Trying to create and maintain a strong health and safety culture in your place of work can be frustrating at times.
Communicating the necessity of following proper health and safety regulations, as well as ensuring that everyone knows what these regulations are, is tricky business.
The foundations of a strong, effective health and safety culture rely on the participation of everyone in the workplace, even upper management.
Efforts to get workers to embrace regulations will be fruitless if management don’t lead by example. Workers will not feel respected or see the merit of following regulations if it’s deemed acceptable for some people to bypass them.
Upper management need to embrace the culture by actively organising events and meetings to promote it, as well as reacting to the queries and concerns raised by those under them.
This is essential to set up a solid foundation for the rest of your efforts.
You won’t be able to foster a robust health and safety culture if people have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing!
To start off with, notify all your employees of the regulations they should be abiding by. Everyone should have a copy that they can independently refer to. Make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them.
Changes in your internal regulations as well as broader legal ones should be promptly communicated to your office team.
Simple measures like pinning up a notice board for all the latest health and safety news or sending out mass emails around the office will ensure that everyone has access to all the necessary information, meaning there are no excuses not to adhere to regulations!
Continue these updates with regular instructional meetings. Toolbox talks are fantastic for this.
A toolbox talk is a brief and informal discussion that centres around a particular safety issue relevant to your business.
They are a great lively way to engage your employees, regularly getting them to put health and safety at the forefront of their minds. You could even invite one of the office workers to lead a session themselves.
An office safety circle is a great idea to get people from different departments and across different status levels to work together to push the importance of health and safety.
Recruit some volunteers to represent the different interests within the office to form a committee. They’ll meet regularly to discuss hazards they’ve become aware of as well as suggesting ways to improve communication.
It may also be of benefit to the team to set up a means of collecting information from the rest of the office via anonymous letter boxes or drop-ins with members of the committee to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
The process of creating a strong health and safety culture will be far easier when your employees are willing to come forward and report accidents.
It’s absolutely crucial when there are accidents or ‘near misses’ in the office that management is made aware of them. This will allow them to put in place measures to prevent it happening again, benefiting everyone.
Make it clear to employees that you expect them to report accidents and reward those who do so to send a clear message to everyone else.
Anyone who doesn’t follow the agreed regulations should be made accountable for their actions, and this must be consistently carried out, or it’ll weaken the strength of your desired health and safety culture.
Always be on the lookout for malpractice and discipline them accordingly to show to them and others that you are serious about healthy and safety enforcement.
Create a coherent, rigid investigation protocol to get to the bottom of health and safety issues.
Whilst you may not need to wear gauntlets and visors to protect yourself in the office space, an important part of maintaining a strong health and safety culture is to accommodate everyday safety.
Most office workers will spend a considerable amount of time in their chairs at their desk, staring at a blaring computer screen. This can cause a multitude of health problems that can be easily fixed by providing employees with proper equipment.
Well-adjusted chairs to improve posture, ergonomic keyboards, and good quality lighting will all demonstrate to your workers that you’re taking their health and safety seriously, and will ultimately get them on board with your other initiatives.
It’s much easier to instil health and safety values in a new employee than it is in someone who has been susceptible to bad practices for several years.
Create an engaging and comprehensive training programme as part of your employee induction process. If you make it interesting and informative, new employees will not be prone to following the poor habits of your existing employees.
Following these tips will keep your office health and safety culture on track.
Since Safety Training Scotland was founded in 2013, it has delivered courses to over 2000 successful delegates. Training everyone from young people starting their careers to CEO’s, Safety Training Scotland has grown a well known reputation and large clientele in a short period of time. At Safety Training we’re passionate about changing the negative perception of health and safety training. Our highest priority is not just to inform, but also to engage and inspire. We are transforming the safety training industry and putting an end to ‘death by powerpoint’.