A positive safety culture

Encouraging a Positive Safety Culture

Deloitte’s recently issued their second annual Health and Safety Leadership Survey of New Zealand Companies.  In it 90% of Kiwi CEO’s think their health and safety risks are effectively managed but there are 3 key areas that needed improvement: risk management, worker engagement and contractor management.

Lead by example
Build trust and respect
Communicate clearly
Involve everyone
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Business Leaders’ Health & Safety Forum Executive Director Francois Barton said that overall the survey results were encouraging and provided a view of what good practice looks like. “However, there are some gaps between the commitment of our business leaders and the reality of health and safety practice on the ground.”  He noted that the report shows that culture and worker participation are seen as key to improving health and safety performance but efforts to improve safety culture are patchy.

Improving the safety culture in your workplace will mean:

  • fewer accidents, injuries and lost time
  • safer behaviours among workers
  • improved well-being and job satisfaction
  • better relationships between management and staff.

So how do you know if your company has a good safety culture?  What does it look like?  The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment produced a document in 2013 to improve the safety in mines, quarries and tunnels.  This list of “What a strong health and safety culture looks like” from the publication can be applied to any industry.

  • Leaders are regularly seen in the workplace with the team.
  • Everybody knows that if a job can’t be done safely it isn’t done at all.
  • Everyone has the knowledge and skills to do their jobs safely.
  • Everyone knows what their health and safety responsibilities and duties are.
  • Staff, contractors and representatives are actively involved in decision-making.
  • There is open and honest communication across the organisation.
  • There is mutual respect between workers and managers.
  • Everyone actively reports incidents, hazards and near misses.
  • Incidents and hazards are investigated without fear of blame or recrimination.
  • People who break the rules or condone rule breaking by others are held accountable.
  • The organisation learns from incidents and near misses and makes sure they don’t happen again.
  • There is emphasis on the use and continuous improvement of systems.
  • Risk assessment is routinely and actively used at all levels and in all processes.
  • Health and safety is adequately resourced with sufficient people, equipment and time.

So how much of the list can your company tick off? To create an effective safety culture is an ongoing process.  It requires a large commitment on behalf of the entire company. Here are a five tips to get you started:

  1. Everybody needs to be a role model.  Everyone is accountable for being visibly involved in safety, especially managers and supervisors.
  2. Share you safety vision.  Ensure everyone knows your company’s safety expectations.  Induction training should include the company’s safety vision.
  3. Make your safety procedures usable by:
    • keeping them simple and easy to follow– get people who use them to help write them
    • not having too many
    • making sure those who need them can access them when they need them.
  4. Cultivate a trusting culture where it is easy to:
    • report incidents (be prepared for an increase in incidents if you think there may be under-reporting at present)
    • have open and honest incident investigations
    • report and share the outcomes of investigations; make sure that incidents won’t happen again by putting new processes in place
    • communicate worries and issues.
  5. Track progress and celebrate successes.

Siteapp can help you build a good safety culture in your workplace.  It makes it easy to report incidents; procedures for each part of a job can be stored with the job for easy access by everyone and it has a simple to use site hazard identification process.  Find out how you can keep your workers safe by contacting Siteapp now.

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