10 Ways to Encourage a Strong Health and Safety Culture

Having the right PPE is incredibly morale boosting, but it’s only the foundation in the pursuit of a strong health and safety (H&S) culture. If you’re in doubt what H&S culture is, it broadly refers to ‘how we do things around here’.

A poor H&S culture encourages an atmosphere, where not complying with safe practices is acceptable. In a good culture, there’s demonstrated commitment to health and safety by management, and employees feel confident to report accidents.

Here are 10 ways that you can help encourage and promote a strong health and safety culture in your company, as a manager or health and safety responsible.

1. Safety first

Promoting a safe and healthy culture is not rocket science, but it takes time, effort and resources. There are no shortcuts; you’ve got to prioritise health and safety!

Encourage all employees to speak up about concerns, accidents and when there’s been a near miss. No one knows better than the guys and girls on the floor.

2. PPE for everyone

It can’t be stressed enough that people are different, and therefore; so should their PPE be. Involve the employees in choosing the right PPE to make sure all important demands are met. The guy from purchasing has no idea what the different job roles need on the floor, and that’s okay.

Make a PPE board with people from different job roles and across seniority and have them negotiate their PPE wishes with purchasing and management.

3. Safety inductions

When new employees start, make sure that health and safety is a part of their induction programme.

It’s hard to change people’s attitudes and beliefs once they’ve been properly ingrained. Make sure newcomers are introduced to the way it should be, not the way it has been for the last while.

4. Communications

The workplace needs to encourage a two- way communication model. This does not only include an approachable health and safety board, but a management team that knows what’s going on, and wants to talk about it.

Make sure the manager is on the floor regularly chatting to employees.
Casual chat encourages a two-way communication and can build core trust.

5. No blame

You can’t play the blame game and promote a strong health and safety culture at the same time unless there’s been a severe breach of regulations. If employees don’t feel comfortable sharing when they’ve done something wrong, you can’t understand the reasons behind the incident and therefore can’t learn from it. If you can’t learn from it, others are likely to end up in the same situation.

6. Stick to the rules

Normalisation of deviation is a joker. If there is a natural tendency to rationalise shortcuts when under pressure at your workplace, you’ve got a problem. You’ve got to decide on a set of rules, and then you need to stick to them. There’s a reason why there is health and safety legislation. Just because A goes well, it doesn’t mean that B will.

7. Toolbox talks

The more times you hear something the more likely you are to remember it. Introduce toolbox talks and have regular short health and safety discussions. A toolbox talk is a short informal discussion about a specific health and safety topic.

Sending the whole staff on an extended health and safety course is both expensive and time-consuming. Toolbox talks are effective, inexpensive, and make sure that health and safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

8. The health and safety notice board

Introduce a health and safety notice board in the canteen, or somewhere people pass by regularly. Split it into news/ thoughts/ feedback and whatever else you think should be on there. A notice board where everyone can contribute is a great way to receive feedback, push news and show that you care about your employees.

9. Best practise

It’s impossible to know good from bad if you don’t know what good is.

Positive reinforcement is essential in building safe habits. Recognise safe behaviour and make little case stories out of it. Even though we’re all adults, it’s nice with a tap on the shoulder and a well-done sticker from time to time.

10. Build safety into the daily to do’s

Make sure that employees have the time and resources to do all their daily to do’s in a safe and sound manner.
Legislation and guidelines are often by-passed when someone’s in a rush to finish a task, or if the right equipment isn’t handy. Make sure that the employees have all that they need to be able to carry out their tasks in a safe manner.



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