What is good health and safety leadership?

Nebosh By Andy Taylor

Leadership is massively important in any kind of business; without it, employees will feel lost, confused, unsure of which direction to take or even if they are doing the right thing. This will cause problems in staff retention and unhappiness throughout the company.


Yet it’s not just general leadership that needs to be considered. When it comes to health and safety, having someone on board who is able to collate and process all the information, regulations, legislations, and so on that come with this area of business is vital. This kind of leadership, demonstrated right from the top with those responsible learning all they need to know and keeping up to date, is crucial to ensure that all managers and staff know and understand that health and safety within the company is being taken seriously. So just what does it involve?


Process Safety Management

Process safety is an issue that needs to be dealt with – and understood thoroughly – right from the top of the company, from the board itself, all the way down to the staff who need to know they are working in a safe environment. There must be clear accountability at all levels.


This is why there should, depending on the size of your company, be a health and safety manager who is able to take the responsibility of being up to date and current and give out relevant information when required to. You might advertise for this specific role, or you might speak to your managers and see who is qualified to do the job, and ensure they are sufficiently trained.


Quick To Implement Changes

As time goes on, new ideas and processes are always going to be introduced when it comes to health and safety. A good leader’s job is to ensure they understand what these changes mean to their specific company, and to the industry in general, and swiftly yet efficiently introduce the new ways of working when required.


Leaving things alone simply because the staff are happy and know what they are doing is not something a good leader should do. Yes, it’s important to keep employees happy, but if it equally important to ensure that your business is one that is at the forefront of health and safety for both your customers’ sakes and that of your staff. Keeping everyone safe is your priority, even if that means changing how something has been done for many years.


As a good leader, you will know how to talk to your employees to persuade them to do an old job in a new way, for example. You will be able to explain exactly what the reasons are behind the changes, and this will help them to be more compliant. A bad leader who simply implements the changes without explaining why is not someone who will be listened to or trusted, and that could become a big problem further down the line.



Good health and safety leadership revolves around sustainability. Whatever is implemented, whichever practices are determined to be the best ones that will allow your organisation to be current when it comes to legislation and still work in a positive way, it must be something that can be carried on for the long term.


Setting out a future plan for the health and safety of your organisation is not always easy, especially as legislation seems to change fairly often, but having a plan in place that can be adapted as need be is something that will show just how serious you are about health and safety processes, and that is hugely important.



A good health and safety manager won’t just be someone who leads and expects people to follow; they will also be someone who is keen to relay the information they have to others in the form of specific health and safety training.


In fact, the more trained people there are within an organisation, the more people there will be to address issues as and when they arise. This ensure that the business runs smoothly, and even when there are emergencies or simply periods of change, there will always be someone there who is competent to deal with whatever is happening. Delegation is an important skill that leaders need to have, and when it comes to health and safety is it vital.

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