Health and Safety in the Workplace

What does this mean? For me it means having a culture of safety in the workplace.

It is more than having a Health and Safety manual sitting on a shelf in the office. You can have a safety conscious workplace without having a working Health and Safety system in the same way that you could have a high accident rate while having a working Health and Safety system.

Running an active Health and Safety system will include:

  • running regular Health and Safety meetings involving all employees
  • identifying and registering all workplace hazards
  • training employees in how to eliminate, isolate or minimise the hazards
  • carrying out regular workplace inspections to identify new hazards

But doing all this doesn’t guarantee a safe workplace. Safety in the workplace starts at the top with managers leading by example. If the boss is out working in the workshop using a drill, grinder or other hazardous tools and does not bother taking the most basic safety precautions (safety glasses and/or ear muffs as required) then how can they expect their employees to take those safety precautions?

Health and Safety requirements can be written into employment agreements so that disciplinary action can be taken when requirements are not met but most managers, especially in small businesses, do not like going down this route. It would be easier to start by setting the example.

If managers make it clear what they expect in terms of Health and Safety in the workplace and lead by example then this really helps to foster a culture of safety in the workplace. I work with many businesses that do this and their accident rates are an example to others. The employees are happier knowing that managers will listen to their safety concerns and take steps to fix those concerns where possible.

Recognising employees that have done something over and above the safety norm is another way of encouraging and building a culture of safety. The recognition does not have to be much – a box of chocolates is worth far more than its monetary cost when an employee is recognised in front of their peers.

So there you go, building a culture of safety in the workplace is not hard. It starts with managers leading by example and encouraging employees.

Contact Us