24 Oct 2018

Health and Safety Management Systems made as easy as child’s play

Lee Thompson Construction Regional Health and Safety Facilitator

Ever looked at your Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) and been blown away by its contexts, leaving you bewildered like a child wondering how Father Christmas gets down the chimney, asking yourself how you stay compliant to it? Well, here in Distribution, we’ve been working hard this past year and believe we’ve created a database that is as easy as child’s play to use, helping us comply with our Health and Safety Management System. 

First of all, let me give you a little background information on how and why this database was created. I would love to say it started when two great minds came together, but no, it was two simple minds who  shared a passion for health and safety (don’t worry, this isn’t the start of a love story). Those two simple minds were of mine and Leigh Powney, a fellow health and safety professional within Distribution.

I started working with Leigh in June 2017 when I joined Distribution after working on our main site for many years. Leigh was one of the first to welcome me to the team with his strong Welsh accent (I was expecting an Irish accent with him being based in Ireland).

You could tell from his voice and our conversations, he was as passionate about health and safety as I was. We immediately hit it off, creating a good working relationship as we looked at how we could embed our HSMS within Distribution while also generating a good health and safety culture. To do this, we had to establish what the team knew about our HSMS and what they were doing to comply.

Now, for those with little knowledge of the distribution side of British Steel, in addition to supplying stock, our service centres are also responsible for performing additional product processing such as shot blasting and cut-to-length, as requested by our customers. Our distribution network is spread throughout the UK and Ireland and it soon became apparent to myself and Leigh that each area would benefit from training on our HSMS. Although all areas were complying with our HSMS, each area was doing it differently. This gave Leigh and I the idea to create a SharePoint - a SharePoint that was:

• User-friendly to all
• had everyone recording and reporting in the same format
• gave all users access to information within 4 clicks of a mouse
• gave everyone an overview of each business
• kept everyone compliant to our HSMS

A year on and this has led to the birth of the HSMS on a SharePoint. A database that has received great feedback from users and so far delivered everything it was designed for. Users can now access data within 4 simple clicks of a mouse, which in turn speeds up the process, and it’s a great tool for external or internal auditing. We believe our database is that user-friendly that managing it is child’s play.

How the SharePoint was born

We realise not everyone is an intellectual Ian or academic Alice, so the SharePoint had to be set out in such a way that it allowed users to access or upload data with as fewer clicks of a mouse as possible. 

The body of the SharePoint was created on Microsoft 365 and splits into the 15 principles of our HSMS, which breaks down to sub-principles, then into areas, and finally into required documents/databases.

15 Principles - Sub-principles - Area - Data

Delivering all 15 principles at once would be an overload of information for anyone, even Albert Einstein would struggle to get his noggin around it.  With this in mind, we looked at Distribution as a whole and identified 3 principles which we thought would be most effective to the business, Principle 2 (Competent People), Principle 3 (Hazard Identification) and Principle 6 (Risk Management). Sub-principles were then created which, once clicked, opened a list of areas. When clicked again, it would give you the relevant area’s data. Now if that sounds confusing, take a look at the process below (we like to keep things simple)

P2 Competent People - Training Matrix - Area - Data for that area (4 simple clicks)

With the body of the database planned and filled with its integral parts, it was time to plan the best way of recording data generically. A central safety meeting was arranged at Wolverhampton for all health and safety representatives. As a result of this meeting, we decided on general formats to record data and populated blanks copies of these onto the SharePoint within each local area. 

The SharePoint has now been created alongside an engaging training package; one that leaves you with that fluffy feeling of accomplishment, not one that leaves you daydreaming about who would win a fight out of a dolphin and a monkey (monkey, by the way, it has thumbs).

Feedback for the SharePoint has been great with our Health and Safety Management system making compliance easier.  We believe this SharePoint can be adapted to any part of our business or any business for that matter, driving continual improvement throughout.

For anyone wanting to learn more about the SharePoint, myself or Leigh Powney would be happy to demonstrate how this could improve a business’s approach to their HSMS.




Any views expressed in this blog are views of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily reflect the views of British Steel.

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John Norton / 25 October 2018
Well done guys, looks great. Fletch will discuss with Lee at this Saturday's CRA training session at TSC and see if we can arrange a demonstration.


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