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World Best Practice in Occupational Safety & Health


WorkSafe Western Australia


Source:  (April 2002)

World best practice is a process by which organizations:

  • continuously reflect on their management practices and how they impact on occupational safety and health conditions and outcomes;
  • look in detail at, and learn from, what other, better performing companies are doing - irrespective of the industry in which those better performers are located; and
  • adapt the practices of others and continuously improve their practices and outcomes with the objective of being the best.

Achieving world best practice requires organizations to continuously improve their processes and thereby:

  • identify and analyze practices within their own organization most important to overall performance;
  • compare these practices and performance with industry and/or international leaders, and set realistic targets for their future performance; and
  • implement new or improved practices adapted from these leaders to meet new performance targets.

A number of common features emerge - not all of them new, from those organizations committed to world best practice. These features are:

  • more committed leadership from the top of the organization;
  • a preventive rather then reactive occupational safety and health strategy integrating occupational safety and health excellence with competitiveness. Outcomes, such as lost-time injuries, are a long-term measure of the success or failure of the strategy - the focus is on developing and maintaining the process and systems necessary to support excellent outcomes;
  • empowered employees with a role in continuously identifying occupational safety and health improvements, supported by management's willingness to implement those improvements;
  • occupational safety and health skills are integrated into skilling and multi-skilling. Specific occupational safety and health training and problem-solving skills are developed in employees; and
  • management systems are occupational safety and health inclusive. Occupational safety and health is no longer a "tack-on" function but integrated into all management systems from planning to sales.

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