Health & Safety Plan
All employers are responsible for preparing a written Health and Safety Plan for the workplace, regardless of its size.
What is a Workplace Health & Safety Plan?
A workplace Health and Safety Plan is the basis for good occupational health and safety to promote the improved wellbeing, health and safety of all who work there.
The plan should be a living document that is followed in the daily operations of workplaces. Therefore, it is important that the presentation of the plan is clear and accessible to managers and staff.
The plan’s purpose is to give a good overview of the risks that exist in the workplace and how they have been dealt with through prevention. It should also include a plan for further actions which must be taken within the workplace, so it is possible to prevent the risks or to reduce them as much as possible.
The content of the plan must be presented to employees, and it is recommended that workplaces consider whether it is necessary to have it available in languages other than Icelandic to ensure that everyone in the workplace can familiarize themselves with its content.
It is recommended that a workplace Health and Safety Plan is a joint project of the employer, management and employees. When the preparation of the workplace Health and Safety Plan requires skills that the employer or their employees do not have at their disposal, the employer must seek assistance from authorized service providers.
Risk assessment includes the analysis and assessment of the work environment regarding the safety, wellbeing and health of employees, along with a summary of the results of the risk assessment. The risk assessment is a systematic analysis of all aspects of the work environment and the classification of risk factors in terms of severity for employees.
Health Protection and Prevention Plan
A Health Protection Plan is an overview of the actions that have been taken or need to be taken based on the risk assessment so that the safety, health and wellbeing of employees can be promoted. It is necessary to take into account both the tasks of employees performed within the traditional workplace and those performed outside of it. E.g. at the work site, private homes of employees working remotely, private homes of service users or elsewhere.
When creating a Health Protection Plan, an overview of the actions that have already been taken in accordance with the risk assessment of the workplace must be made to respond to the risk factors that exist in the work environment. It is also necessary to present a timed prevention plan of the actions that need to be taken in order to prevent or reduce risk factors in the work environment.
In order to eradicate circumstances or a situation that can arise in workplaces and threaten the safety, health and wellbeing of employees, it is necessary to state what actions should be taken. This may include measures to respond to bullying, harassment or violence in the workplace and any type of chemical contamination despite preventive measures.
A description of the necessary actions for first aid, fire prevention and workplace evacuation must be included in the Health Protection Plan.
It is important to emphasize general actions before taking action to protect individual employees.
It is recommended to prioritize the improvements that need to be made due to risks in the workplace based on their severity. The probability that something will occur is then assessed and how much damage the risk that is being prevented or reduced would actually cause. In this way, risk factors that can have serious consequences for employees and are highly likely to occur need to be dealt with quickly, while it may be possible to devote more time to embarking on other remedies that address less serious risk factors.
The plan shall include a description of how the risk is to be met, such as through the organization of work, education, training, design, choice of equipment, materials or compounds or the use of safety and protective equipment.
It is always necessary to check whether it is possible to prevent the risk. An example is designing the work environment so that working at a height becomes unnecessary. If that is not possible, it is necessary to look at how the risk can be reduced by, for example, replacing one risk with another that is less dangerous. An example is when mild and environmentally friendly cleaning agents are used instead of substances that can cause health damage to employees or pollute the environment. It may also be necessary to reduce the risk through preventive measures, such as making a communication agreement in the workplace to prevent difficult communication that can lead to bullying, harassment or violence.
Review of the Workplace Health and Safety Plan
The workplace Health and Safety Plan should be reviewed regularly in collaboration with the employer, management and employees. It is then necessary to assess whether the preventive measures that have already been taken still have the desired effect in preventing the risk that they were intended to prevent or reduce its effect. In that regard, it must be borne in mind that prevention measures can change or become obsolete over time.
The plan must always be revised when there are changes in the work environment, work arrangements or production methods that change its assumptions occur. It also needs to be reviewed in the event of an incident or situation that may threaten the safety, health or wellbeing of employees. Examples of this are work accidents, mishaps, bullying, harassment or violence.