With the assistance of the IRS Steering Committee we produced a description of the Internal Responsibility System. The roles and responsibilities of the contributors to the IRS , as well as a number of processes important for a successful IRS , are all set out in this description. The model of the IRS we developed is consistent with previous descriptions in the Ham and Burkett Reports. The questionnaires administered in the trial audit and our interpretation of the responses were based on the description.
The IRS is a system, within an organization, where everyone has direct responsibility for health and safety as an essential part of his or her job. It does not matter who or where the person is in the organization, they achieve health and safety in a way that suits the kind of work they do. Each person takes initiative on health and safety issues and works to solve problems and make improvements on an on-going basis. They do this both singly and co-operatively with others. It is one of the personal responsibilities of a company President to ensure that the entire system of direct responsibility for health and safety within a company is established, promoted and improved over time. Successful implementation of the IRS should result in progressively longer intervals between accidents or work-related illnesses.
In addition to those with direct responsibility, a number of people and agencies have contributive responsibility for health and safety. Within any organization, the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) has a key contributive part:
The organization's health and safety staff [ 1 ] also play a contributive role.
Assisting the IRS from outside the organization are the Safe Workplace Associations (e.g. MASHA), the Ministry of Labour (MOL), Unions [ 2 ] and others. The MOL may exercise direct authority to resolve health and safety problems in the workplace, principally through its inspectors issuing orders. Listed in Table A are the direct and contributive components.
[ 1 ] These include the Health and Safety Co-ordinator; Hygienist; and Nurse, etc. ]
[ 2 ] The members of the Union, and their representatives who are employees of the employer are "internal" to the employer's organization. The Union will also have health and safety resources located "external" to the employer's organization.