NSHC 2016: OSH professionals can help organisations stay fit for the future

How workplace safety and health can enable organisations to remain fit for the future was a key theme at this year’s National Safety and Health Conference, hosted by IOSH.

NSHC 2016: OSH professionals can help organisations stay fit for the future
NSHC 2016: OSH professionals can help organisations stay fit for the future

Delegates were given tips on meeting the challenges posed by a changing world of work, and how they can help enable organisations to become safer, healthier and more productive workplaces.

Topics covered included protecting lone workers, dealing with workplace bullying and harassment and how to encourage behavioural safety throughout an organisation.

On the latter, Professor Neil Budworth, Health, Safety and Risk Manager at Loughborough University, said: “Our job is simple. We are trying to achieve a safe moment of truth when a person choose to behave safely or unsafely.

“Our job is to make sure they make the right choice. To do so, they need three things – the right knowledge, the right equipment and a clear understanding of the behaviour that is expected from the organisation. If you get all that right you get a safe moment of truth.”

Neil also discussed ongoing research into trigger words, and how they can affect people’s responses to what they are being ask to do.

When asked what a good safety culture looks like, he said: “You will know within 30 seconds of being there.

“It’s about the values of the organisation being so embedded that you don’t think about it. When you have got it right it is not seen as an add-on, it is just part of how we do things.”

The challenges facing the UK’s health and safety system – particularly after the UK’s EU Referendum, the impact of new sentencing guidelines for corporate health and safety offences, and the development of ISO 45001 - a new international standard for occupational safety and health (OSH) – was also covered during the conference.

Philip White, Head of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Operational Strategy Division, said health and safety helps to create a level playing field for business, enabling them to become more productive.

He said: “The big challenge here for us all is how we continue to carry on delivering improvements in health and safety.

“This is not just in terms of reducing accidents and ill health but also how taking a sensible, proportionate approach to health and safety is a key enabler in the workplace.”

He added: “It is only together that we can continue to make the health and safety system better.”

IOSH’s Public Services, Health and Social Care, Education, and Environmental and Waste Management groups jointly organised the conference, which took place at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel, in Nottingham, on Thursday 15 September.

The conference was chaired by former IOSH President Gerard Hand, who said the ‘fit for the future’ topic was particularly close to his heart.

He said: “Fit for the future can mean so many things, both in the health sense and how we work in the future. In an ever-changing environment, as safety and health professionals we have to be prepared for whatever the future holds for us.”



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