How Often Should You Review Health and Safety Documentation?
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How often should you review health and safety documentation?

How often should you review health and safety documentation?

If your business has implemented a quality management system, then you will, or should, be on top of your game, as this requirement is an important part of any quality management system.

When it comes to health and safety, it’s my experience that document reviews are infrequent or non-existent, as one Hawke’s Bay company recently found out.

Why review health and safety documentation?

Like rust, your health and safety system should never sleep.  In fact, like your business, it should be evolving and changing, due to the market requirements, legislation, new products, machinery, and other internal and external factors. All this can influence your quality, personnel, H&S, and other business systems.

The H&S processes can change daily, and any change can impact on your process descriptions, e.g., the implementation of new machinery.

When was the last time you introduced a new machine or production process into your business?

  1. Did you carry out a full hazard and risk assessment on the equipment?
  2. Was a hazard plan developed and implemented with the employees involved in the change?
  3. Was a SOP or safe work method developed for the equipment or process?
  4. Were the employees involved trained using the SOP or safe work method?
  5. Was this training recorded?
  6. Was a review date established to see if the SOP was effective and to see if it needed tweaking?

Other proactive reasons to review health and safety documentation is when:

  1. An idea for continuous improvement idea has been lodged by an employee;
  2. There has been an accident or near miss report filed and as part of the incident corrective actions; and/or
  3. The same applies for any product or service non-conformances.

In summary, document management and reviews for many businesses do not happen and is something that is not even considered. Yet, it is these documents that often are the key stone to a business, especially if you are called upon to provide evidence of compliance in a WorkSafe investigation or prosecution, as the above business found out.

Make sure they are still relevant and up to date with the business operations.

Have you ever considered that your systems and supporting documents are the intellectual property of your business and have a commercial value, especially if you are selling your business? An interesting thought, so what value would you place on them?

Please contact us if you would like to discuss.