Adopting a positive culture around health and safety in the workplace is essential. How can you improve how employees and contractors interact and work within these parameters?
1. It doesn’t always have to be about official forms
Health and safety is a serious issue and one that should not be left to chance. The current climate of businesses and companies carving out a new way of doing things post-lockdown has thrown a spotlight on health and safety. Whilst aspects such as workstation risk assessment and other office-based risk assessments, including how social distancing on the shop floor will work, are essential, assessing how well measures are working is key to protecting workers, the public and contractors.
But that doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a clipboard or official-looking forms all the time. Have a conversation with employees about what else needs to be done or changed.
2. Present health and safety as a positive step
For too long, health and safety has been the butt of jokes and headlines suggesting that some changes and measures are ludicrous and yet, we have never needed health and safety more.
Hazards and risks change. At one time, office-based risk assessment would not have listed repetitive strain injury as a significant risk, nor the impact of focusing on a flickering computer screen all day. Some staff have learnt the hard way that when these risk assessments are not done and their wellbeing is not taken seriously, they bear the brunt.
A positive tone around health and safety in the workplace will go a long way to removing the stigma of health and safety.
3. Ask the question…
Can someone be hurt doing a job or taking part in an activity? How can you get hurt by it? The health and safety manual will broadly cover the basics of safety at work but there are times when ‘things happen’ that is outside of its printed parameters.
Referring to the current situation of returning to work post lockdown, some questions need to be answered from how often should PPE be replaced to what is the right way to use it? There’ll be many other questions too but underpinning them all will be the broader question of how someone could be hurt or their health affected by certain actions and activities.
4. Ask for feedback and input
Health and safety affects everybody. And yet, it is so often ‘done’ to staff teams and in a way that they find difficult to work with. In other words, there is no real interaction between what happens ‘on the ground’ and what the health and safety manual says happens.
Gaining feedback and input from staff on health and safety concerns is essential but, acting on these concerns and the suggestions should not be a tick box exercise. It should be a genuine move to listen to and act on health and safety concerns of those we value most in the workplace – the talented staff pool.
The lesson behind successful health and safety in the workplace is about involving everyone.