Effective Managers promote Health and Safety

Health and safety management, like all management functions, involves active leadership from the top. Managers, particularly at senior levels, play an integral part of organising health and safety and are responsible for delivering and implementing policies and objectives. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has long recognised managers as a key influence on organisational health and safety and emphasises the importance of a proactive approach by managers in establishing the safety culture within organisations.

So how can managers help to promote positive health and safety culture in their organisations?

Managers can help to promote positive approaches to health and safety by leading by example, communicating effectively and engaging with staff, encouraging a learning culture, promoting a “just, no-blame culture”, and tracking and monitoring progress to fight complacency.

Managers may have the right approach and keenness to promoting a positive health and safety culture but this cannot be achieved without effective communication and staff engagement. Employees play an important role in shaping the health and safety culture of an organisation. Managers that work with their staff, engage with them regularly, encourage an open door policy to listen to and discuss issues and provide timely feedback generate effective communication within teams.

Continuous reviewing and monitoring of health and safety performance is a positive way of gauging the health and safety culture in an organisation and a means for improving on existing processes. Managers need to ensure that reliable performance indicators are in place that reflects the hazards to which staff are exposed. They need to have a competence assurance program to ensure that staff have the right skills they need to work safely and help them identify any issues and establish actions for improvement.

Managers should note that it does takes some time to develop a good health and safety culture and it can be lost easily and in a shorter time than it took to achieve it. Health and safety cultures continually evolve and continuous effort is required to ensure that changes are positive. Managers working at improving factors will have a positive influence on their organisation’s health and safety culture.

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