Health and safety

Definition

Health and safety management is the process of identifying and minimising threats to workers and those affected by the work throughout the project, programme and portfolio life cycle.

General

The P3 management team needs to consider health and safety across the entire life cycle, starting at the concept phase and continuing through to closure. This involves:

  • establishing a health and safety policy and its systematic implementation;
  • utilising proactive and reactive performance measures to gain assurance of compliance;
  • measuring effectiveness in driving good health and safety performance (these measures can include audits, inspections and a review of safety performance data).

All managers are responsible for ensuring that the work under their control complies with all relevant health and safety legislation. They play a critical role in leading by example and ensuring that the team develops a good health and safety culture.

They need to have a good overview of the applicable legislation but are not expected to be experts in health and safety. They are required to seek competent advice to assist them in discharging their responsibilities.

As well as legal duties, there is also a moral obligation to protect people from harm. P3 managers’ duties are twofold. Firstly, they have a duty to ensure the health and safety of the team. Secondly, they must ensure that the work is delivered in a way that manages relevant risks throughout the life cycle.

Many industries and sectors are highly regulated. These will require the P3 manager to have an understanding of the specific regulatory framework, for example, in nuclear, railways, and construction. Managers must also be aware of any applicable product safety legislation, particularly where a product is being developed in one country for use in another.

The two key pieces of UK legislation are the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The basic requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act are for employers to secure the health, safety and welfare of employees and to ensure that others who may be affected by the works are protected (this may include contractors, visitors, members of the public, delivery personnel, etc.).

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require risk assessments to be undertaken and for competent advice to be sought.

Similar legislation may be found throughout the world and P3 managers must always ensure compliance with the relevant legislation of the country in which the work is being undertaken.

P3 managers need to identify health and safety risks and plan for their elimination or reduction to an acceptable level (‘As Low as Reasonably Practicable – ALARP’). These risks can be recorded and managed alongside other project risks.

Assurance is a key aspect of P3 management and the P3 sponsor must gain assurance that all health and safety requirements are being met throughout the life cycle.

 

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