How can you build a positive work health and safety culture?

Building a positive health and safety culture

As all organisations know, workplace health and safety is an essential element for all businesses. However, the way many approach it fails to be beneficial. A positive health and safety culture can and does add value to an organisation if it is implemented properly. 

So what does it take to develop a positive work health and safety culture and how can you implement one at your organisation?

Building a positive workplace health and safety culture depends on knowing what 'culture' is.

What is culture?

Before we begin to talk about positive work health and safety, we must first understand what we mean when we talk about culture, or more specifically, organisational culture. 

When anthropologists first came up with the term nearly a century ago, they imagined it as an all encompassing concept that incorporated all that humans do, including our institutions, languages and traditions. However, over time it was distilled into a definition that goes something like this: "The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a group or organisation of people that is transferred between generations."

In relation to organisational culture, this academic definition fits. Think for instance about leadership style and how this permeates throughout the organisation, influencing the way processes are structured and enacted. Culture provides the background for the way people perform their everyday tasks and the interactions among employees, customers and management staff. 

Safety is more than an individuals responsibility. Safety is more than an individual's responsibility.

What is safety culture then?

If culture is the shared meanings, values and behaviours of people, safety culture is thus all that relates to ensuring safety in the workplace. In other words, safety culture is the common understanding that everyone has the right to be safe and healthy while at work as well as the responsibility to act in a way that ensures this is a reality. 

One of the most important aspects of culture is that it penetrates all aspects of an organisation, from top to bottom. As such, safety culture is influenced by all members of a business, be it the CEO, an HR manager or a labourer. In this respect, everybody thus has a responsibility to ensure that the culture is a positive one. 

However, some people have a greater ability to affect change in an organisation than others and thus have a greater onus on them. In most cases this refers to people in upper management. 

So how do I build a positive workplace safety culture?

As culture is defined as a host of transferable values and meanings, building a positive culture of health and safety can be attained in a number of ways. 

However, it all starts with ensuring the processes you have at your company serve their purpose and are thus viewed positively by all members of staff. One way to be this happens is by introducing new safety software, such as a safety app. 

Culture is inherently communal, thus safety culture is more than an individual's responsibility.

Through applications like SiteApp, employees are better able to interact and engage with workplace processes, without the hassle that characterised old paper-based systems. SiteApp for instance allows workers to access required compliance documents remotely and managers to allocate work duties to individuals in the field. 

Once organisations can begin to streamline and enhance their work health and safety processes, employees will begin to see the value of these, rather than being told how these are important. With the passing of the Health and Safety at Work Act, there is added emphasis to engage employees and ensure they are taking responsibility of their own and other's health and safety. 

If you would like to learn more about engaging employees and ensuring you have a positive workplace health and safety culture, it is important to talk to the experts in the field. Contact SiteApp today. 

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