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CULTURE CLUB. Our suggested membership rules.

Here at The Safety Organisation (T.S.O.), we are called upon to review and develop health and safety management systems for organisations who, up to that point often have no official systems in place.

We then work hard with the clients to audit what they do, find out what their needs are and help them to create some great management systems. That is great up to this point but what happens then? Well, we stress to them the importance of getting the workforce and management 'meshed in' with the systems. And this normally works. But some clients have difficulties in creating the right culture. This is especially true where people have been allowed to simply do things in their own preferred way - not necessarily the safest way. Our work then concentrates on helping them to create the right culture for them to work. Ultimately it is down to the client to make this work but it takes an investment of time and energy. Once this is understood, it is plain sailing and the systems work well. 

Here are some tips on how to create a healthy and safe working culture, which I have based upon an article by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (R.O.S.P.A.) in the latest Health and Safety Matters magazine (published by the British Safety Industry Federation).

  1. Lead from the top. Directors and Management must be seen to support the systems, sending out positive messages and behaving in an exemplary fashion. The worst examples are those who publish sets of rules, do nothing to support them and flout them in a 'privileged' manner.
  2. Be patient. Changes don't happen overnight. It may take months or even years before you iron out all of the issues and problems. But keep it up and keep records as you go.
  3. Tell people what is expected of them. But also tell them why and ask for their views and help. If you were on the receiving end of change, wouldn't you want this?
  4. Run one or more surveys to see how people perceive progress on improvements and shortcomings.
  5. Always give feedback. Thank people for their involvement. It is frustrating and disappointing for people who involve themselves and then feel that their efforts have gone into a 'black hole'.
  6. Use different tactics as ways to involve people. Suggestion schemes, toolbox talks, workers representatives if you don't already have them, emails and letters of appreciation, safe worker of the month certificates or perhaps you have some better ideas?
  7. Be visible. Get out there. Talk to staff. Take one or more people on a 'safety walkabout'.
  8. Let people make contact anonymously. Hopefully this need will pass as people feel more confident if you allow a 'no-blame' environment to allow this to happen openly.
  9. Remember the shift workers and part time workers. They need to be involved and feel ownership too.
  10. Involve the workforce in safety meetings and consultations for change. They do the work and probably know the systems far better than management. Encourage them to speak and become involved as stake-holders. Sometimes senior managers might need to leave the meeting for a short  while to allow open and frank discussions.
  11. Make sure that you provide sufficient time. And that includes time for training and for the contacts as mentioned above.
  12. Make sure that you provide a suitable budget. It shouldn't be much but you might find that you need extra budget for signs, personal protective equipment and sometimes infrastructure. Not having a budget is not an acceptable reason in law or in terms of duties of care for not taking sufficient action for safe systems of work.

Good luck and be patient.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk to us about how you can make health and safety a way of life within your business, please call us on 0800 111 4207 or contact us here.