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Safety File Index Standardisation

Focusing on safe execution of high hazard jobs

Ensuring zero harm has always been a dual responsibility between employer and vendor and consistent safety files indexes provide all accountable stakeholders greater opportunity to focus resources on risk mitigation activities rather than checking a variety of boxes in an effort to sequence information.

However, the compilation of such safety files can be tedious and time-consuming and with the compilation and management hereof, outweighing the execution of a project – subject to the complexity and context of the project. This seems especially true for smaller projects where the client is insistent on hefty safety files that require extensive resources.

Preparing a safety file may take weeks whereafter it has to go through rigorous approvals that can contribute to further delays before the project can even commence.

Limited knowledge; immature safety systems; and the variety of organisational specific information sequence preferences are of the biggest challenges and time consumers when developing a safety file – as indicated by experiences in various industries, over a long period of time.

There is understandable pressure from business to reduce the time it takes to approve safety files to allow for a faster turnaround time for the work to commence, therefore, it is not surprising that employing companies mitigate this risk by prescribing the sequence or index in which information is submitted in a safety file. Although the company specific standard improves the internal monitoring efficiency, it simultaneously results in a counterproductive scramble from vendors to align with the various company standards as required.

A mature safety system requires knowledge and consistency – which can only be gained over time and through trial and error in the case where organizations are new to such requirements. In practice it then becomes increasingly challenging to develop and maintain a standardised safety system within a diverse environment of preference when it comes to collating the required information into a safety file, further complicated by the fact that safety file indexes can differ significantly from one company to the next and in some instances even from one site to another within the same company.

It is not uncommon for vendors to duplicate the same safety file, in order to submit the same information in a different sequence to another department or site, however vendors still spend more time checking the boxes of required safety file indexes than the contents while organisations seem to drive checklist compliance rather than developing practical, and even automated, solutions such as the ComplyWorks safety system.

Safety information management solutions varies between manual and Excel based tool to automated cloud solutions. In working with vendors and safety systems over many years, vendors more frequently continue to compile safety files with fragmented resources, aiming only to comply to a prescribed safety file index with the objective of starting work as soon as possible, thus the safety file indexing is regarded more of an administrative function to ensure that all boxes are ticked, rather than a systemic tool that allows for potential vendors to carefully consider the requirements and value thereof.

The real solution to labour intensive safety compliance preparation is a cross industry consensus on a best practice safety file index amongst all sectors that will benefit all stakeholders. Hiring organisations will still have a standardised framework for effective information management, while vendors will be able to develop practical safety systems equivalent with such a standardised safety file index. The time and cost saving on vendors’ side, can be channelled towards compiling and transferring the information within the Method Statement, Risk Assessments and Risk Mitigations across the board.

A best practice safety file index should consider how information can be stored and managed within a safety system but also allows for functional compilation and reviews.

Ideally, it should be a practical reference file with easy access to checklists and templates that are used to effectively execute daily risk mitigation and safety activities on site.

Whether considering the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or the Mine Health and Safety Act, a safety file must consist of

  1. Project / Maintenance information;

  2. Company information;

  3. Health and Safety Policies, Plans, Procedures, Representatives and Committees;

  4. Risk Mitigation;

  5. Legal Appointments;

  6. Individuals’ information;

  7. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);

  8. Emergency Preparedness;

  9. Dangerous Work Permits;

  10. Equipment and Mat

  11. erials;

  12. Sub-Contractor Compliancy;

  13. Toolbox Talks; and

  14. Site specific Templates

Using the sequence above as a Safety File Indexing framework, will promote

  • consistent categorising of information across all sectors,

  • adequate flexibility to omit or add requirements under each requirement.

  • submission of unique information relevant to the work, project, or site within a consistent safety file index.

  • efficiency benefits all stakeholders from the smallest enterprise to the largest employer organisation through transparency and

  • simplistic alignment of safety systems with all their clients’ safety file requirements.

Consistency simplifies the management of information for all stakeholders and the effort saved through cross industry standardisation can be utilised to educate and manage safe practices on site.

Meeting all the different compliance and operational requirements according to your organization, worksite and industry/governmental regulators, is challenging in the multifaceted world of operations.

ComplyWorks provides dynamic solutions to streamline your processes and help you meet your compliance and operations goals.

  • Save on Operational Costs and Fines - Create efficiencies with your compliance and health, safety and environment (HSE) management to see reduced costs and less fines.

  • Less Paperwork & Less Administration Time- Save your administration team from copious amounts of paperwork and repetitive tasks.

  • An Easier Experience Equals Less Frustration- Empower your suppliers to take control of their compliance through our user-friendly solution – reducing frustrations.

  • Worksite Management Solution- Managing your global worksites remotely is not new, but the ease of use our Active Compliance Monitor® provides is.

ComplyWorks’ Worksite Management Solution allows you to combine the management of regulatory demands with the unique requirements for your specific project, worksite, location, division or safety file. You can even choose what a “worksite” is – enabling the solution to fit the requirements of your entire operation. Each worksite is organized in an Active Compliance Monitor® (ACM) for global capability and local deployment.

  • Save Time & Reduce On-site Delays- Require suppliers and employees to complete training for a specific worksite before they arrive on-site – accelerating projects.

  • Speed & Accuracy- Use our Active Compliance Monitor® to increase the speed and accuracy of your workforce and asset management.

  • A More Transparent Operation- Maintain communication with your employees and suppliers so they have the details they need to work safely at their specific worksite.

  • Less Fatigue & Fewer Violations- Give your team a solution to easily manage the compliance of your entire operation – leading to less supplier fatigue and less violations.

  • Goodbye Paperwork- ComplyWorks' Active Compliance Monitor® integrates document uploading and storage so your on-site and off-site teams have less paperwork – reducing your administration costs.

  • Stay In Control- Avoid hiring unqualified suppliers so you are always in control of your global operations and risk managem

  • ent. With ComplyWorks you're able to centralize control and decentralize decision making.

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and it is time to collectively focus safety on execution rather than administration.

Leonie Van Der Loo is the General Manager & BSA of Complyworks. ComplyWorks, a Veriforce company, is a global leader in supply chain risk management. Since the company's inception in 2004, we have expanded across Canada and globally, while retaining our focus on our clients.

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