Safety Management

R. K. Poddar, HSE Management Consultant, Auditor EMS 14001/ OHSAS 18001/ QMS 9001/ EnMS 16001/ Trainer

The Importance and Influence of Human Resource Component in Construction Safety

When the relevance of human resource component from the point of 'safe' or unsafe outcomes' is examined critically, the following statistics (of course, not collated in the recent past) brings up certain important issues.

Issues Related to Human Resource Component

Building and construction workers in unorganized sector

The available statistics suggest that almost 95% of the construction industry in India is in the unorganized sector where fly-by-night operators rule the roost. Though it is not authentically known as to what percentage of the workforce engaged in this unorganized sector is skilled, or semiskilled or unskilled or simple village folks (popularly known as helpers) picked up at random.

Building and construction workers in organized sector

The remaining 5% coming under the organized sector also employs the workforce which comprises 85% unskilled (this includes the simple village folks), 10% semiskilled and only 5% skilled workers. This 5% 'skilled' workforce too has not developed through any structured system of learning/ training. Most of them have learned their trade through 'guru-shishya' system of hands-on learning and thus have imbibed the fitfalls of knowledge that is acquired by trial-and error route.

As the facts stand to-day, the overwhelming majority of the workforce engaged in construction sector lacks exposure to mechanized system of construction work, comes from agricultural and rural background, their understanding of 'safe behavior' as against 'at-risk behavior' in the industrial context is poor because their social and environmental upbringing has not prepared them for appreciating the 'safe behavior' expected in the complex construction industry scenario.

Add to this the handicap of socio-economic compulsion of the workforce, besides their ignorance, and one gets to see the reason as to why we have so many occupational fatalities, poor productivity, poor quality, high wastages, uncaring attitude to avoidable losses and high attrition rate, etc. Even when a serious attempt is made by a select few safety system-oriented companies, the raw human factor complicates working of the plan and as result the effort to promote proactive safety in the construction industry fails to achieve the desired objective.

Management-cadre Employees

The other component of the human resource representing the 'management cadre' is no less to blame. This segment looks at safety as a daunting task, if not an outright liability. If one scratches at the surface of their mindset, one would invariably find that most of the construction industry managers is hardly willing to invest in occupational health and safety (OH&S)-oriented skill development training, proactive approach to putting safety in place and persist with promoting safety as a value rather than treating the bulk of the workforce as an expedient tool of production and execution.

Why This Managerial Inaptitude?

Engineering colleges and polytechnics have not, in any visible manner, developed a syllabus which integrates occupational health and safety (OH&S) learning into engineering knowledge, in any meaningful way, consequently, nor have the managers shown any worthwhile concern on this count in the workplace. At best, OH&S has remained client-driven and, to a large extent, evasive even when the client's OH&S requirements are exacting and demanding. Such enlightened clients even though may have entered into contractually binding OH&S conditions of contract with the work contractor; the compliance remains inadequate, if not poor.

The problem starts from the top hierarchy of the construction industry management, barring a few exceptions. The author does not hesitate to admit that the rot starts from the top. In the absence of a credible accountability system for OH&S, the workplace managers have neither felt compelled nor do they get motivated enough to take up OH&S as a serious issue. Thus they have failed by choice as well as motivation to develop themselves to accept the process of managing OH&S by taking leadership initiatives.

What's the End Result of Managerial Inaptitude and the Way Out?

The result of all this lopsidedness is obvious as discussed earlier. To reverse the process, a serious effort is required to bring the long overdue positive change. This can be done provided the prevailing counterproductive manager-worker relationship is brought up to a higher level of partnership and ownership. The need was never more urgent than now. Look at the emerging global competition in a free market economy and one can't escape visualizing the relevance and importance of leadership in OH&S management. The concept and practice that is required for understanding and undertaking leadership In OH&S, we have to go into the matrix of interoperability and interface of different components of the resource deployed in construction.

The Matrix of Interoperability and Interface as Reflected in MMES

Broadly speaking, the management of construction projects, from mobilization to execution and commissioning, can be divided into three components, viz.
  • Man
  • Machine &
  • Environment

The MAN component, let's take, includes all personnel representing management and workforce while Machine component represents every other resource required for execution of construction except MAN. Likewise, Environment component reflects physical and psychological factors. This trio is popularly known as Man-Machine-Environment System (MMES). Analysis of this trio can help us understand why outcomes go wrong and often result in fatalities, poor quality, poor productivity, wastefulness, and other avoidable losses.

Leadership in OH&S Management

Let's look at the bigger picture and analyze the interfaces of the three components where operational errors occur. Even if the MAN component is competent and committed, a poorly maintained/ inadequate Machine will not allow him to deliver and vice-versa. At the same time, while it may be easier to protect physical environment, like controlling pollution, by engineering means, controlling or regulating human behaviour can't be done by the same engineering or material means. Therefore, no supporting logic is required for understanding the fact that human attitude, which triggers human behaviour, can't be programmed like we can do for controlling physical factors of environment. AND, there lies the importance of Leadership, more so Leadership in Safety. To fully comprehend the requisite of leadership, we will have to understand how safety movement has evolved over the years. This should help us appreciate the context in which leadership in safety becomes valuable.

Traditional Vs. Modern Safety Management Practices

The journey from traditional to modern concepts

There was a time way back in 1932 when H W Heinrich came up with the first scientific approach popularly known as the 5-link chain theorem of events. By undertaking extensive analysis of the accidents that he had investigated as an insurance agent, he found that failure of one link led to the failure of another and culminated in causation of accident and injury as the end result of the sequence, viz.
  1. Social environment and ancestry (which the worker inherited and manifested in the workplace)
  2. Fault of the person (like carelessness, overconfidence, diffidence, daredevilry etc.)
  3. Unsafe act and unsafe condition (symbolically represented personal and physical factors prevailing in the workplace)
  4. Accident, and
  5. Injury.
Though Heinrich never mentioned "damage to property" as a consequence of an accident (which could occur with or without injury), the subsequent concepts propounded by Frank E Bird highlighted a broader precept which finally was a step forward towards 'multi-causation' concept, viz.
  1. Lack of control attributable to management deficiency,
  2. Basic causes which acted as a trigger,
  3. Immediate causes which appeared as symptoms,
  4. Occurrence of an incident which results due to personal contact of the worker with the physical situation, and which finally may
  5. Lead to injury and/ or property damage.

Element of management deficiency of the system

Frank E Bird thus tentatively brought up 'element of management deficiency of the system' for the first time and clearly differentiated the symptoms from the root causes of an unplanned event. Research subsequently done has convinced the OH&S professionals that, most of the time, roots of an unplanned event originate in the deficiency in the management system as a strong contributor to accidents.

How the Swamp & Norm Approaches Impact OH&S Issues in Substantially Different Ways?

Safety without any Management Process (SWAMP)

Under SWAMP style of management, safety responsibility is inadequately recognized; rather the responsibility is rejected and safety perceived as a burden, which highlights a management characteristics that is autocratic in style and treats accidents as a fluke occurrence. Under this system, task orientation is production/ progress-centered, planning is reactive and safety communication is fear-based while quick-fix approach is predominantly practiced. Conse- quently, employee involvement is minimal and adversary.

Naturally Occurring Reactive Management (NORM)

The NORM-style of manager is unwilling to understand the imperatives of OH&S because, in the past, he would have managed a project without facing the consequence of failures in OH&S and quality; rather they perceive OH&S as 'cost' and look for 'cost-cutting' as the first option, which, as an end result, affects OH&S and quality.

Such managers are generally driven by regulatory compulsions and excuse away accidents as the victim's own fault. When confronted, they may go a level higher and find fault with the supervisor (who himself has not been trained to supervise a job of the complexity assigned to him nor has he been provided the required resources), tight schedule (which in the first place had been agreed to as a condition of contract), inclement weather and such other frivolous excuses. They may know the problem but can't solve it either because of their educational/ environmental background or the 'orthodox tradition' followed by the management from 'top to bottom'.

How Managerial Inaptitude Compounds OH&S Issues?

The inaptitude also follows from the 'conflict' amongst different players and layers of management, like the Plant & Machinery (P&M) personnel blamed for not providing the right machine and the P&M blaming the execution team for not sparing the machine for scheduled preventive maintenance till such time as the machine breaks down. When the machine under breakdown, the execution team complains of non-availability of essential resources and finds convenient to make 'quick fix' alternative. This seems to be the norm by rule rather than exception. Projects work in water-tight compartments even on the issues of execution. The project manager/ controller is all too busy in attending progress meetings with the client or fixing/sorting out subcontractors' problems, managing delay in supply of material as also release of payments etc. The problem is compounded by the management showing knee-jerk reaction, if some serious mishap has occurred, and doing 'patch work' to tide over the emergency situation. This process, lacking line accountability, is repeated over and over again.

The employees, more so the workers in general, learn from the prevailing environment more readily than the messages given through posters, slogans, lengthy circulars, which is nothing more than an expression of pious intentions. Safety induction/toolbox talks, walkdown etc. fail to the deliver the desired result because people are able to see through the game of 'double deal' in the real situation. Thus, the employees at the lower levels so also the workers see the credibility gap and do nothing either due to ignorance or the traditional system of supervision. This happens not because they want to get hurt but because they believe the way they have been working is the right way and assume that their actions are supported by tacit, if not explicit, management approval.

The problem is further complicated by the 'old timers' who boast of their 'long experience' and don't hesitate to practice 'quick-fix' approach. If nothing else, they have the OH&S engineer to take the onus of failure on his shoulder (the poor guy indeed), if and when something goes unmanageably wrong.

Manager Vs. Leader

The author does not intend to go into the details of the well known attributes of the two. However, he can't resist quoting the following to explain his point of view:
"Organizations don't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't matter much. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved…"
My American Journey by General Colin Powell

"Illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn."
Alvin Toffler
It is also said that 'Traditional managers' are the people who strive to get adequate results out of inadequate resources. The implication of this precept is simple:
  • Managers are the people who may be able to get adequate results out of inadequate resources (but at what cost?); mostly by overstretching all available resources beyond their limits – human resource being no exception - easily exploitable by incentives and inducements.
From the author's point of view, the need of change in the 'managerial mindset' starting from the captains of industry down to the project execution level was never more urgent than now, - "If you cannot change what you are doing, you will continue to get what you have always got!"

Priority Vs. Values

Safety as a priority

Priorities are susceptible to change both subjectively and objectively from time to time, if circumstances change substantially. At one time the compulsions of a tight execution schedule may prompt the manager to leave OH&S issues on the backburner (though erroneously thinking that short-cuts and makeshift arrangements would see him through), and yet another time financial constraints may force the manager to shortchange the well defined procedures and methodology and prompt him to go for a quick-fix. The manager and his team mates may have succeeded in the past by circumventing procedures and getting the result. This experience, though unfortunate, may make him over confident. 'Nothing succeeds like success' by foul or fair means, as long as the result is somehow achieved. However, this change in work process, compromising certain vital steps, may end up in serious events once in a while and cause unplanned events as well as costly holdups. One may win a few battles by fluke but the war is won by a long-term strategy and dogged perseverance.

Safety as a value

Contrary to the foregoing, the practice of a value-based safety management system believes and practises 'there is no work so urgent and so important that the work can't be done safely.' The delays are made up by more critical on-going reviews of planning, by being innovative and by sticking to the course even if temporary setbacks occur. Structured, methodical and planned proactive working would invariably help identify fitfalls and lapses in advance and help the manager take preventive measures in time. Thus, over a period of time safety becomes a way of life and an integrated 'safety culture' evolves in the organization.

Learning from the Success Stories

One name readily comes to the author's mind viz., Bechtel. Bechtel is a well known name in construction project management. Their record of managing construction projects, both in developed and developing countries is meritorious. The author have had the opportunity of working with them on various projects executed by the engineering construction and consultancy (ECC) division of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Limited.

Bechtel have summed up their experience of managing OH&S issues successfully by focusing on the following:
  • Safety Leadership Practice # 1: Create Alignment – the alignment means that the behaviors and actions of all involved in the project execution must demonstrate the importance of safety in the organization and help create Value-Based Safety managements by
    • Considering the messages that decisions may send out about the company's commitment to safety
    • Modelling safe practices at every opportunity, that's leading by example
    • Ensuring management systems support safety (and do not create barriers), and
    • Considering impact of all decisions on safety, e.g., Hiring, Resources etc.
  • Safety Leadership Practice # 2: Communicate Value for Safety – by
    • Including safety in every presentation and discussion
    • Including safety as the first agenda in every meeting related to project execution issues
    • Learning about Value-Based Safety process and committing to practice
    • Looking for opportunities to talk about safety in the company and community.
  • Safety Leadership Practice # 3: Build Support - building commitment requires three things:
    1. Taking stock of compelling information about the need for change,
    2. Clearing request for actions supporting Value-Based Safety efforts,
    3. Developing a contingency system that supports and reinforces action consistent with Values-Based Safety Process. The following sample behaviors are indicated:
      • Communicating importance of safety to the entire team
      • Reviewing safety data from the projects with subordinates
      • Asking direct reports on what the subordinates are doing to support safety
      • Asking what direct reports the subordinates are working on
      • Including safety in appraisals with objective focus on safety compliance
      • Asking what you (as the captain of the operations) can do to help
      • Ensuring realistic budget for safety gadgets, recognition and celebrations
      • Responding to request for assistance with the required priority.
  • Safety Leadership Practice # 4: Monitor the Process - the goal over the long term is for Value-based Safety to become internalized into how we do business. When this internalization happens, your role is to sponsor planned evaluation.
    The following sample behaviors are indicated:
    • Reviewing implementation and training progress
    • Reviewing how results are achieved, not just the results asked
    • How the new process is going
    • What safety committees are targeting for improvement
    • What actions are being taken
    • Caring about levels of participation
    • What kinds of behavior are being recognized
    • What celebrations are planned.
  • Safety Leadership Practice # 5: Shape and Reinforce Behavior - target behaviors that will have high impact on safety, such as planning an effective process, identifying areas for improvement, promoting participation and developing and implementing action plans to address periodic say, "monthly safe behavior focus". The following sample behaviors are indicated:
    • Asking reports to share success stories
    • Providing positive feedback and recognition for improvement
    • Asking those with successful processes to share what they are doing to achieve success
    • Visiting successful Steering Committees, ask them to talk about their efforts and what you can do to further help
    • Regularly thanking employees for specific efforts and contributions
    • Participating in local recognition and celebrations.
The following graphics tells it all:

Safety Management System

What & How of Company Safety Culture?

A strong culture is where everyone values safety, expects the unexpected, knows what to do, is open to suggestions, wants to make a difference, believes their behaviour makes a difference for others; and managers in particular lead by example and see the behaviour of others as reflecting their own style of working.

In a nutshell, in absence of a value-based safety process, it is not possible to develop an organization which can sustain the values of Company Safety Culture and without making a conscious effort on all fronts to change from the existing quick-fix approach to the value-based system, construction industry would continue to be plagued with fatalities, wastages, poor quality etc. It high time a serious thinking in the top management is initiated to objectively involve the entire hierarchy of project management with specified responsibility, authority and accountability. This strategy obviously presupposes the imperatives of 'Top-Down' Management Strategy.

The Imperative of Developing the "Top-down Safety Management System"

Safety management system should include the part of the general management system which includes the organizational structure, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for determining and implementing the major accident-free policy.

It should be recognised that the safe functioning of a construction project establishment depends on its overall management. Within this overall management system, the safe operation of an establishment requires the implementation of a system of structures, responsibilities, and procedures, with the appropriate resources and technological solutions available. This system is known as the Safety Management System (SMS).

The Safety Management System may also involve integration with a management system in general which addresses other matters, such as the health of workers, the environment, quality, etc. It is possible to develop a Safety Management System by extending the scope of an existing management system, but it will be incumbent upon the owner and manger to ensure, and demonstrate where necessary, that the management system has been fully developed to cover accident controls and meets the requirements.

Development of a Major Accident Prevention Policy (MAPP)

The major accident prevention policy should be established in writing and should include the operator's overall aims and principles of action with respect to the control of major accident hazards.

The establishment must draw up a document setting out Major-Accident Prevention Policy (MAPP). The document is intended to give an overview of how the establishment ensures a high level of protection for man and the environment. The document should take account of the principles underlying the following seven areas:
  • organization and personnel
  • identification and evaluation of major hazards
  • operational control
  • management of change
  • planning for emergencies
  • monitoring performance
  • audit and review.
The scope of application of the MAPP should be clearly stated and should be consistent with covering all sources of major-accident hazards.

Elements of Safety Management Systems


  1. Organization and personnel
  2. Hazard identification and evaluation
  3. Operational control
  4. Management of change
  5. Planning for emergencies
  6. Monitoring performance
  7. Audit and review

A. Organization and personnel

The following issues shall be addressed by the safety management system:

Organization and personnel - the roles and responsibilities of personnel involved in the management of major hazards at all levels in the organization. The identification of training needs of such personnel and the provision of the training so identified. The involvement of employees and, where appropriate, sub-contractors shall be systematic and objective.

The Safety Management System should reflect the top-down commitment and the safety culture of the establishment's organization, translated into the necessary resources and direct responsibilities of personnel involved in the management of major hazards at all levels in the organization. The operator should identify the skills and abilities that would be needed by such personnel.

The role, responsibility, accountability, authority and interrelation of all personnel who manage, perform or verify work affecting safety, should be defined, particularly for staff responsible for:
  • The provision of resources, including human resources, for SMS development and implementation;
  • Action to ensure staff awareness of hazards, and compliance with the operator's safety policy;
  • Identification, recording and follow-up of corrective or improvement actions;
  • control of abnormal situations, including emergencies;
  • Identifying training needs, provision of training, and evaluation of its effectiveness;
  • Coordinating the implementation of the system and reporting to top management;
  • The top management, in turn, objectively assessing and ensuring implementation of the system.
The establishment should ensure the involvement of employees, and where appropriate, of sub-contractors or others present at the establishment, both in determining the safety policy and in its implementation. In particular it should ensure that contractors/ subcontractors receive the necessary information and training to enable them to be aware of the hazards involved, and to satisfy the safety policy.

B. Hazard identification and evaluation

The issues like Identification and evaluation of major hazards, adoption and implementation of procedures for systematically identifying major hazards arising from normal and abnormal operation and the assessment of their likelihood and severity shall be addressed by the safety management system.

The establishment should develop and implement procedures to systematically identify and evaluate hazards arising from its activities, and from the substances and materials handled or produced in them. The procedures used for the identification and evaluation of hazards should be formal, systematic, and critically objective. There should also be systematic procedures for the definition of measures both for the prevention of incidents and for the mitigation of their consequences.

Hazard identification and evaluation procedures should be applied to all relevant stages from project conception through to decommissioning, including:
  • Potential hazards arising from or identified in the course of planning, design, engineering, construction, commissioning, and development activities;
  • The normal range of process operating conditions, hazards of routine operations and of non-routine situations, in particular start-up, maintenance, and shut-down;
  • Incidents and possible emergencies, including those arising from component or material failures, external events, and human factors, including failures in the SMS itself;
  • Hazards of decommissioning, abandonment, and disposal;
  • Potential hazards from former activities;
  • External hazards including those arising from natural hazards (including abnormal temperatures, fire, flood, earthquake, strong winds, tidal waves), from transport operations including loading and unloading, from neighboring activities, and from malevolent/ antisocial activities or unauthorised action.
Due consideration should be given to any lessons learnt from previous incidents and accidents (both within and outside the organization concerned), from operating experience of the installation concerned or similar ones, and from previous safety inspections and audits.

C. Operational control

The issues like Operational control, adoption and implementation of procedures and instructions for safe operation, including maintenance, of plant, processes, equipment and temporary stoppages shall be addressed by the safety management system.

The operator should prepare and keep up to date and readily available the information on process hazards and design and operational limits and controls coming from the hazard identification and risk evaluation procedures. Based on these, documented procedures should be prepared and implemented to ensure safe design and operation of plant, processes, and equipment, and storage facilities. In particular, these procedures should cover:
  • Commissioning
  • Start-up and normal periodic shutdown
  • All phases of normal operations, including test, maintenance and inspection
  • Detection of and response to departures from normal operating conditions temporary or special operations
  • Operation under maintenance conditions
  • Emergency operations
  • Decommissioning.
Safe working practices should be defined for all activities relevant for operational safety. Procedures, instructions and methods of work should be developed in co-operation with the people who are required to follow them, and should be expressed in a form understandable to them. The operator should ensure these procedures are implemented and provide the necessary training.

D. Management of change

The following issues like Management of change (adoption and implementation of procedures for planning modifications to, or the design of new installations, processes or storage facilities) shall be addressed by the safety management system.

The establishment should adopt and implement management procedures for planning and controlling all changes in people, plant, processes and process variables, materials, equipment, procedures, software, design or external circumstances which are capable of affecting the control of major accident hazards. This approach should cover permanent, temporary and urgent operational changes, and should address:
  • Definition of what constitutes a change
  • Assignment of responsibilities and authorities for initiating change
  • Identification and documentation of the change proposed and of its implementation;
  • Identification and analysis where appropriate of any safety implications of the change proposed;
  • Definition, explanation where appropriate, documentation, and implementation of the safety measures deemed appropriate, including information and training requirements, as well as the necessary changes to operational procedures;
  • Definition and implementation of appropriate post-change review procedures and corrective mechanisms, and subsequent monitoring.
Management of change procedures must also be applied during the design and construction of new installations, processes, and storage facilities.

E. Planning for emergencies

The following issues like Planning for emergencies (adoption and implementation of procedures to identify foreseeable emergencies by systematic analysis and to prepare, test and review emergency plans to respond to such emergencies) shall be addressed by the safety management system.

The Safety Management System must include the procedures necessary to ensure that an adequate emergency plan is developed, adopted, implemented, reviewed, tested, and, where necessary, revised and updated. These procedures will define the skills and abilities required, including, where appropriate, a team approach in order to find the necessary combination of theoretical and practical knowledge.

F. Monitoring performance

The following issues like Monitoring performance (adoption and implementation of procedures for the ongoing assessment of compliance with the objectives set by the operator's major accident prevention policy and safety management system, and the mechanisms for investigation and taking corrective action in case of non-compliance) shall be addressed by the safety management system. The procedures should cover the operator's system for reporting major accidents or near misses, particularly those involving failure of protective measures, and their investigation and follow-up on the basis of lessons learnt.

The operator should maintain procedures to ensure that safety performance can be monitored and compared with the safety objectives defined. This should include determining whether plans and objectives are being achieved, and whether arrangements to control risks are being implemented before an incident or accident occurs (active monitoring), as well as the reporting and investigation of failures which have resulted in incidents or accidents (reactive monitoring).

Active monitoring should include inspections of safety critical plant, equipment and instrumentation as well as assessment of compliance with training, instructions and safe working practices.

Reactive monitoring requires an effective system for reporting incidents and accidents and an investigation system which identifies not only the immediate causes but also any underlying failures which led to the event. It should pay particular attention to cases of failure of protective measures (including operational and management failures), and should include investigation, analysis, and follow-up (including transfer of information to personnel involved) to ensure that the lessons learnt are applied to future operation.

The establishment should define the responsibility for initiating investigation and corrective action in the event of non-compliance with any part of the SMS. This should include, in particular revision where necessary procedures or systems to prevent recurrence. The information from performance monitoring should also be a significant input to the processes of audit and review.

G. Audit and review

The issues like effectiveness and suitability of the safety management system; the documented review of performance of the policy and safety management system and its up-dating by senior management, adoption and implementation of procedures for periodic systematic assessment of the major accident prevention policy shall be addressed by the safety management system.

An audit is intended to ensure that the organization processes, and procedures as defined and as actually carried out are consistent with the Safety Management System; it should be carried out by the people who are sufficiently independent from the operational management of the unit being audited to ensure that their assessment is objective. However, such exercises would prove to be futile if the top management is half-hearted in explicitly directing the operating team for verifiable action and setting out accountability for recurrence of failures.

A review is a more fundamental study of whether the Safety Management System is appropriate to fulfil the establishment's policy and objectives, and may extend to considering whether the policy and objectives should themselves be modified.
  1. Audit
    In addition to the routine monitoring of performance, the establishment should carry out periodic audits of its SMS as a normal part of its business activities. An audit should determine whether the overall performance of the Safety Management System conforms to requirements, both external and those of the establishment. The results of these audits should be used to decide what improvements should be made to the elements of the SMS and their implementation.

    For this purpose, the establishment should adopt and implement an audit plan covering the elements of SMS listed as under. This plan, which should be reviewed at appropriate intervals, should define:
    • The areas and activities to be audited;
    • The frequency of audits for each area concerned;
    • The responsibility for each audit;
    • The resources and personnel required for each audit, bearing in mind the need for expertise, operational independence, and technical support;
    • The audit protocols to be used (which can include questionnaires, checklists, interviews both open and structured, measurements and observations);
    • The procedures for reporting audit findings;
    • The follow-up procedures.
  2. Review
    Senior management should, at appropriate intervals, review the operational team's plan to implement overall safety policy and strategy for the control of major-accident hazards, and all aspects of the SMS to ensure its consistency with these. This review should also address the allocation of resources for SMS implementation, and should consider changes in the organization as well as those in technology, standards.
Sample Audit Checklist
    Maximum Marks Marks Awarded
1 Whether appropriate slope / shoring system provided 5  
2 Whether proper access & egress provided 5  
3 Work permit system implemented where needed 5  
4 Whether soil dumped sufficiently away from pit 5  
5 Barricade & lighting arrangement 5  
  Excavation – Total 25  
1 Scaffold erected as per standards 10  
2 Scaffold tag system implemented 10  
3 Proper access & egress provided 5  
  Scaffolds – Total 25  
1 Practice of checking formwork by supervisory personnel prior to starting concreting 5  
2 Authorized banksmen available & effective communication established among the workmen 5  
3 Safety measures for concreting activity is followed 10  
  Concreting – Total 20  
Work at Height    
1 Is safe access to work place is provided 5  
2 Working platform made as per schedule 10  
3 Are the workmen screened for working at height 5  
4 Adequate fall protection arrangement made (Static line, Double Lanyard harness, Fall Arrestor, Safety Net typing) 10  
5 Are hand tools and handling materials secured against accident fall 2  
6 Are height work are is cordoned and unauthorized entries are avoided 3  
  Work at Height – Total 35  
Material Handling    
1 Lifting machines / tools / tackles being used at site having test certificates? 10  
2 Lifting machines / tools/ tackles inspected by competent person at specified intervals 10  
3 Storing of all lifting machines / tools/ tackles done in a proper way & damaged lifting appliances / slings/ wire ropes discarded? 5  
4 Are all the wire ropes being properly maintained on periodical basis? 5  
5 Are suitable slings / lifting tools and tackles and other lifting appliances used by site while handling the material? 10  
  Material Handling- Total 40  
1 Storage of grinding wheels as per requirement 5  
2 Whether grinding operation is done as per safety norms 5  
3 Wheels properly labeled, checked for expiry date & ring tested before use 5  
  Grinding – Total 15  
Welding & Gas Cutting    
1 Storage of gas cylinder meets the requirement 5  
2 Cylinder transported in trolleys 3  
3 Flashback arrestor provided 5  
4 Conditions of welding cables, cable joints and cable termination 5  
5 Earthing of the welding equipment & routing of cables 3  
6 Return Path for welding as per standards 4  
  Welding & Gas Cutting – Total 25  
Plant & Machinery    
1 System of equipment fitness certificate implemented 10  
2 Regular inspection of plant, machinery & vehicles conducted 10  
3 Safety devices, accessories & guards provided 5  
4 Whether Plant, Machinery & Vehicles being used safely 5  
5 Does all operators / drivers have valid license 5  
  Plant & Machinery – Total 35  
Electrical Safety    
1 Sufficient no. of qualified electrician (viz. 'B' license holder) available 5  
2 Electrical connections routed through RCCB/ ELCB & checked regularly 5  
3 Whether routing of cables meets the requirement 5  
4 Earthing provided meets the specifications 5  
5 Weather protection for electrical installation & equipment 5  
6 Joint of cables & usage of plug tops 5  
7 Lockout Tagout System adopted for any maintenance 5  
  Electrical Safety – Total 35  
Fire Protection    
1 Fire prone operations, substances are identified, fire prevention & control measures implemented 5  
2 Separate storages provided for flammable liquids, solids & gases 5  
3 Is the required quantity of fire fighting equipments/ systems are available 5  
4 Fire fighting equipment / systems are checked periodically and recorded? 5  
  Fire Protection – Total 20  
1 Project work areas are clean and free of excess trash, debris 5  
2 Whether walkways and passageways clear 5  
3 Whether separate storage & scraps yards identified 5  
4 Whether dust bins & debris chute provided for collection of debris 5  
  Housekeeping – total 20  
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)    
1 Appropriate PPE is being used by all the employees 10  
2 Fall protection Equipment being used correctly (Double Lanyard, Life Line, Securing, Lanyards, Fall Arrestor) 10  
  Personal Protective Equipment – Total 20  
Health & Hygiene    
1 Toilet facilities adequate for number of personnel in site 5  
2 Potable water maintained and available in the workplace 5  
3 Is the labour colony maintained neat and clean 5  
  Health & Hygiene – Total 15  

Because of space constraints, the author would like to limit the scope to a 'Sample Audit Checklist', not exhaustive though, which normally can be applied to construction, operation and maintenance of highway/ roadways.
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