Occupational Health and Safety Training – Contribute to the Strategic Planning Process

Strategic Planning occupational health and safety training – contribute to the strategic planning processIf you’re planning to get a Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety, you need to understand the three elements involved in the whole process of OHS. This article will introduce you to the first element.

This element is about contributing to the strategic planning process. This does not mean that you have to conduct or manage the process yourself but rather be an effective part of the process.

Strategic planning is a long-range, systematic process to make decisions about intended future outcomes, how to achieve the outcomes and how to measure success in achieving the outcomes. It is usually organisation-wide or focused on a department or major function such as WHS.

Strategic planning usually begins with establishment or review of the values, vision and mission of the organisation. Cole (2005, p. 448) gives the following definitions:

Values: are the internal principles which guide how an organisation does business and how it responds in a crisis. Thus the values should guide the behaviour of managers and workers.

Vision: expresses what the organisation wants and truly cares about. It should unify managers and workers by providing a clear picture of the organisation’s fundamental purpose.

Mission: underpins the vision and describes how the vision will be realised.

Either before or after establishment of the values, vision and mission there is usually a scan of the internal and external environment to identify the current situation, opportunities, challenges, weaknesses and strengths. Strategic goals are then set and a strategy or method developed for achieving the goals. Put simply, the aim of strategic planning is to develop a ‘map’ for the organisation, which defines what it wants to do, how it is going to do it, and by when.

How strategic planning is done and who is involved will vary with the organisation. Some organisations see strategic planning as the province of senior management, others consult with all levels and functions in the organisation and may include representatives of the various levels and functions in the planning process.

Whether WHS is part of a higher level strategic plan, or there is an WHS-specific strategic plan, there should be specialist WHS input to the strategic planning process. This may be through an WHS professional or it may fall to the Diploma-qualified WHS practitioner to provide the advice. This element addresses the performance criteria required for providing such input.

In order to complete the first element of the competency unit successfully, you will have to show that you have satisfied the following performance criteria:

1. Take steps to ensure that managers at all levels are aware of their WHS responsibilities and the role of WHS in the overall management approach.

2. Determine WHS needs and priorities in consultation with relevant managers and other workplace stakeholders and key personnel.

3. Make recommendations for inclusion of WHS performance (including positive performance indicators [PPIs]) in the organisation’s business plan.

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Published by: LMIT

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