Tools and processes, there are plenty of them in health and safety and for many, they are a great way of reducing the risks in the workplace. Whilst they do have their supporters, they are often misunderstood by many workers and viewed as a corporate strategy with little involvement from those on the shop floor.

The SLAM technique (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) is used to encourage workers to take control of their own safety situations whilst keeping others safe.

 The mantra of ‘simple messages repeated often’ could not be truer than with the SLAM technique used in health and safety. In today’s article, we break down the technique and how your business could benefit from its adoption.

STOP

This stage of the SLAM technique tries to get workers to develop an understanding of the task and think about the nuances around it. Some of the key questions to ask include:

  • Do I feel comfortable doing this task?
  • Is this a new task?
  • Do I need the training to perform this task?
  • Has the task changed since I first completed it?

LOOK

The next stage of the SLAM process encourages workers to look before during and after the completion of any tasks, areas to cover include:

  • Inspection of the work area for any potential hazards
  • Identifying new hazards for each new step
  • Evaluation of what to do about the hazards


ASSESS

The third stage of the SLAM technique puts an assessment point for the whole team. Regardless of seniority, all workers need to assess the team’s ability to perform the tasks safely. Key points to cover include:

  • Do workers have the correct skills?
  • Do they have the correct subject knowledge?
  • Do they have the correct training
  • Is more training needed for the team beforehand?
  • Does the team have the correct tools?

MANAGE

The final stage of the SLAM process takes the team’s manager to take responsibility and eliminate any hazards on the site. Some of the key areas to cover here include:

  • Making sure equipment is clean and maintained well
  • Assessment of what went well with each worker task and what didn’t
  • Consideration of how the team can be better prepared for tasks in the future

Will adopting SLAM improve health and safety in my business?

This is not an exhaustive list of the protocol required to follow the SLAM technique; however, it provides a rough outline of some of the tasks that need to be completed.

Will it benefit your business? It depends if you implement it correctly. It is essentially a process-driven checklist approach that attempts to provide opportunities for workers and managers to assess the team’s performance of tasks from a safety perspective. If you do follow the process correctly it provides good opportunities to determine the status of safety-critical areas. The constant checks help to catch any potential issues. The SLAM technique also re-emphasises the need for good training throughout the stages, this is why it is included in two separate stages.

That being said, the SLAM process is not a silver bullet when it comes to health and safety, as nothing is. A good holistic approach is needed that considers all different areas of the work, throughout the organisation.