Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) publishes Guidance on Managing Safety Rules and Procedures

Commissioned by the UK based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the objectives of this research were to:

  • carry out a literature review to gather information on good safety rule management
  • produce guidelines on what constitutes good practice
  • develop an intervention plan that safety practitioners could use to improve their own management of safety rules.

The research team carried out a literature search on the basis of 27 key words, in all relevant combinations, and tapped into 25 databases. This revealed an initial trawl of 301 relevant papers in the period since 1986. After reading the abstracts, the team reduced the number to 180.

The team produced a scientific review of the literature to present what can be concluded from experience-based and theoretical studies of rule-making and rule management from the diverse literature of safety science and related psychological, sociological and organisational fields. The literature review provided the theoretical 'state of the art' on rule use and management. The research team distilled this into a framework, consisting of nine steps, showing the generic process of rule management. The team presented preliminary results to researchers at conferences, and at a workshop of senior safety practitioners, whose comments and suggestions were incorporated in all sections of the final report. Based on these discussions, the team developed guidelines for use by safety practitioners. These outline good practice in each step, as a stimulus for reviewing an organisation's rule management. The team also developed a brief intervention plan to help safety practitioners and consultants review and benchmark rule management systems. The intervention plan is included at the end of the guidance.

Safety rules and procedures: the evidence base by Health and Safety Technology and Management Ltd and University of Ballarat (2012)


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