In order to ensure efficient health and safety management within your company, planning and developing a structured model will be necessary to ensure that the company analyses and monitors risks at the workplace.
In the definition of an efficient management of health and safety regulations, we cannot rely on the "Single Text for Safety at Work", or the Legislative Decree no. 81/2008, which reorders, within a single text, all health and safety regulations applicable to workers at the workplace.
The Leg. Decree 81/2008 suggests setting up a management system, which is able to have a broader view of your organization and that improves the prevention and protection service accomplishing in an easier way the objectives; it allows you to:
- assess the risks and identify prevention and protection measures;
- control risks through the identification of prevention and protection measures;
- establish objectives and programmes;
- define the roles and responsibilities of the participants involved;
- prepare and organise the necessary documents;
- managing emergencies;
- periodically verify the effectiveness of the system.
The role of the head of the prevention and protection service (RSPP) is of particular importance, which is to be identified among the figures inside the company, or in an external consultant. Risk assessment is a non-delegable responsibility of the employer and should be carried out with the assistance of the RSPP, the advice of the competent doctor and the consultation of the Workers' Safety Representative (SGM). The employer is obliged to record the results in a special Risk Assessment Document (DVR).
Another significant role in terms of prevention is staff training. Leg. Decree 81/08 underlines this further element and therefore the importance of carrying out specific and targeted training, as it is also defined in the text of the State-Region Agreements of December 2011. The text in fact, provides courses aimed at individual specific business tasks, representatives and managers, with periodic updates defined according to the level of business risk.
The risk at work by its nature can never be eliminated, however it is your obligation to control it and minimise it. To do this, you will need to take appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of workers, through measures of:
- Prevention: a good preventive system is a solid basis on which to develop the entire structure of company safety. By prevention we mean the set of measures to be implemented in order to anticipate the potential development of a hazard; the main stages are essentially two: assessment of possible risks and design of a genuine plan to monitor the maintenance of safety conditions;
- Protection: equipment and instrumentation with the aim of minimising damage resulting from risks to health and safety at work. The use of protective equipment has legal obligations, as in the case of PPE, or personal protective equipment, defined as "any equipment designed to be worn and held by the worker with a view to protecting him against one or more risks likely to threaten his safety or health at work and any accessories or accessories designed for that purpose".
Regarding the objectives, they must be defined within an agenda containing the following topics:
- Health protocol: who is to take the medical examinations and with what deadlines;
- training plan: who should attend the courses, what type and when;
- compulsory periodic checks: the facilities and the equipment which must be subjected to compulsory checks by external institutions on specific deadlines;
- the meeting of the prevention and protection service: set a suitable period for the annual meeting.
The implementation of a plan of safety and health efficiencies of your company requires the elaboration of a cohesive and conscious plan among the various business figures, in whose collaboration everyone must best play their role. Even though the current regulations present a fairly clear overview of the obligations and the necessary measures, it is essential to know which figures cover certain roles in the specific company. It is therefore crucial that you know which people play the following roles in your company and what tasks and responsibilities they have to take on:
- the employer: that is, the person who holds the employment relationship with the workers in the company and who exercises the decision-making and spending powers;
- the manager: is the person who implements the directives of the employer by organizing the work and overseeing it;
- the representative: is the person who oversees the work and ensures the implementation of the directives received, checking the correct implementation by workers and exercising a functional power of initiative;
- the worker: is the person who carries out the work, in the context of the organisation of an employer;
- the Workers' Safety Representative (RLS/RLST): this is a role that is accessed by designation (in the case of company trade union representatives) or by direct election by workers;
- the Head of Prevention and Protection Service (RSPP): plays a key role in achieving safety objectives;
- the competent doctor: is the reference figure for the proper management of corporate prevention.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last chance you have left to counter the so-called "residual risks", that is, those risks of your activity that you have not been able to eliminate or reduce to levels that are not dangerous for workers. The technical characteristics of a PPE can be summarised in the following two points: it must have the genuine EC marking; it must protect against the specific risk for which it was deemed necessary. The Single Text on Safety at Work sets out specific requirements for personal protective equipment and provides that they must:
- be appropriate to the risks to be prevented (without constituting a greater risk);
- be adapted to the conditions prevailing at the workplace;
- take into account the workers' ergonomics and health needs;
- be compatible with each other, if the risks are more than one, and if the simultaneous use of more than one PPE is necessary;
- easy to wear and to remove in case of an emergency.
Then, to better control the management system it is necessary to prepare and organize some of the following documents:
- The risk assessment document;
- internal emergency plan;
- operational plan;
- working instructions and operating procedures;
- machinery manuals for use;
- minutes of periodic meetings;
- certificates of competence of workers.
You will need to anticipate possible emergency situations that may occur within your company and be ready to handle them appropriately.
To make sure that you have foreseen and controlled any event that could pose a risk to the health and safety of workers and to be ready to safeguard the safety of employees and limit the consequences of an accident, make sure you have not overlooked any of the following steps:
- drawing up the emergency plan;
- appoint emergency personnel;
- organise the emergency room;
- plan periodic exercises.
For more information, please visit the INAIL website.