Supervisors have a general duty to ensure the health and safety of their workers. Conducting a risk assessment enables the supervisor to take the measures necessary to meet this requirement. It provides an opportunity to consider all foreseeable hazards associated with a task and the risks associated with those hazards. This information is then used to establish controls to minimize the risk.
Safe Work Procedure (SWP)
A Safe Work Procedure (SWP) is a step-by-step process of how to safely conduct a task.
Before writing a safe work procedure, a Risk Assessment must be a completed. Once the procedure is written, individuals need to be trained on the procedure and that training needs to be documented.
Deciding whether or not written procedures are required
Please take the following into consideration:
- Requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation or other pertinent regulations
- Findings from the completed Risk Assessment
- Existing controls in place (elimination/substitution and/or engineering controls)
- Severity of potential injuries if safe work procedures aren’t followed (i.e. consequences of an accident)
- Experience level of the workers likely to be assigned to do the task
- The complexity of the task (with increasing complexity, the likelihood of error or missed steps increases)
- Frequency that the task is performed (infrequent or irregular procedures are harder to master)
- Recommendations resulting from previous inspections or incident investigations
Effective, functional safe work procedures require thorough consultation with workers performing the activity. Supervisors must confirm with workers that safety work procedures are realistic and have properly considered the demands of the workplace, both before and after implementation. Procedures that ‘look good on paper’ may require adjustments upon implementation. The following resources are available to assist with the development or review the procedure:
- Contact Safety & Risk Services
- Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC)
- Local Safety Team
- General Safe Work Procedure – Template [WORD]
- Task Specific Training Documentation Template [WORD]
Reviewing Safe Work Procedures
The flowchart below outlines the review process for Safe Work Procedures.