Use Health and Safety as Tool in your Workplace
A recent report by conglomerate manufacturer 3M suggests that when asked which factors are instrumental in creating a strong company culture, the most common responses are:
The chances of anyone claiming health and safety played a large part in creating a strong company culture is virtually nil. In fact many organisations may even regard health and safety rules as being detrimental to company culture – but is such criticism and oversight warranted?
Caring is caring
Although some staff may feel that the additional burdens placed upon them to maintain health and safety make them less productive, the real reason for implementing these rules is to help keep them safe at work. More importantly still, where staff have a duty to look out for each other’s safety, you can instead begin building the personal bonds that underpin a truly “strong” organisation. Encouraging staff to adopt this mentality then becomes a battle for hearts and minds. Instead of shackles that prevent your business moving forward quickly, management and employees need to adopt a 100% commitment to keeping each other safe. Over time this belief in mutual safety will become an integral part of your company culture. One good way to begin the cultural shift is by engaging employees at all levels with aspects of health and safety policy. Going beyond the employee’s own duty to maintain good standards of health and safety, you could ask for input in the testing and evaluation process for new personal protective equipment (PPE) for instance. Involving staff in this way:
- Shows that your business believes health and safety is important.
- Demonstrates that staff at all levels of your organisation have a part to play in changing the culture.
- Begins the process of encouraging staff to consider the welfare of their colleagues.
- Helps make the first steps to integrating health and safety into corporate culture.
A health and safety culture is not optional
Businesses concerned about the effect this focus on health and safety has on the bottom line need not worry. By creating a culture where staff feel that they are protected and valued by management and colleagues alike, they are likely to reflect a similar level of loyalty. This then manifests as increased engagement and output, coupled with a longer spell working for your business. Not to mention the fact that your staff are your most valuable asset and therefore “worth’ protecting. And ultimately there are the legal responsibilities attached to protecting your staff and the general public from accidents. In most cases the best way to improve welfare is to use the staff ‘at the coalface’ to monitor and report potential problems. In this way you can work to resolve issues before they present a risk.
Now it’s your Turn
So does your business work health and safety into the corporate culture? What tips can you share?