How to promote a safety conscious culture in the workplace
Why is Health and Safety so important?
Making sure that all the employees within your business have a positive attitude toward safety is key in ensuring that risk stays as low as possible and that everyone complies with the rules and regulations set out by law, such as legislation Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This is especially important in any business which also needs to adhere to COSHH principles as these workplaces run a higher risk than the average business. The three key elements required for a successful safety conscious culture are:
- Practices and rules which can effectively control hazards
- A general positive approach toward risk management and control processes
- The capacity to learn and improve from past issues and safety performance indicators
Using a questionnaire filled out by observing day-to-day observations or carrying out an internal survey with staff members is a great way to assess the current safety climate to establish a baseline and identify problem areas which might arise. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have a Climate Survey Tool (CST) which can provide a good template from which you can measure safety culture on a qualitative basis within your organisation and get an idea of existing attitudes toward safety procedures.
Once you’ve got an idea of the current climate around safety within your business, you can start to create a plan for how you will start a shift toward a more positive attitude. All plans will require long-term planning as a company-wide attitude shift will require a while to take effect. The Safety Culture Maturity model is a good framework for charting where the shift needs to come from within the business, starting with management and flowing outwards into key levels of the business until everyone has bought into the new approach to safety.
Each business will need to take a bespoke approach to how best to improve the safety culture within their own workplace, but there are some common ways that you can achieve a more positive attitude to safety:
- Improve the visibility of management
- Have managers lead by example using best practice methods
- Recognise efforts made by employees who adhere to safety procedures and report mistakes
- Listen to concerns of employees around safety and take tangible action
- Promote recognised training programs like IOSH Working Safely
- Check all safety checks are being performed regularly by all employees
- Allocate proper resources to health and safety so employees feel considered
- Encourage active employee participation when revising safety procedures
- Escalate any issues upwards if an employee spots a hazard which could lead to an accident
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Within British workplaces, the primary piece of legislation which is responsible for health and safety standards is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – sometimes shortened to HASAWA or HSW. This legislation outlines a number of responsibilities that employers have in regards to their employees and maintaining a safe workplace environment.
If you want more information on the health and safety at work act 1974 Click here to check out our article explaining the key areas of the act.
If you’re interested in training your staff on safer ways of working and promoting a standard for safety training within your business, our IOSH Working Safely course covers all the essentials of health and safety and gives staff a solid grounding for understanding their responsibilities when it comes to making your business a safe place to work.
Top Health and SafetyFAQs
What is fire safety?
Fire safety is a set of procedures which aim to reduce the amount of damage and injuries caused by fires. These include risk assessments to help identify and reduce areas of fire risk and formulate an emergency and evacuation plan in the event that a fire does break out.
How often should you do fire safety training?
Whenever new staff join the business, you’ll need to ensure they’re trained on your fire safety procedures. In addition to this, if anything changes within your business which adds new risks, you will need to inform all staff of the new fire risks.
Is manual handling training a legal requirement?
Under the Manual Handling Regulations you are legally obliged to ensure all employees are trained and competent in manual handling if their responsibilities may include manual handling.
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