Field Level Hazard Assessments are Awesome! Here's Why...
To establish, maintain and continue to grow a strong and sustainable Safety Culture, there are many initiatives, both big and small, that are integral in striving toward a workplace capable of protecting the physical well-being and mental health of its members. Creating a proactive environment where incidents are prevented well before they can manifest doesn’t just happen. It takes concerted and consistent effort on all fronts – and the job is never done.
You have to have a strong Management System that is pertinent to your operations. Your Safety Committee must be perceptive and in touch with the workforce. Members of the C-Suite must make it clear that doing things safely is the only way they can be done – and those words have to be backed up with actions and visible presence. Site Supervisors need to have impactful and positive face-time with work crews in the field. Training programs must be robust. All of these things, and more, must occur to ensure the comprehensive pursuit of a strong Safety Culture.
But, as much as we preach about having a diverse and multi-layered approach to Safety Culture (and, you should), not all initiatives are created equal. There is one particular diamond in the rough that has more juice for the squeezing than others can possibly provide. That hidden gem is your Field Level Hazard Assessments.
Why – you might ask. Why would these simple little checklists represent such a value proposition with regard to Safety Culture? The answer is quite simple – they keep things focused. The intention of a Field Level Hazard Assessment is to slow things down for the work crew before the task begins – to provide an opportunity to contemplate the potential and actual dangers, and the steps each individual will take to ensure no one is impacted by those hazards. There are many moving parts that contribute to the successful outcome of a project. But assessments help workers zero their focus in on safety. At times, there can be a lot of noise and pressure directed at a worksite from outside. This can be a causal factor in incidents. Having a resource that allows you to train your sights on the most important thing of all – workplace safety – is terribly important.
Many safety programs try to accomplish too much – attempting to be a one-stop shop. These can be tempting from a corporate perspective because it represents the path of least resistance – one and done and you don’t need to think about it anymore. But what’s that saying again? Attempting to do everything ensures you do nothing well. That’s certainly a true statement for this topic.
The FLHA is perfectly uncomplicated. It provides important high-level information regarding the task to be performed, it prompts the workforce on life-saving rules and core values, it supports a risk-based approach to work planning – asking for the identification of hazards and the application of appropriate controls – and it allows for the identification of the team members involved. It’s simple, and if done right, is subconsciously extending your Safety Culture into the field – the most important place for it to be strong.
Field Level Hazard Assessments are awesome because, even though they aren’t complex, they represent one of the greatest resources for continually building and improving your Safety Culture. “Field Level” are the key words in “Field Level Hazard Assessment”. It’s a resource that’s out there with the work crews, right at the site where they will be conducting the work. As safety goes, it’s one of your most important processes.
However, there is something that all industries must do to ensure Field Level Hazard Assessments continue to be the awesome process that they are – free them from their paper confines. Keeping FLHAs paper-based makes them a nightmare to manage, doesn’t encourage their comprehensive completion and does not allow for any interaction or input from those overseeing project tasks from another location.
The way to see Field Level Hazard Assessments into the new age is to digitize them and insert them into a medium for the next generation – smartphones. By using the technology in everyone’s hand, we can advance FLHAs to where they have never been before.
- Ease of use
- Interactive user-interface
- Cloud-based document management
- Real-time submission of reports
- Immediate feedback from team members
- Photo functionality
- Quick access to all completed assessments
- Simple content customization
These are just a few of the ways in which going digital with your Field Level Hazard Assessments will ensure that this process stays awesome and people are empowered to ensure their safety and that of others.