The Health and Risk Assessment’s indispensable companion – the action plans

Læsetid 6 min

I sit for long periods of time by an open window and often catch a cold

 

Action plan:
We will immediately arrange for the air conditioning to be repaired and the windows to be closed. The nearest department head is responsible.’

 

My PC is slow and often gets kicked off the internet

 

Action plan:
Purchase of new functional equipment and an upgrade of the internet solution. The department manager is responsible for purchasing.

 

This is how you can meet your employees’ needs and challenges in the working environment with a specific and solution-oriented action plan.

 

But what if the comment fields in the workplace assessment look like this:

 

I don’t have any symptoms of stress. However, I find it difficult to sleep through the night and have some heart palpitations.”

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I sometimes feel that Kirsten talks down to me and treats me as if I’m not doing my job well enough. It’s probably just me.”

 

Well, the challenges suddenly have the character of something far less tangible and cannot be solved with a simple measure.

 

And what do you do?

 

 

What is an action plan?

Yes, it is as the name strongly suggests – a plan for an action.

And it is also one of the most important things in your workplace assessment work. Because what is a workplace assessment without a real follow-up and a thoroughly concrete solution plan?

If you ask the Danish Working Environment Authority what they think an action plan should be based on, then you must map out the following:

 

– Theme
– Action
– Priority
– Term
– Responsibility
– Date of follow-up

 

In order to be even more specific, we at Woba have specified the action plans so that they are far more in-depth and useful.

It is indeed a really good idea to map and divide everything at an organizational level, management level, group level and individual level. In HR, this way of thinking is called the IGLO model.

 

I – Individual level
G – Group level
L – Management level
O – Organizational level

 

Let’s start in reverse order …

 

At the organizational level, you look at what the employer’s responsibility actually is in relation to the problem and in particular in the future plan. What must the employer do, say and focus on in order for the action measure to be implemented.

 

The management level is where the manager’s role is clarified. What does the individual manager mean to the work culture and how can he/she help to solve the problem.

 

The group level happens to be the ‘team’, characterizes the community and the “we lift in a pack” mentality. A specific action plan can be used here and focus on what you can actually do together in the team to meet the problems. Are there any prejudices that need to be addressed? Does the general language need to be tweaked a bit? Or should we just get better at involving and taking each other into account?

 

And then we come to the individual level. What can the individual employee do to promote the working environment with a view to the specific challenge?

 

Here it is important to come up with guidelines for how the individual tackles the challenge, but general attitudes to the company’s policy can also be set out here – and how it is desired that you behave towards colleagues.

The right action plans produce the right effect

… And they just do!

 

We have seen it ourselves through many years of experience with research in the working environment.

The research clearly indicates that you can achieve improved job satisfaction, productivity and lower sickness absence if early efforts to act on the measurement’s problem areas are prioritized.

And how do we know if our action plans are working?

In other words, the action plans that are linked to the physical, practical problems at the workplace are in most cases relatively easy to implement and thus quickly measure the effect of – this can be done orally by simply asking the employees if they still experience drafts, noise or other physical inconveniences in their everyday life.

However, when it comes to the more problematic, long-term action plans – most often in connection with psychological problems such as stress, insecurity or abusive actions, it is not quite so easy to measure the effect.

At least not right away.

Here we clearly recommend a follow-up measurement some time after the APV’s action plans have been implemented.

It is difficult to come up with a recommendation for an exact time perspective, because the subsequent measurements depend to a large extent on the problem itself – and not least the concrete content of the action plan.

 

 

See the workplace assessment as something other than a time-consuming legal obligation – that just needs to be completed

Yes, it costs time and resources. Unless you automate it, of course (and you actually can!)

But honestly – isn’t it worth investing in knowledge and insight into your employees and the company’s working environment before you have to deal with sick leave and resignations?

Not that finances should be made the primary thing here, but a stress sick leave costs an average of DKK 1 million in Denmark. Yes, it’s crazy, when you actually see the numbers!

So there are many good reasons to see the workplace assessment as far more than a time-consuming legal requirement – that just needs to be completed.

At Woba, we see the workplace assessment as the strongest tool for mapping your entire working environment in one fell swoop.
Thus, it is also your strongest card in improving your working environment – and the way to genuine job satisfaction.

And that job satisfaction just doesn’t come by itself. Although that would be nice. But job satisfaction is directly proportional to the focus you give to the working environment – and the measures you actively implement. Measures highlighted on the basis of a thoroughly worked-out workplace assessment – and not least the important subsequent action plans.

 

 

The action plans = Engagement

Why should I, as an employee, get involved in a workplace assessment questionnaire and most importantly – be completely honest in my answers?

It could very well be one of your employees who has that thought and doubt.
And therefore it is important that all employees understand the importance of the measurement – and not least the value for themselves.

 

 

We humans are instinctively built with a ‘What’s in it for me’ feeling, which must be fulfilled before we set out to throw energy, interest and trust into a new project.

Make sure your employees are involved in the process. Inform about the importance, the phases and be completely clear about the action plans that you will draw up and implement afterwards – based on their answers.

Express yourself clearly about the purpose of the workplace assessment work. That it is actually there for the employees and to change the working environment for the better.

And an important addition: Emphasize that all responses are 100 % anonymous, and that you as an employee will never, ever be confronted with your attitudes and feelings.

Honesty is a key word when it comes to these measurements. Even if the truth can hurt.

Again – it’s effort well spent in the long run, because you actually get the chance to correct the problems BEFORE they result in dismissals and sky-high sick leave.

Dynamic and up-to-date action plans. Can you do that?

You can!

And it is so extraordinarily important for the working environment that action is taken quickly – and preferably preventively.

What good is a heavy workplace assessment process and a lot of great action plans if they only come several months after the results are available. It goes without saying – they become hopelessly outdated and, roughly speaking – useless.

The way you ensure that your well-being work makes sense and is up-to-date is by using a dynamic platform where measurements can be made continuously and where both the workplace assessment and the action plans take place in real time. This means that they are dynamic – and gives you the opportunity to prevent problems.

And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a complete digital and automated process, where you don’t have to mess around with answers on paper, prepare the questionnaire yourself or mess with analyzing the piles of results afterwards.

The automation of the well-being measurements will take you a long way. But if you want to secure the absolute best conditions, you must use an intelligent platform that actively gives you insight into the ‘red alarms’ when there are problems that you need to be aware of and pay attention to.

But what should you do about these alarms?

And it can really create a dilemma and a lot of despair when you become aware of a specific problem.

Should I say something to her who is allegedly bullying the other employees?

Who is responsible for this problem?

How do I tackle it so that everyone feels heard and acknowledged?

This is particularly where you should use a platform that assigns you well-developed, relevant action plans – all of which have been created and prepared on the basis of heavy, scientific research into the working environment and well-being.

That way, you are never alone with the problems and immediately have a sound and not least effective action plan – right at hand.

 

 

Prevention rather than treating the symptoms

When you work with measurements in real time, you give yourself far better conditions for working with prevention instead of treating the symptoms.

And why is it so smart?

It’s smart because you address the problems in the bud BEFORE they end up in sick leave, resignations or an unpleasant working environment that eats away the thriving of the employees.

In this way, you ensure both a well-functioning and safe workplace, where your employees thrive and are driven by job satisfaction.

But you also save a lot on the costs.

Because as written earlier in this blog post, it costs an average of DKK 1,000,000 when an employee resigns or goes on long-term sick leave in Denmark.

So … do you have a well-considered, preventive action plan based on up-to-date feedback from your employees – or do you just hope for the best?

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Well, then the company is qualified to carry out a workplace assessment subsequently according to the legislation. And there is a pretty good chance that right now you are in a company that has just undergone a few significant changes in recent years. The post-corona era means a completely new approach to the hybrid workplace, where many employees and companies have now seen the value in working at home a few days a week. A great value. But also an agency that changes the workplace and that the working environment and well-being can be exposed to different and new forms of challenges and problems. It is important for the company and not least the working environment that these problems are discovered, analyzed and dealt with at an early stage – which the Workplace Assessment can help to ensure.

Louise
Louise Aarkrog
Head of Marketing & Communication

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The Health and Safety Assessment - Form, template, question frame... dear child has many names!

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An industry-specific question framework?

So, the first step in The Health and Safety Assessment process is to map which question frames are relevant for your industry. It is clear that if it is a construction site, then there are different questions in The Health and Safety Assessment than if it is, for example, a company with only office work. After all, The Health and Safety Assessment must take into account both the physical and the psychological working environment. In relation to the physical working environment, the various risks of heavy lifting, crooked working positions and working with dangerous chemicals are looked at. With the psychological work environment, the focus is on stress levels, profits, flexibility and work pressure, among other things. So, what industry is your business in?

  • Are there premises for the performance of the work that involve risks for the employees?
  • Do you work with dangerous chemicals?
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Once you have mapped the industry and which premises are primarily applicable in relation to the working environment, you can start choosing the right question frame.

AF Louise Aarkrog
MicrosoftTeams-image
How often must The Health and Safety Risk Assessment be carried out?

As a starting point, you must think of The Health and Safety Assessment as an important project every three years. This is what the legislation says, but there are also other instances that you have to take into account.

 

The legislative guidelines

Clear rules have been drawn up by the Working Environment Authority in relation to how often The Health and Safety Assessment must be carried out. According to the Danish Working Environment Authority’s executive order no. 1234 of 29 October 2018. Chapter 2a – § 6 b, subsection 4.

A health and safety assessment must be updated when there are changes in the work, working methods and work processes, etc., which have an impact on the company’s working environment, but no later than every three years.”

 

And what exactly does this paragraph mean? This means that, as a rule, The Health and Safety Assessment must be carried out every three years – as a minimum. It cannot be avoided. But… If there have been any radical changes in the workplace in the meantime, then every three years is not quite enough.

  • Have you introduced hybrid workplaces where employees are allowed to work more at home?
  • Have you moved into new premises recently?
  • Have you optimized work processes and working methods so that they have undergone a relatively large change for the employees?

 

Well, then the company is qualified to carry out a workplace assessment subsequently according to the legislation. And there is a pretty good chance that right now you are in a company that has just undergone a few significant changes in recent years. The post-corona era means a completely new approach to the hybrid workplace, where many employees and companies have now seen the value in working at home a few days a week. A great value. But also an agency that changes the workplace and that the working environment and well-being can be exposed to different and new forms of challenges and problems. It is important for the company and not least the working environment that these problems are discovered, analyzed and dealt with at an early stage – which the Workplace Assessment can help to ensure.

AF Louise Aarkrog