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Driving a positive safety culture

Driving a positive safety culture Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

The importance of driving a positive safety culture within your organisation can not be underestimated. It can help you comply with legislation, attract and retain employees, minimise risk and potentially, save a life of a colleague. It also has the ability to cut your costs, increase employee happiness and grow your company. Poor safety culture, by contrast, can ruin your reputation, leave you with expensive legal cases and prevent you from achieving your true potential.

What is meant by safety culture?

Safety culture is defined as the way in which safety is managed in a workplace. It is the combination of beliefs, perceptions and attitudes of employees toward the safety of workers and the overall safety of the work environment. A positive safety culture is the culture of a workplace in which all the employees think of safety as an important thing and behave in a way that prioritises their own safety as well as the safety of those around them. This includes using proper personal equipment, following the safety laws and just generally being conscious of safety and safe practices at all times.

Communication

Effective safety Communication is the key to organisational success in achieving a healthy, safe and productive workplace. It is necessary to ensure roles and responsibilities are understood; to warn about hazards; to avoid unsafe practices; to develop emergency response and particularly to learn about the concerns, issues and hazards that workers come across. Good communication between management and your frontline employees is a foundation to creating a strong safety culture. It ensures that senior management and your employees are on the same page when it comes to your safety goals and the best ways to control jobsite hazards.

Training

Health and safety training should be given to everyone in the organisation, including temporary staff. Procedures should be reviewed regularly to be in line with best practices, and refresher training should be given to all staff and contractors at regular intervals. Health and safety training is an important part of the health and safety culture. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and other regulations, it is also a legal requirement for an employer to provide such training. Training is required on recruitment, at induction, or on being exposed to new or increased risks.

Benefits of worker involvement

People who feel valued and involved in decision-making play a big part in a high-performing workplace. Empowering your workforce, giving them the right skills, and getting them involved in making decisions shows them that you take their health, safety and well-being seriously. They raise concerns and offer solutions. Other benefits include:

  • Lower accident rates;
  • A more positive health and safety climate;
  • Greater awareness of workplace risks; and
  • Better control of workplace risks.

 

Develop and implement a positive reporting process

Developing a positive association with reporting health and safety issues in essential to improving your organisations safety culture. One way to promote this is to develop an appraisal system by acknowledging employees who report safety hazards (physical hazards, chemical hazards, mental hazards) or concerns. A positive safety culture will be much easier to build and maintain when employees feel comfortable reporting concerns and believe that the reporting process is positive. Facilitating employees to engage in good catch or near miss reporting can prevent serious incidents occurring.

Lead by example

Managers need to be seen to lead by example when it comes to health and safety. Good managers appear regularly on the ‘shop floor’, talk about health and safety and visibly demonstrate their commitment by their actions. It is important that management is perceived as sincerely committed to safety. If not, employees will feel that commercial interests come first, and safety initiatives or programmes will be undermined by cynicism.

For further information on driving a positive safety culture, please contact us here.

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