Good planning and effective management are the key elements in developing and maintaining a health and safety management system for a safe and healthy work environment. It is important to consider the different needs of all your employees so that health and safety planning and management are fully inclusive of their diverse needs. It is good practice to ask all employees, during their induction period into a new job and at regular job review meetings, if they have any particular health or safety requirements – whether or not you are aware of any disability.
Developing and implementing this policy involves:
- Risk assessment;
- Control measures to address identified risks ;
- Consultation with employees with disabilities, and with sources of relevant expert advice;
- Implementation of safe and healthy practices;
- Ensuring that the safety policies and procedures you have adopted are actually being implemented
- Keeping our health and safety policy updated through regular reviews. It is good practice to have employees with disabilities represented on your health and safety committee so their concerns are always considered as you update your policy and undertake regular safety checks and drills.
- There may be particular challenges to address to ensure that employees with disabilities can exit their place of work safely in the event of an emergency.
- Consulting your staff members individually and develop and document personal emergency egress plans (PEEPs) for individuals who require them.
Different Disabilities present different challenges
When developing and implementing an inclusive Health and Safety policy, consider the range of challenges an hazards that may be relevant:
- Mobility impairment affects the range or speed of movement to varying degrees.
- Sensory impairment affects the ability to gather information through the senses such as sight or hearing.
- Cognitive or mental health impairment affects the capacity to process information and react appropriately.
- With hidden disabilities, the stress of an emergency situation may trigger a condition such as asthma or heart problems.
Bear in mind that some staff members may have hidden or undisclosed disabilities, so you must assume that disability is a factor in your health and safety planning.
You should keep written records of risk assessments. These records should be the result of consultation, include inputs from competent personnel and be updated regularly for health and safety inspection purposes. (HSA)