January 13, 2016

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Quiz – Health and Safety Leadership


HSE statistics reveal the human and financial cost of failing to address health and safety, noting for example that each year millions of working days are lost due to work-related illness and injury and thousands of people die from occupational diseases. Organisations can incur further costs – such as uninsured losses and loss of reputation.

That is why the engagement of directors in leading health and safety is an essential part of ensuring effective health and safety management in any business or organisation. Indeed, effective health and safety performance comes from the top; members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility.

This quiz is based on guidance than can be found in the Barbour suite of resources under the topic ‘Management Issues’.

By answering the questions below, practitioners can award themselves CPD credits. One, two or three credits can be awarded, depending on what has been learnt – exactly how many you award yourself is up to you, once you have reflected and taken part in the quiz

Please note:  There may be more than one correct answer to a question, and further reading may be required to correctly answer the questions.

1. Legislative issues

There are no specific legal requirements relating to the business case for health and safety but there are many legal reasons for directors to be fully engaged with health and safety, including under which of the following:


Answer: E
Specific duties are placed on directors under the above laws;  Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for example applies where an offence under any health and safety legislation committed by the Corporate body is due to the “consent, connivance of, or attributable to any neglect on the part of”, the director or senior officer. It is important to note that Section 37 does not attribute a duty to the director it merely enables the director to be personally prosecuted for the offence committed by the Corporate body, in addition to the Corporate body being prosecuted for the offence as well.

2. Aligning the business case with organisational or business needs

How many of the following reasons for taking appropriate action apply in relation to health and safety matters:

Answer: E 

Most health and safety practitioners will acknowledge difficulty at some point in their career with getting directors and senior managers engaged on health and safety issues and persuading them what action is necessary.

Safety practitioners should attempt to align their information, argument and recommendations with the needs and language of the business or organisation in which they work. Time invested in considering what the business drivers for the course of action are, and identifying the type of challenges and questions which may arise, will be time well spent. As well as the above reasons, other factors for taking appropriate action in relation to health and safety matters include:

  • the possibility of enforcement action disrupting the business and causing high costs

  • the personal, non-insurable liability of directors with the possibility of prison sentences

  • the possibility of the organisation being prosecuted for Corporate Manslaughter

  • damage to company assets, business disruption and loss of key staff

  • damage to employee morale

  • employee relations problems.

3. Legal requirements

Employers are obliged to consult workers on health and safety matters under which main pieces of legislation:

Answer: A, B

A culture of employee consultation and involvement in health and safety issues enhances a business’ effectiveness in a number of direct and indirect ways. Directly, it can assist in preventing accidents and absences due to work-related ill health.

Worker involvement includes consultation with employees, but is much broader. It goes beyond simply giving information and consultation and represents a partnership between managers and workers for managing health and safety risks.

HSCER1996 applies where there are no trade unions recognised for collective bargaining purposes or where there are employees who are not represented by such recognised trade unions; SRSCR1977 applies where there are trade unions recognised for collective bargaining purposes.

4. Disclosing information

In respect of health and safety employers are required to disclose information to representatives (Safety Representatives or Representatives of Employee Safety) necessary for them to carry out their functions, including information relating to which of the following:

Answer: A, C, D – information relating to B is not relevant

Other information in this respect includes the employer’s arrangements for appointing competent people to help him/her comply with health and safety requirements and evacuation procedure, and information on the health and safety consequences of introducing new technology.

5. Recommendations for directors

Directors should ensure that there is a clear policy, a documented safety management system and clear and effective monitoring supported by employee and management training. True or false?

Answer: True

Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, one of the items that a Jury can consider when a case is tried is whether there were attitudes, policies, systems or accepted practices within the organisation that were likely to have encouraged the failure or to have produced tolerance of it. Therefore, the health and safety culture and leadership in the organisation is critical to ensure good health and safety practice.

6. Safety culture

The development of a safety culture begins with the commitment of senior management, but which of the following other activities are needed to embed the necessary changes:

Answer: A, B, C – D is not relevant

Establishing a health and safety culture ensures that health and safety is integrated into the daily operations of an organisation, the work of its staff and the planning carried out by management.

A health and safety culture also makes sound business sense as safe workplaces are more efficient and effective with less time lost through absences, illnesses and incidents. It also contributes to organisations being seen as ‘good neighbours’ or ‘exemplars’ and so may assist in winning new business by creating favourable impressions among prospective clients. This is in addition to minimising business costs. Health and safety policies and documentation are also regularly required as part of tenders.

7. Health and safety policies

Under the Employers' Health and Safety Policy Statements (Exception) Regulations 1975, only employers with eight or more employees need write their statement down. True or false?

Answer: False – employers with five or more employees must write their statement down

As part of the process of establishing a health and safety culture, there must be effective planning and implementation. Useful and relevant policies and procedures will need to be developed, if an organisation is to successfully manage the cultural transition. However, a number of these policies are also required by law. The objective in preparing the document should be to provide a clear explanation as to who does what, when and how in relation to workplace health and safety.

8. Underlying principles

A health and safety management system comprises how many main steps:

Answer: Five

Behind every successful health and safety management system, there exists a positive safety culture and an active consultation programme; the organisation should strive for continual improvement. The health and safety management system comprises:

  1. an occupational health and safety policy

  2. planning

  3. implementation and operation

  4. checking and corrective action

  5. management review

9. Implementing 18001

Which of the following is NOT considered a business reason to consider BS OHSAS 18001?

Answer – B

The standard only specifies the elements of the management system itself, and whether those elements have been implemented properly. Therefore, although the standard requires management systems to take local legal requirements into account, and policies to commit to compliance, the standard will not directly guarantee legal compliance. What it will do is provide a widely recognised system for achieving compliance, and implementing it well should help enormously in achieving successful health and safety management.

10. Management approach

OHSAS 18001 is based on the management approach Plan-Do-Check-Act. True or false?

Answer: True            

Plan: establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the organisation’s OH&S policy.

Do: implement the processes.

Check: monitor and measure processes against policy, objectives and external requirements.

Act: take actions to continually improve performance/learn and improve from experience.

This model was also used in the guidance, published jointly by the Institute of Directors and the HSE, Leading Health and Safety at Work. As well as employing the PDCA model, this guidance also recommends many of the same management system elements that are required by 18001, such as the appointment of a specific senior manager to lead health and safety for the organisation.


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