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The Management of Health and Safety

(746) Several books have been written on the subjects of health and safety management and risk assessment and there are many different ways to approach them. Pig farmers are free to adopt or devise any system that suits them provided that the end results comply with their national legislation and their own requirements.

The following approach, developed by Salus QP Ltd., is to consider risk assessment as one key component of health and safety management and to devise methods whereby all of the components can be combined in an overall working system.

The resulting management system shown in Fig.17-1 revolves around the development and implementation of Safe Systems of Work (SSW's). These incorporate both the work instructions (how to do a job safely) and the management procedures whereby you can ensure and demonstrate that:

  • The relevant Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice and Industry Standards are being addressed appropriately.
  • The work areas and activities are being fully assessed.
  • The methods of work are safe and without risk, so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • The methods of work are adhered to.
  • The persons carrying out the work have received sufficient training instruction and information, that they are aware of any associated hazards and can carry out the work safely.
  • The necessary personal or environmental monitoring is carried out.
  • The necessary building, machinery and equipment safety checks and routine services are carried out.
  • The necessary occupational health checks are carried out.
  • The necessary records are kept.
  • The necessary safety audits and reviews are carried out.

The SSW's are the hub of the working system and you should have them for every aspect of health and safety that applies to your operation. The way in which you should document them will depend on the size and type of your farming operation. The aspects of health and safety applicable to you as a pig producer and appropriate ways to compile and present SSW's are discussed later in the section.

Fig.17-1 illustrates the components of health and safety management. Clearly a considerable amount of health and safety knowledge is required in order to develop a workable system and regulations may state that employers must appoint competent persons to assist in their development.

Large pig organisations may have the necessary expertise in house to fulfil these obligations but the majority of pig farmers will not. It is possible to gain the necessary expertise yourself or to send a member of your staff on a health and safety management course but first consider the cost benefits of this approach. As with other management operations requiring expert knowledge, such as accounting, building design, veterinary medicine and legal matters, it is usually more cost effective to seek outside advice or to appoint a professional agency. Choosing the right partner can bring savings in your time and in insurance premiums.

You should appoint a safety professional with a proven track record and considerable first hand experience of pig farming operations. The person should be competent to:

  • Advise on the hazards and safety risks associated with pig production systems.
  • Advise on the regulations, industry guidelines and standards in your country - and how to observe them.
  • Devise safe working systems that are applicable to your situation.
  • Draw up policy statements and organisation arrangements that are workable.
  • Carry out risk assessments and report the findings in a way that will satisfy you, your employees, and health and safety inspectors.
  • Advise on maintenance and safety of machinery and buildings.
  • Advise on personal protective clothing and equipment.
  • Advise on and help with appropriate training.

Organise monitoring of environmental hazards such as dust, noise and gases and advise on methods to reduce them or control exposure to them.

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