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When you’re planning your workplace safety program, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. You want to reduce accidents by X amount, you want to record Y participation numbers in a given safety training. But if you don’t have a safety strategy when you start the planning process, you may well lose the forest for the trees.
Here’s a closer look at why you ought to build an HSE strategy before you start crafting your safety program and the benefits of having one.
Health, safety, and environment (HSE) is a version of the acronym EHS, sometimes also rearranged as SHE. All three mean exactly the same thing.
Like EHS, HSE refers to the set of rules, regulations, standards, and programs designed to ensure the health and safety of employees at an organization. It can be the safety program at an organization or the department which is responsible for ensuring health and safety. It aims to prevent safety and health incidents at work as well as potential environmental hazards through employee education and safe work practices.
An HSE strategy is thus the systematic approach your organization takes to ensuring employee safety. It frames your safety goals and guides your safety team to ensure a universal safety approach.
Sure, you could have a list of rules and call it a day, but that would miss the whole point of an HSE strategy.
An HSE strategy is so much more than a list of rules and a supply of personal protective equipment. A strategy allows you to think about safety in the context of your organization, as well as your business goals and your primary objective for your program.
Once you know your business context, you can think about what safety means for your unique team. This allows you to make smarter strategic decisions to develop a safety program that actually achieves your goals.
You should have an HSE strategy before you develop your safety program, as it will offer a roadmap to develop an effective safety program. If you need somewhere to get started, think about your yearly safety goals. These will serve as the endpoints for your strategy that year.
From there, you can break the goals down into smaller, incremental goals, and map them over a given time period. Think about what you need to do to reach those incremental goals. What needs to change? Where can you build on pre-existing efforts?
A successful safety strategy comes from the right combination of critical thinking, attention to detail, and foreplanning. The sooner you have a strategy in hand, the easier it will be to craft your safety program to deliver real results.
If you’re in the process of crafting an HSE strategy, we’re here to make the process a little easier. Make sure to check out our blog for more great posts, like this one on workplace safety strategies you can use every day.
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