Company culture shows the values and fundamental beliefs held by those working within that company. It is often one of the biggest deciding factors for employees when looking for a new company to work for, and people are far more likely to be happy at work if the company culture aligns with their own beliefs.
Health and safety culture is defined by the HSE as “the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behaviour that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organisation’s health and safety management”. Simply put, health and safety culture is the attitude and inclination of those within an organisation to behave and act safely.
Health and Safety is a fundamental part of company culture. For some, H&S is seen as vital, and is considered in everything they do. For others, it is seen as a necessary evil and often takes a back seat – which can often have very dire consequences. Here are just some of the reasons why it’s so important to have a positive health and safety culture:
- It’s the right thing to do – at the most basic level we should want to do everything we can to keep everyone healthy and safe, and a positive health and safety culture helps us to achieve this goal!
- Keep within the law – employers have an obligation to keep their staff and customers healthy and safe, and embedding a positive health and safety culture makes sure everyone acts safely!
- Fewer accidents, absenteeism and illness – if a positive health and safety culture means your staff are more likely to act safely, then in turn they will be less likely to become ill or have accidents!
- Happy and engaged staff – staff who recognise that their employers look out for their health and wellbeing are more likely to be happy and engaged at work. They’re less likely to think the grass is greener somewhere else, and will stay with you for the long run!
- Reduced costs – as the saying goes, if you think health and safety is expensive – try having an accident! A poor health and safety culture in an organisation can lead to more accidents, non-compliance with the law and also higher absenteeism and staff turnover – all of these things either have a direct cost, or have an impact on productivity. Ensuring you have a positive health and safety culture makes sure all of these unnecessary expenses can be avoided!
Now you know what the benefits are, you may be wondering how to actually build a positive health and safety culture? But don’t worry! Here are some simple steps and measures you can take:
- Demonstrate Management Commitment – it is vital that managers actively show support for health and safety, and provide enough resources to it.
- Managers must lead by example – Appear regularly on the shop floor, talk with your teams about health and safety and, most importantly, follow the rules!
- Communicate well – be sure to have open, 2-way communication with your team on health and safety. Listen to them, and take their concerns seriously.
- Let employees take part – build ownership of health and safety at all levels in your team. Employees have valuable knowledge on what can and can’t work to keep their daily tasks safe, so keep them involved!
- Training – this is essential when it comes to health and safety. Teams must be trained to understand how to work safely, and how to be aware of any specific hazards and controls for your site and activities. People can’t act safely if they don’t know how!
Health and safety culture is hugely important in any organisation, and can have a great impact on lots of different areas of your organisation from legislative compliance to staff turnover, and everything in between. PHSS can help to guide you on your journey towards a positive H&S culture, so CONTACT US today to find out more!