This year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work (Thursday 28 April) is based on the theme ‘act together to build a positive safety and health culture’. We asked members of the IOSH Presidential team one question: what’s the one top tip you would give to members about ensuring a positive safety culture in a workplace? Here is how they responded.
Louise Hosking, President
‘Psychological health and safety within our organisations is at the heart of creating trust and empowered high performing teams. With trust, our people will take care of themselves and those they work alongside.
‘We can create comprehensive risk assessments, rules and tools but, without trust and teamwork, the messages we all care about will never land. When we put our people, their health, their safety and their wellbeing first, they will step up to solve the most complex challenges we are facing in the world today. It starts with just one conversation at a time.’
Lawrence Webb, President Elect
‘One aspect for me is that ‘proof is always in the pudding’. By this I mean that employers should work hard to get the workforce (and other stakeholders) engaged but, having done so, should then work even harder to ensure that those same people see and hear about their inputs in the form of outputs.
‘This demonstrates listening and understanding and helps develop trust. This positively reinforces efforts and makes it likely that leaders will be trusted to do the same again in the future, opening the door to identify where further opportunities in working together may lie.’
Jimmy Quinn, Immediate Past President
‘Communication is key, as well as understanding the environment that you are in. From my perspective, the construction industry is a hands-on industry that requires key soft skills, the ability to ask a question and understand the answer. It’s also about having an open approach that embraces an ethic of challenging with care, doing the right thing and better language.
‘The language of health and safety needs to change – no more use of closed questions – we need to learn how to communicate better. The words honesty, respect, fairness, integrity and loyalty alongside the "person" who the person will ensure a positive safety culture in the workplace.’
Joanne Price, Vice-President
‘Three words sum up my top tip to ensure a positive safety culture in a workplace: participation, consultation and communication. But for this to be effective, it shouldn’t be one way or in silos, but in multiple directions involving many different groups that make up the workplace.
‘To ensure that the whole workplace is engaged in your organisation’s occupational health and safety management system, you need to get everyone to participate in its creation, continual improvement and management.
‘Look to ensure that all levels within the organisation have a voice and, more importantly, that they are listened to. Effective participation, consultation and communication is key.’