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Managing OH

The management of OH is no different than any other aspect of OSH, and therefore involves many people, principally within the organisation, but possibly including outside specialists. As with any other aspect of OSH, commitment and leadership from the top of an organisation is a prime requirement, to demonstrate the importance placed on OH and ensure adequate resources are applied to it. It should feature alongside safety aspects in any OSH policy, with responsibilities assigned to relevant people. Managers and supervisors should also address OH issues as part of their OSH responsibilities, rather than seeing these as separate requirements.

In common with other OSH considerations, organisations should seek to engage workers in the specification and implementation of OH. Workers can be an invaluable source of information on health hazards from the roles they carry out, and their input into OH will also encourage ownership of procedures and processes across the organisation.

The OSH professionals in an organisation have a key role, both in implementing many aspects of OH within their competence, but also in sourcing and managing other professionals to provide services outside the remit of the OSH professional. Depending on the size of the organisation, many aspects of OH can be supplied by in-house people, or occasionally contracted out to external providers. OSH professionals in an organisation can also play a part in investigating incidents that caused ill-health to workers, to determine causes and remedial measures. Ill health found as a result of checks on workers should also be investigated to determine if any corrective measures are required.

The role of an OSH professional would also include aspects such as advising on welfare arrangements in an organisation, the design and maintenance of equipment to minimise health effects on workers, assessing new equipment that may have health implications, and advising on ergonomic factors in job roles that may have effects on workers.

As with any aspect of OSH, it is important that OSH professionals recognise the limits of their competence and should not engage in activities in which they have neither training nor experience. In such cases, the identification and use of external specialists should be undertaken.

Depending on the size of the organisation and its structure, the provision of first aid is often included in the range of services for OH. This would be carried out by OH staff, or sometimes by departments such as facilities management. In other places, first aid services are addressed by training workers to administer it.