Management system guidance
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7.4.2 Internal Communication
Internally, your organization needs to communicate information relevant to the management system amongst all levels and functions, including information on any change, as appropriate, and have to establish a mechanism to enable all persons performing work under the organization’s control to contribute to continual improvement.
All well as briefing employees during introductory presentations, try using a combination of other methods to promote awareness, such as posters placed on notice boards and leaflets with pay-slips, etc.
Use training sessions to inform employees of the plan, how they will be expected to contribute. Issues pertaining to the management system that could be communicated include:
- Day-to-day operations and general awareness;
- Environmental and health and safety regulatory reporting;
- Information on achieving management system objectives and targets;
- Incidents, accidents and near misses;
- Environmental aspects and health and safety hazards.
Effective communication media:
- Verbal (i.e., meetings, briefing, etc.);
- Formal memorandums;
- Posters or bulletin boards;
- Suggestion box.
Auditors will wish to determine if the policies meet the intent and are understood, by interviewing personnel at all levels. Although the exact content of the policies does not need to be recited by interviewees, the awareness of the policies and how their job affects the company objectives should be determined.
This does not require your employees to memorize the policies but it does mean they should be aware of it, know where it may be found and be able to paraphrase, or give an interpretation as it applies to them.
If the personnel interviewed do not know what their measurable objectives are and/or do not know what the organizational objectives are that they have a direct effect upon, the auditor would be further directed to evaluate top management’s communication of the policies and objectives.
Inferred awareness through knowledge of procedures is not considered sufficient; otherwise why have the requirement in the first place? A quick and convenient way to promote and communicate the policy might be to create a shortened version of main policy; try condensing it to five key words or even a couple of short sentences. This can be posted on bulletin boards in each department.
You could even add it to the reverse side of staff security passes or ID badges. If an auditor asks an employee whether they are aware of the policy; they can point to the bulletin board, or point to it on their badge. The employee can further elaborate to the auditor, what the policy means to them and how it influences their work.
Your organization should encourage the two-way flow of information between your workforce and management. Input from employees is considered vital in the development of quality, health, safety and environment policies and procedures. Employee’s input on concerns relating to health and safety and any feedback on how the health and safety management system can be improved are equally as important.
It is also vital that your employees are kept informed of matters relating to their health, safety and welfare via Health and Safety Representatives, Supervisors and Managers. Communication and consultation should take place both formally and informally. Health and safety representatives can be appointed to assist your company with the process.
Health and safety representatives will attend health and safety committee meetings where as part of their duties they will be encouraged to raise health & safety matters on behalf of the employees they represent and also feedback on information and practices relating to health and safety of employees. Inputs to quality, health, safety and environment consultation might include the following:
- Identification of hazard and risks;
- Management system objectives and targets;
- Incident investigations;
- Health and safety action plans;
- Operational changes affecting health, safety and welfare;
- Introduction of new plant and equipment;
- Contractors and visitors to site;
- Information request from interested parties.
Your organization should also communicate health and safety requirements to its visitors and contractors that attending your sites. Visitors to each site should receive health and safety information relating to the site rules and procedures during signing in. In addition, contractors should be required to go through a contractor’s induction briefing.
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