In today’s market place there is an emphasis on rebuilding or redefining companies and organizations so they are lean, cost effective, and capable of competing in the world economy. As businesses change to meet this new challenge it is essential that steps be taken to eliminate or control the hazards in the work place to eliminate accidents and the waste that follows them. If a business is to be competitive all waste must be controlled and eliminated. In this blog entry, I will highlight the management approach to controlling hazards.
The management approach to controlling and eliminating hazards is not a new one; however, it does not seem to get the attention it deserves. This may be due to the impact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has on the way U.S. businesses prevent accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is compliance oriented and implements the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires businesses to provide, in as much as possible, a safe and healthful working environment for the employees of the organization. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations spell out the requirements of a compliance based program. This compliance approach is directly opposed to a management approach.
Management inefficiencies and deficiencies are the primary cause of hazards that lead to accidents and near misses. Logically, this means that a management approach to controlling these hazards will be the most effective way to correct inefficiencies and deficiencies within the management systems that cause hazards. Management should care about controlling and eliminating these hazards because the costs of accidents and near misses can increase the price of products or services provided by an organization. This often leads to increased cost of products or services, reduced profits, and lost customers.
The way in which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides for the safety of the U.S. labor force is but one way in which an organization can prevent accidents. In recent years the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has worked on a management application; however, this is in the preliminary stages. A second and more result oriented approach is the management of hazards through the use of current management system in place within the organization. Hazard Control Management is what this approach is often called. There are organizations who have advocated this approach for many years. The National Safety Management Society and the International Board for the Certification of Safety Managers (former Board of Hazard Control Management) are two of the more well-known.
In addition to the organizations that advocate a Hazard Control Management program, there are professionals who have written about this approach. Harold Gordon, former Executive Director of the Board of Hazard Control Management, Jim Tweed Executive Director of the International Board for Certification of Safety Managers, and the late William C. Pope are three of the better known. In spite of the written works that have expounded this approach and the organizations that support it, there is little said or done about Hazard Control Management.
What is Hazard Control Management? It is the use of current management systems within an organization to identify, control or eliminate the hazards that would cause accidents within the workplace. You could expand this answer to include waste from bad quality. This approach uses the language and applications that management is most familiar with. Management also understands how to control business with management systems and in turn will better understand the use of these systems to prevent accidents. This is better than what is occurring in many businesses where the manager does not fully understand how and why the safety program within the organization works.
I am most familiar with the book “A Management Approach To Hazard Control Management,” written by Harold Gordon. In section one “What is Hazard Control Management” he introduces the reader to the approach of management of hazard control and the principals that make it such a dynamic approach. Controlling or eliminating hazards through management control can make a real difference in how a business controls and eliminates the hazards that cause accidents and their costs. These costs can be in medical care, compensation, lost business, damaged equipment or perhaps even damage to the business’ reputation. World class organizations can’t afford these costs any longer. If you haven’t already please look into Hazard Control Management today.