How to Create a Facility Health and Safety Program. PART THREE
We conclude our series on how to create a facility health and safety program with focus on what we refer to “the plan-do-check-act or PDCA cycle”
PDCA: A closer look
Before delving into the details of establishing a robust health and safety program for a facilities organization, it’s important to understand that the program should experience continuous improvement and change. A good model to use when establishing a program with these attributes is the plan-do-check-act or PDCA cycle.
What does PDCA mean?
Plan means to establish objectives and processes required to deliver the desired results.
Do means to carry out the objectives developed in the Plan phase.
Check means to evaluate the data and results gathered from the do phase. This phase is very important because this is where effectiveness of our objectives and processes is measured.
In the Check phase, data is compared to the expected outcomes to see any similarities and differences. These similarities and differences identify problems, non-conformities, continuous improvement opportunities, inefficiencies, and other issues. In this phase, managers can improve the process by acting to investigate the root cause of these issues. Once the root causes are discovered, they are eliminated by modifying the process.
At the end of the Act phase, the process should have better instructions, and objectives should be clearer and more effective. After modifying the process and objectives, managers start the cycle over with a revised plan and an improved baseline, enabling a circular generator of continuous improvement.
Putting PDCA to work
How does the PDCA cycle pertain to establishing a health and safety program for a facilities organization? Establishing a robust health and safety system requires a good plan. The elements of such a plan include: identifying requirements or standards to adhere to; establishing a mechanism to identify, assess, and control hazards and risk; and establishing a process to manage change.
The safety policy is the course of action the facilities organization uses to project the safety, health and wellbeing of employees, tenants, and stakeholders. With respect to requirements and standards, the organization must have a process in place to ensure the health and safety system includes the applicable requirements for the locale in which they do business and any corporate standards that might apply to their location.
As a part of the plan, maintaining an up-to-date record of applicable regulatory and corporate requirements ensures that the facilities organization is meeting its obligation for health and safety from regulatory and corporate perspectives.
The cornerstone of a strong health and safety system includes hazard and risk identification, assessment, and control. It empowers the organization to reduce workplace injuries and eliminate fatalities. The hazard and risk process is systematic, based on tools to identify safety and industrial hygiene hazards and to evaluate the criticality of the risks.
Managing change is a standard and consistent method used for administering changes, whether temporary or permanent, to people, processes and property. It’s a systematic approach aimed at ensuring the continued safety of the workforce throughout the process.
If any aspect of the Plan phase of PDCA should be highlighted, it is management of change. Accident reports show that hasty decisions made under pressure without a balanced evaluation have been at the root of many serious problems.
Time to think in a disciplined manner is not time wasted. And if your management of change process is efficient, it will not unduly impede progress on the rare occasion when it is a true emergency.
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