What do you look at when something has gone wrong in your business and do you apply the same levels of investigation into a health & safety incident? We know for many businesses the answer is no; all too often it’s a quick look to see who is to blame. Unfortunately this will never help to build a positive safety culture in a business.
A good place to start is to look at the gaps between what your policy says should be done and what in practice is actually happening. Looking at this will quickly let you see if you have a weak safety culture. If your investigation concludes that your employees have had the training and questions why that didn`t follow your procedures then you need to dig deeper; a lot deeper.
Often in this situation it’s because of poor leadership and poor communication of what is important to the business (if indeed keeping your employees safe is a key business objective). Failing to properly communicate that the safe way is what the business wants or turning a blind eye at times when the pressure is on will not send the right messages to your employees. We were only asked the other day why is it my boss sends us on all this health & safety training and then asks us to get up on the roof to fix a leak (because he said they didn’t have the money to bring a professional in). Clearly very mixed messages and you can’t blame the employees from being confused can you?
Today most businesses should understand the cost of health & safety failures can be very expensive; not only can the HSE charge and then take your business to court where fines and court costs will come off your profits. Also there are many other costs; just think:
- What is the cost of a lost productive day to your business;
- How many productive days might be lost;
- What would the impact be on employee morale;
- What would the impact be on your business reputation?
Clearly there are many other questions but these should perhaps make you stop and think can we afford for things to go wrong and what do we need to do to make sure it doesn’t. If you are unsure whether you are doing all that needs to be done then why not undertake an audit or measure your business by using the HSE Safety Climate tool which will cover all aspects of your safety culture.
Looking at where you may be able to improve and by involving your employees can build a positive culture that’s good for your business so why not commit to looking at how you can build a stronger healthier business. In our experience creating a positive safety culture doesn’t have to be expensive but it does require commitment.