In recent weeks, our Health & Safety team has noted a trend in incident data where accidents have taken place during non-routine activities in businesses. This can be anything from a new process (which should have triggered a new risk assessment) to changes to routine tasks, such as inclement weather and/or changes in equipment.
In each case, had workers stopped to reassess the tasks, the presence of new hazards and the need for additional risk control measures would have been identified and implemented.
Risk assessments are a legal requirement and should be in place to cover your work activities. Workers need to be aware of the content of the risk assessments, including control measures and the behaviours required of them.
However, even with the best risk assessments in place, sometimes there are unforeseen changes in a task or activity where a more dynamic approach is required at the point of work. Training your workers to recognise hazards and whether a task is safe to continue could be the difference between your workers returning home uninjured or an accident.
SLAM: Stop, Look, Assess, Manage
Simple, punchy, and easily memorised, SLAM is a technique designed to promote worker safety and risk awareness.
It does this by empowering workers to take charge of their own safety and the safety of those around them by simply taking a step back before doing anything.
The four stages of SLAM for workers:
Stop: Before starting a task, pause and consider:
– Is this a new task or has it changed?
– When was the last time I performed this task?
– Do I feel comfortable doing it?
– Do I need additional training?
This stage helps identify any concerns or changes that could affect safety.
Look: Continuously observe the work area:
– Check for potential hazards.
– Identify hazards at each step of the task.
– Evaluate how to address identified hazards.
– Discuss any hazards with a supervisor to determine control measures and assess risks.
This stage encourages vigilance and awareness of potential safety risks.
Assess: All workers should assess their own and others’ readiness for the task:
– Do we have the necessary knowledge, skills, and training?
– Do we have the right tools?
– Do we need assistance or further training?
– Share concerns with colleagues and inform supervisors.
This step contributes to ongoing safety improvement and highlights the need for additional training if required.
Manage: Managers play a key role in hazard elimination or reduction.
– Ensure appropriate equipment use and maintenance.
– Evaluate successes and areas for improvement in each task.
– Prepare better for future tasks. After analysing previous work, the ‘Manage’ stage helps with ongoing safety management and implementing the lessons learned.
Documenting the findings
To help you implement SLAM in your workplace, we’ve created a Point of Work Risk Assessment tool (POWRA). This will help your workers logically run through the task and remind them what hazards they may need to consider and identify.
This will allow the workers on site and supervisors to determine whether it is safe to continue with a task or not.
If their SLAM analysis indicates that a more formal risk assessment and additional controls are required, workers must be given the authority to stop the work until a new formal risk assessment and controls are implemented.
Extra resources for you: