Safety management system should be simple and effective

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Known as Q7 Site and Q7 Mobile, the product is aimed at residential main contractors and subcontractors. It complements CSM’s third product, the Q7 Commercial pack for subcontractors in the commercial construction sector.
The system’s resource pack consists of easy-to-use water-resistant signage, induction cards and information, and three simple registers contained in a weatherproof satchel.

Mr Sexton says CSM’s comprehensive research indicated that, to be effective, a safety management system needs to fulfil certain criteria.
First, it must promote the desired behaviour to achieve the objective, namely a safe working culture and, consequently, efficient, profitable working.
“The real desired objective needs to be understood for any system to work. Other systems concentrate on avoiding prosecution as the objective. Q7 acknowledges and recognises workers as valuable, irreplaceable human beings,” Mr Sexton says.
“It uses the absence of harm, and it focuses on ensuring the worker appreciates this regard for their safety,” he says.

Second, it must be user-friendly. “If a system is too onerous to use, it won’t be used. Similarly, if it is too easy and ‘light’ there will be little value apportioned to it and it won’t be used. Q7 has the balance just right.”
Third, it must be measurable and archiveable. “If a system is not measurable, the user has no way of knowing if it is being used or is actually working. Also, the user has no way of proving to someone else that the system has been used.

“In addition, without the facility to archive the record of use of the system, the historical record of your efforts is lost.”
Mr Sexton, a civil engineer, has been working in the health and safety industry for the past 11 years. CSM clients include big names in the construction and manufacturing industry, including the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Property Services, ESP Technologies, Generation Homes, Hallmark Homes, Highmark Homes, Jensen Steel Fabricators, Signature Homes and Triodent.

Recently, Fletchers endorsed the Q7 Commercial system as an approved plan for managing the health and safety aspects of earthquake recovery work in Canterbury.
Mr Sexton says operating a safe workplace not only prevents accidents, but also enhances and benefits the operator’s business — and is neither difficult nor expensive to achieve.
The consequences of not investing in health and safety can be devastating to workers and the company. In contrast, the best direct product of all the time and money invested in health and safety is “nothing” — no accidents, no injuries.

“My vision is to see the Q7 as being the benchmark for all health and safety systems in New Zealand, and that everyone who approaches a Q7 site — including Department of Labour inspectors — will think to themselves ‘this is more than likely to be a safe site’.”
Mr Sexton says the Government’s Health and Safety Action Plan for the construction industry specifically identifies the need for robust health and safety systems to promote safer workplaces.

CSM believes that the Q7 systems fall in line with that requirement. “The Action Plan also identified a lack of leadership in health and safety as a contributory factor to the poor performance of the industry sector.”

CSM is due to work with the Construction Safety Council on projects to progress the Government’s Action Plan.