It is absolutely true that the tone around safety culture is set from the top.
If the CEO or MD gives off a vibe that safety is an unnecessary distraction from revenue generation operations, it is likely that this will be reflected in the attitudes and behaviours of the workforce. If the CEO and MD take the time to understand health and safety, and regularly engage with the workforce, suppliers, sub-contractors and the owners of the business on these matters, it is equally likely that the workforce will be more diligent and authentic in how they approach health and safety on a day to day basis.
The most developed health and safety cultures in SME’s we have seen have fully integrated all health and safety practices and procedures into their normal day to day operations… it is about creating an environment where safety operations are simply “how things happen around here” and not seen as a ‘bolt on’ to operations.
A good place to start is to actually ask the workforce what they think about health and safety. This can be done using a simple workforce survey or even, in very small businesses, an open discussion. It is incredibly valuable to the business to understand how its people view the safety culture so it can identify risk areas where certain employees may be a higher chance of exhibiting unsafe behaviours and to focus efforts to foster a positive safety culture.
Ten key questions you might want to ask your people include:
The results of these questions can offer excellent insights into how your people feel about health and safety and can help you refine your focus to strengthen health and safety behaviours.