Throughout our work with health and safety officers, advisers, managers and directors, in all types of organisations, there is one thing that is clear. That is, that an excellent Health and Safety culture can only be achieved by an organisation that is proactive in the management of safety and truly committed to improving upon the status quo.
There are numerous studies into various organisation’s health and safety culture and they invariably conclude that a truly successful culture cannot be achieved without a committed management team with clear and practical strategies in place. Promoting and sustaining an excellent and robust health and safety culture is a long-term investment, that pays supreme dividends for those who are successful.
In the following post, we will share 5 of the most effective strategies that we have witnessed being deployed in a wide range of organisations that have truly excellent Health and Safety Cultures:
Tip 1: Lead By Example
The management and directors must set the standard if cultural change is to occur. If management show that they truly live the values of the desired health and safety culture in everything they do, this will have a profound effect on the workforce and will be a contributing factor to overall behavioural change. This tip sounds simple, and it is, but it is also incredibly effective and should therefore never be overlooked due to its simplicity.
Leading by example doesn’t just mean following the rules and regulations set out by legislation and your internal policies and risk assessments. It also means you should put your money (and time!) where your mouth is. Be prepared to make investments in appropriate equipment or specialist training when required. This doesn’t mean just throw money at a problem, but carefully consider what (if any) additional training or equipment could make an impact to your health and safety culture in a proactive way.
Tip 2: Promote a Culture of Trust
Trust is essential to a good health and safety culture. If you or part of the management team commit to something, then follow through. Trust is the cornerstone of an effective health and safety culture as well as a productive business in general. If your workforce has belief that you will deliver on what you commit to, they will deliver what is required of them.
Tip 3: Go beyond the minimum legal requirements
This can be a hard one to sell as going beyond the minimum legal requirements often means more investment, which effects the bottom line in the short term. However, it has been clearly demonstrated, time and again, that an effective and proactive health and safety strategy will have a phenomenal return on investment in the long term. Longer term benefits can be; reduced sickness and absence, increased productivity and output, as well as reduction in legal costs and insurance.
Effective initiatives can include; rehabilitation for injured employees, on-site physiotherapy or massage, mindfulness or stress management seminars, or maybe something as simple as health checks.
Tip 4: Communication is Key
All communications between management and employees should be clear and accurate to prevent any misunderstanding. Various communication methods are often required by organisations to ensure messages are communicated in a timely and effective way. Methods will vary from email, to social media, to manager announcements, to seminars. We have recently also seen the increase in specifically developed apps for in-house communication. However you get your messages out to your teams, make sure that you select the appropriate communication for the nature of the message.
For new initiatives or working processes, written communication may be appropriate, as well as verbal manager/supervisor briefing. This will provide your employees with a reference point to return to and can also provide you with a commitment from employees to action the required changes.
Good communication is a two-way street and Managers and Directors should regularly ask for feedback, updates and ideas from front line employees.
Tip 5: Your Workforce is Your Business
An employer is ultimately responsible for the behaviour of its workforce, including compliance with safe working practises and legislation. By leading by example, promoting a culture of trust and ensuring excellent communication you will be doing all you can to give your workforce the environment they need in order to participate in and nurture an excellent health and Safety culture. Trust your employees and involve them in the key decisions about the environment they will work in. Listen to their feedback and make them part of the solution. Your employees are your biggest asset, so look after them as if they were family.
Tell us about your Health and Safety Culture
Let us know your experience with any of the above; successes and challenges. Do you have any more top tips for? Leave your comments below, or email us at email@example.com