Monday, May 20, 2013

Developing your IRS (Internal Responsibility System)

Many of us have Corporate Responsibility Statements as part of our corporate philosophy, mantras, in our vision, missions and value statements, but do we live up to our corporate responsibilities when it comes to health and safety?
The provincial governments across Canada have or are in the process of redesigning and evaluating their health and safety legislations, compliance mandates and enforcement of legislative requirements.  Ontario has recruited new health and safety inspectors with the hope of educating and enacting compliance, reducing the number of injuries and deaths across the province and enforcing corporate responsibility. 

Do you know what to do when a Health and Safety Inspector/Officer comes knocking on their door?

Do not:

ü  send them away because they do not have an appointment,

ü  tell them that you do not have time to see them, OR

ü  get upset with them. 

Inspectors are authorized to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to determine whether employers are in compliance with safe and healthful workplace standards in the province. Should an Inspector come to your door, you should:
ü  Politely invite them in and ask if they would like a cup of coffee (do not panic);

ü  Ask to see their credentials – (Badge, Photo ID and Business Card).   If they do not have proper ID (do not accept a business card only – anyone can print business cards) ask them for a phone number to phone and confirm who they are;

ü  Contact your company Health & Safety Representative to respond to the situation;  and

ü  Ask the officer to state the purpose of the visit (employee complaint, targeted inspection, accident, etc.)  Oblige them with the information they request in a timely manner;  

In preparation for an inspection, first ensure your Internal Responsibility System is up to date, that you have conducted your required inspections of the facility and documented them, and that all other health and safety requirements have been met or exceeds the regulatory requirements.

What is the Internal Responsibility System or IRS as it is so often called?  No, it is not the US Internal Revenue Service we so often here about in the news and in the movies; it is Government Legislated, mandatory across the country with a Health and Safety focus, it is everyone’s corporate responsibility in the workplace.  The IRS is the very foundation of health and safety in the workplace, establishing workers and employers responsibility for his or her own safety, for the safety of their co-workers and for development of your Health and Safety Management System for your organization.   

The important question is now that you’ve heard of it; do you understand your obligations and are you in compliance? 
In developing your IRS processes, procedures and overall Management System, we have provided a few tips to ease the burden using the PDRC Method (Plan, Do, Check & Review): 

1.      The Planning Stage:

This is the most critical stage in the process. Document all steps in the process development of your Internal Responsibility System (IRS), Processes and Procedures; always getting the approval of senior management (owner, president or CEO of the company).

2.      The Do Stage:

a)         During this stage in the process you will establish policy, procedures, protocols and training; establishing timelines, strategy and performance measures. 

b)        Establish your management system processes, procedures and check systems.

By establishing your IRS philosophy in everything you do, you will increase productivity, reduce costs and build a sustainable, reliable and cohesive workplace and above all a healthy safe workplace. 

3.      The Check Stage:

During this stage in the process you will audit/check the system to ensure it is functioning properly: efficiently and effectively. 

4.      The Review and Change Stage:

The review and change stage creates the cyclical nature of the IRS System.  It is critical that you review and update procedures, policies, and training; establishing new system procedures with additions and changes to the operations of your business minimally annually but more frequently as changes occur in the organization.
Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480



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