Did you know that many accidents occur due to lack of or failure in systems of work? Therefore, implementing safe systems of work is an important part of work safety, and this guide will teach you everything you need to know about SSoW. In addition, this guide will discuss what counts as a safe system of work, how to write one, and what needs to be done to monitor after implementing your SSoW effectively.
What is a Safe System of Work?
A Safe System of Work (SSoW) is a procedure or set of procedures designed to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, visitors, and anyone else who may be exposed to risks while carrying out work activities. With it, employers can reduce or remove the risks involved in an operation.
In Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE), SSoW is a standardized practice to help ensure that employees don’t get hurt while carrying out their work. It’s also known as a Work Method Statement (WMS), Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS), or Job Safety Analysis (JSA).
SSoW should be created for all tasks carried out in the workplace, no matter how big or small. Every company should have its SSoW, as the risks will differ from business to business. For example, construction companies will have different SSoW than office-based companies.
Why is an SSoW Important?
It’s the law- The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to provide systems of work that are planned, organized, performed, maintained, and revised as appropriate to be safe and without health risk.
To reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace- A large percentage of accidents occur due to lack of or failure in systems of work. Therefore, implementing safe systems of work is an important part of work safety.
To improve productivity: When employees feel safe in their workplace, they are more likely to be productive. In addition, SSoWs can help to improve the efficiency of work tasks.
To protect your business reputation: A workplace accident can damage your company’s reputation, leading to a loss of customers and revenue.
How to Write a Safe System of Work?
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of SSoW, let’s look at how to write one. Keep in mind that each SSoW guideline differs per industry and organizational needs. However, the general steps in creating them are as follows:
- Analyze all tasks
- Define hazards
- Identify safe precautions
- Communicate with the company
- Implement and monitor the system
Analyze All Tasks
Before writing an SSoW, you need to know what tasks will be carried out in the workplace. To do this, you will need to analyze all work activities. You can do this by observing the work being carried out, asking employees about their tasks, and reviewing company documentation.
Once you have analyzed all tasks, you need to identify any potential hazards associated with each task. Hazards could potentially cause damages or injuries to something or someone:
- Unchecked equipment: Different jobs use different equipment. Poorly maintained or -inspected equipment can pose a hazard to employees.
- Inadequate lighting: Poor lighting can lead to accidents and injuries such as fatigue, headaches, and eye strain.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Slippery or cluttered floors are a common cause of slips, trips, and falls. These accidents can cause serious injuries, including fractures and concussions.
- Weather: The weather is an uncontrollable hazard that can cause various accidents and injuries, from slips and falls to heat exhaustion. It can also cause illnesses such as flu and colds.
- Chemicals: Chemicals are used in many workplaces, from office cleaning products to industrial chemicals. If they’re not used properly, they can cause skin irritations, respiratory problems, and even death.
- Electricity sources: Electricity is used in almost every workplace. If it’s not used safely, it can cause fires, explosions, and electrocution.
- Heights: When tasks are carried out at heights, there’s a risk of employees falling and being seriously injured or killed.
Identify Safe Precautions
After identifying the hazards, you must take precautions to remove or reduce their risks. These are called safe work practices. Safe work practices are also procedures that ensure employees can work safely.
Here are some examples of safe work practices:
- Wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE): PPE is clothing or equipment that protects employees from hazards. Gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats are common examples of PPEs.
- Using the correct tools and equipment: Employees should only use tools and equipment that are fit for purpose and in good working order.
- Carrying out regular maintenance: All equipment should be regularly maintained to ensure safety.
- Working in pairs: Some tasks are too dangerous to carry out alone. Employees should work in pairs for these tasks to help each other if something goes wrong.
- Taking breaks: Employees should take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
Communicate With the Company
Once you have identified the hazards and put in place safe work practices, you need to communicate this information to the company. This can also be done by writing an SSoW document or creating a presentation.
The SSoW document should include:
- A list of all tasks that will be carried out in the workplace.
- A list of all hazards associated with each task.
- A list of all safe work practices that have been put in place to remove or reduce the risks.
- The name and contact details of the person responsible for monitoring the SSoW.
Monitoring the SSoW
Once you have implemented the SSoW, you need to monitor it to ensure it is effective. This can be done by:
- Observing employees carrying out their tasks.
- Asking employees about their experiences of using the SSoW.
- Reviewing any accidents or near-misses that have occurred.
- Make changes to the SSoW if necessary.
How DATAMYTE Can Help
To implement and monitor your SSoW guidelines, you can use DATAMYTE and its Digital Clipboard software to ensure employee safety and compliance with legislation. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can create an entire SSoW workflow that features tools and forms that will help you conduct inspections on the go.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard will also let you see if your SSoW guidelines are being implemented as intended. You can then upload and share your findings with everyone on your team. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is only available on the desktop browser. However, the workflow and checklist you create from it will be available on all devices.
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can:
- Keep track of hazards in the workplace.
- Get real-time alerts when an employee identifies a hazard.
- Assign tasks to specific employees.
- Monitor the progress of each task.
- Receive notifications when a task is completed.
- Check if the SSoW guidelines are being followed.
- Make changes to the SSoW guidelines if necessary.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a powerful tool that can help you create and monitor a Safe System of Work that complies with all the relevant legislation. Try it today!
By following these steps, you can write a safe system of work that will help to protect employees from accidents and injuries. So remember, it’s important to communicate the SSoW to all employees and to monitor it regularly that way, you can be sure it is effective and keeps everyone safe.