It is not a new idea to say that senior managers have an impact on the safety culture of an organisation, and therefore on accidents and ill-health. In ‘Reducing error and influencing behaviour’ (HSG 48, 1999), Great Britain’s safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, made it clear that management commitment and leadership, indicated by the resources allocated to health and safety, are key factors for success.
However, managers need to do more than provide resources. As HSG 48 puts it: ‘Staff need to believe that all their managers are committed to health and safety’. If your organisation has a culture that accepts that a steady stream of minor injury accidents is inevitable, you need your senior managers to paint a realistic picture of a day when these accidents are rare. If lower back pain is seen as ‘part of the territory’ for people working in manual jobs, you want support in raising the expectation of people to feel well.
In this webinar, our panel outlined three lessons they’ve learned about engaging the senior management team. The headlines might seem obvious, but some of the detail is surprising:
- Learn about your audience – people are more than their job titles, and the people with influence might not be those you first think of.
- Tailor your message – what makes people tick might not be what you expect, and remember, everyone likes a story.
- Reinforce their response – Senior managers are people, so just like the workforce we need to reinforce in them the behaviours we want them to repeat
Bridget Leathley | Health and safety consultant, The Safer Choice
Pat Sheehan | Associate director, SHEQ, Colas Ltd
Hosted by Kellie Mundell | Digital editor, IOSH magazine