Legal Guides

What is Safe System of Work (SSoW)?

Safe system of work (SSoW) is a procedure taken out by professionals to minimise the risks within a workplace. This is to ensure that working conditions are appropriate and as safe as possible when workers are carrying out tasks. It may not be possible to eliminate all risks in the workplace, but introducing personal protective equipment (PPE), physical controls, and developing safe systems of work can significantly reduce the risk of an accident occurring.

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Steps involved in creating Safe System of Work

There are different criteria for health and safety at work for each field depending on the sector, such as workers in the hospitality, retail, construction, and healthcare sectors, to name a few. Here are some general guidelines for developing safe systems of work.

1. Identifying the Job/Task

The first step that should be undertaken to develop a safe system of work is hiring a health and safety professional to come in and assess the workplace. Tasks should be assessed in terms of what equipment or machinery is used, the location of the task in the workplace, and the employee carrying out the task.

2.  Analysing the Tasks

The health and safety officer should then examine the quality of the machinery and equipment being used and if it is up to standards with health and safety regulations. All of the equipment used must be checked and maintained to a high standard. The workplace should also be assessed to see how they are currently promoting safe working in the company.

The location of where the task is being carried out is also very important. If the work area is too small or busy, it can be a cause for concern. The health and safety officer will also examine the employees completing the task and ensure that they are adequately trained and qualified to complete the job on their own. The employee must also be legally required to be on the premises during the course of their work.

3. Defining Safe Methods

As previously mentioned, different job sectors will require different safe systems of work to be implemented. If the task is considered very high risk, then employees should be qualified or have a permit to carry out the work. A risk assessment should also be conducted before any work commences and some control measures should be implemented to further reduce the risk of an accident occurring. If the task is lower risk, the employee should be guided by some basic health and safety regulations that can be found here. These health and safety regulations should be provided to the employee in written form. It should also be noted if any PPE is necessary to complete the job.

4. Implementing Safe Methods

Implementing safety precautions can be done with the help of a few key methods. Training is one of these key methods to ensure safe systems of work are carried out. Employees should be trained correctly based on the task they have to carry out. If machinery or other potentially dangerous equipment is being used, employees should have received training and an operating ticket to operate the specific machine.

Safe systems of work should also be assessed and reviewed regularly in order to maintain a safe workplace. This involves taking note of any hazards in the workplace that may cause an accident or injury. A supervisor or manager should be responsible for carrying out these assessments.

Clear and concise communication is another key method that can help reduce risks in the workplace and implement safe systems of work. Communication is also great for ensuring work procedures run as smoothly as possible. Everyone in the workplace should report any potential safety concerns or hazards they may notice and report them to their superior or health and safety officer.

5. Assess the Progress

The implementation of safe systems should be assessed regularly by the supervisor or management team. Often, situations can change, and employees may feel that there could be new ways to reduce risk in the workplace. It is important to talk to workers to see how they feel and see if any improvements could be made. It is also advisable to check in with supervisors to see if the safety methods that were implemented are being carried out and if they are still effective.