Safety and health in the workplace
Halmeri is an occupational safety and health indicator for measuring the performance of employers’ safety management systems. The Halmeri questionnaire covers the most important elements of safety management. Halmeri can be used in all sectors of the economy, and it is a useful tool for employers wishing to improve occupational safety and health in the workplace. The question categories are
- organisation and practices relating to cooperation in occupational safety and health matters
- cooperation with occupational health care professionals
- occupational safety training and job-specific instruction
- managers’ and the organisation’s contribution to occupational safety
- employers’ independent occupational safety and health inspections (e.g. accident investigations), and
- analysis and assessment of risks associated with employees’ work.
There are two version of the Halmeri questionnaire: a comprehensive one and a concise one. Both questionnaires cover the same key issues but the comprehensive version is based on a checklist of 23 points while the concise one only includes 10. The concise version of the questionnaire is better suited for smaller workplaces.
Use of Halmeri in the context of inspections
Occupational safety and health inspectors usually ask employers and members of their occupational safety and health organisation to complete a Halmeri questionnaire before an on-site inspection.
Employers are also always asked to identify the three most notable hazards and workload factors in the workplace from the perspective of occupational health and to explain what has been or will be done to address them. There is a checklist of hazards and workload factors appended to the Halmeri questionnaire that employers can use in their assessment.
The answers given to the questionnaire and the inspector’s observations of employees’ working conditions are discussed in connection with the inspection. The inspector also rates each of the points in the checklist on a pass/fail basis. In addition, the inspector can give the employer written advice or improvement notices to obligate them to rectify any non-conformances.
The inspection report is accompanied by a Halmeri index that illustrates the percentage of factors that are in order in the workplace relative to all the issues addressed in the course of the inspection. A Halmeri index of other similar workplaces in the same sector of the economy is also provided, which is hoped to encourage the employer to invest more in improving their employees’ working conditions.
More information about the use of the Halmeri approach to improve occupational safety can be found in a report on the effectiveness of measures to promote occupational safety and health and well-being at work published by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (in Finnish, abstract also in English).