Health and safety can be seen as a ‘tick the box’ or compliance exercise. A lot of assumptions about health and safety exist. Most commonly we hear “PC gone mad!” or “Whatever happened to common sense?”
In reality, it is the doing that matters in health and safety.
Engagement is important
Safety starts at the top. Leaders who communicate the importance of health and safety across all levels of the business will help to motivate and inspire employees and contractors.
Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, from the bottom to the top. It’s the doing that matters.
Growing and building a positive health and safety culture is a challenge. There are many conflicting timelines and agendas and health and safety can get overlooked. By adding it to the daily ‘to do’ list and ensuring you are managing the risks appropriately, the standards within your business will rise.
Below are some key ways in which you can help to establish an effective safety culture in your workplace.
Set clear responsibilities and accountabilities from the top down within the organisation.
- Principal contractors need to understand their health and safety duties and processes
- Have a clear plan in place to manage any high-risk activity, such as a SWMS
- Put systems in place to examine and investigate the cause of incidents, to prevent them from reoccurring
- Ensure workers are trained and informed on how to manage and control high-risk work
- Ensure that regular safety reviews are completed, with outcomes addressed and communicated to your team
- Understand how your systems work and take steps to make sure they continue to work correctly
Communication is key. Sharing current and accurate information to all employees/contractors or subcontractors in the business will keep everyone in the know and informed.
- Hold regular toolbox talks to discuss how you plan to manage high-risk work and to discuss and issues that may have arisen and how to prevent them
- Ensure the business has up to date resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risk and they are shared with all employees/contractors or subcontractors
- A good understanding of risk must exist through all parts of the business. Address any gaps in knowledge with training and/or supervision
- Work closely with your team to close any gaps and to keep them closed, build good working relationships to enable you to work together, safely. This is the ultimate goal of effective health and safety
Risk management is all about preparing effective plans and controls, and understanding what to look for in order to make your workplace safe and keep it that way.
- Understanding how high-risk work is being controlled
- Ensure a Risk Assessment is completed for all high-risk work, prior to the task being started
- Monitor your actions! Performing regular site reviews will help to address any issues before they become a problem
- Set up systems to monitor incidents, with the main focus on preventing recurrence
- Taking corrective actions in order to control any incident that may have resulted in a worker losing time from work, or a near-miss incident which may have resulted in a potentially severe outcome