Similarly to the STOP method, SLAM (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) is a technique that workers should use when they feel they are at risk.
This technique encourages workers to take control of their safety and that of those around them shows the value in health and safety, and outlines a clear process to follow for maximum safety. SLAM is used in a variety of businesses in different disciplines and the technique even has applications outside of health and safety.
What are the four stages of SLAM?
When following this procedure, it is broken down into four different stages for workers to follow.
Before starting, workers should stop and ask:
- Is this a new task?
- Has the task changed since I first completed it?
- When was the last time I did this task?
- Do I feel comfortable doing it?
- Do I need training to make me comfortable doing it?
Covering these areas of the SLAM principle will help you develop an understanding of the work from a health and safety perspective. This is also a good way to uncover any issues or worries that individuals may have when performing the work. When you are in this stage it is worth considering the impact of any variables that may have changed around the work being done (Health and Safety Executive, 2020). Has the location changed? Have new work methods been introduced? These are all changes that could impact on the health and safety of the work being completed.
Employees should look before, during, and after the completion of their tasks.
- Inspect the work area for any potential hazards
- Identify potential hazards for each step of the task
- Evaluate what to do about hazards identified
If hazards are identified, workers should discuss these with a supervisor as they will be able to assist with control measures and evaluating risk. This stage of the SLAM process encourages workers and managers alike to look out for potential hazards and the impact that they could have on safety.
All workers regardless of their seniority should assess whether they or those around them, are equipped to perform a given task safely and correctly.
- Do they have the correct knowledge?
- Do they have the correct skills?
- Do they have the correct training?
- Do they have the correct tools?
- Do they need help to perform a task?
- Do they need more training beforehand?
Any concerns should be discussed with fellow workers and be brought to the attention of a supervisor. This is essential if you want your company to learn how work can be done more safely in the future and if more health and safety training is needed to enable workers to perform the tasks safely.
Managers should take responsibility for eliminating or minimising any hazards on site. This can be done by:
- Ensuring the proper equipment is used and well maintained
- Thinking about each task completed by workers and assessing what went well compared to what didn’t go well
- Considering how they can be better prepared for future tasks that they or their workers will be undertaking
After you have taken the necessary steps to analyse previous work, SLAM provides a stage for ongoing safety management. This gives you the time to implement some of the learnings you may have developed from the analyse stage and provide ongoing safety improvements and management.
Why should you implement SLAM in your Health and Safety management?
SLAM is a method that should always be shared with all workers and managers to ensure maximum safety. This can help to encourage safe working practices so that they become the norm amongst all workers. For more information on safety management processes, our interview with James Pomeroy covers some of the latest best practices in the field.
Health and Safety Executive (2020) Leadership and worker involvement toolkit, ‘The SLAM technique’, Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/lwit/assets/downloads/slam.pdf