Health & Safety in Your Workplace: Making A Difference

Nebosh By Andy Taylor

We all know that health and safety is a fundamental aspect of the workplace. Ensuring that those who are working or visiting anywhere are safe and have the lowest risk of injury as possible is vitally important and this is why we have such strict health and safety rules in this country.

As an employer, manager, supervisor, or colleague you will have a certain amount of responsibility placed on you in terms of the health and safety of the workplace. Of course, everybody has a responsibility to ensure that they keep themselves and those around them as safe as possible.

Anyone who is in a leadership position should be aware of the impact of health and safety in the workplace and understand how it is essential.

Leadership, Health and Safety

When it comes to health and safety within a business or organisation most of the responsibility lands at the feet of the leaders. This could be through ensuring that equipment and processes are safe, there is the correct monitoring, maintenance and reporting. A big part of the job is through leading by example as well.

There are a number of key values which are vital to be able to lead in the way of health and safety and make a difference to everyone’s lives. This doesn’t mean, however, that you must be a health and safety professional – just a will to make a difference will do.

For people who are looking for a more solid background in health and safety, and a better understanding of how to use health and safety rules to make your workplace a better place, there are courses available, such as the acclaimed NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence. The course has been devised between the hugely experienced NEBOSH and HSE – Health and Safety Executive – who know everything that there is to know about health and safety.

Health and Safety Leadership Key Values

There are five key values which health and safety experts believe are needed to be able to achieve excellence in health and safety leadership. Many of these values are just traits of being a good leader, but they are also applicable in the leadership of health and safety:

A shared vision

It is important that everybody across the organisation understands and shares the same vision. The main concerns are the ‘what’ and the ‘where’. Communication plays a very important role here.

Emotional Intelligence

It is absolutely essential for any leader – in health and safety or otherwise – to be emotionally intelligent and responsive to the emotional needs of others. People generally respond better when they feel like they are being listened to and that their opinions matter. It doesn’t mean that you always have to agree, but leaders should at least be able to listen to opinions and concerns, take them into account and be open to new ideas.

Supportive and Recognising achievement

Support and recognition are also vitally important in having a leadership role.  Staff need to feel valued, supported and recognised to stay motivated and happy in their job. It is also important for giving moral a boost and encouraging changes – such a health and safety changes. In this case, it is important that other colleagues see you talking to and engaging with people, and physically showing your support.

Fairness and Trust

Fairness and trust are important values for anyone who is in a leadership role. Without fairness and trust, resentment and demotivation arise, and standards can fall. It is important to be able to delegate important roles to experts and put your trust in them that they will do their job properly. Both empowering these experts and building up the trust between the leader and their team, people are motivated, respectful and happy to work together towards your common goal and shared vision.

Encouraging Changes for the Better

Innovation is an important part of any business – both in terms of what the business actually does, but also in the way that it does things. It is important for leaders to encourage innovation amongst their team, listen to them, debate new ideas, try them out and implement them if it is for the best of the company. Often those who have the best ideas for improvement are those who carry out a job day-to-day, so remember that everyone can have a valuable and positive input.

An effective system of health and safety in a workplace is vital for it to be successful, both in terms of the business and productivity but also employee welfare. With good health and safety leadership, we can ensure that the workplace not only complies to health and safety regulations but veritably thrives.

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