From working in a wide range of businesses across the UK it’s apparent that too many managers don’t really understand health and safety. If they did then some of the simple fixes that are needed would be completed and businesses wouldn’t have to ask “why did this happen?” after the event.
You only have to look through the HSE website news pages to find examples of where a better understanding could have prevented a serious incident and have saved the business a substantial amount of lost time and money.
For some reason many businesses fail to educate their managers and just expect them to manage situations where they don’t fully understand the risks and what the law requires. This is despite the fact the health and safety legislation is clear that managers must be trained to understand health and safety as it applies to their operations.
The way to overcome this is to ensure that managers have received suitable training; in the view of the HSE this is to complete a course such as IOSH Managing Safely. This provides a good grounding into the importance of risk assessment, what the law expects, and points managers to look at how they control risks in their operations.
We run courses throughout the year both as public courses and in-house for some businesses. In fact, we recently completed two courses for Kent County Council as they appreciated the importance of bringing their managers and supervisors together to learn about health and safety. The great thing about in-house courses is that managers can share their experiences and relate to each other’s problems readily.
Of course, a possible alternative is to use someone with good health and safety knowledge to direct managers in what they need to be doing; the downside is that managers may not think for themselves and only do what they have been instructed to do. From my own past life experience as a health and safety manager in a large organisation, this presents a whole host of problems.
So why not look at whether your managers, supervisors and team leaders are properly trained, as it may well help you have a clear conscience and save a lot of costs in the long term.