow-up with you to learn more about your organization’s health and safety needs.