Leadership in Health and Safety
11 January 2016
In all honesty, there is no simple way to teach good leadership in health and safety, but I have a few suggestions which I've listed as quick bullet points:
Expect all employees to participate in the company's health and safety. Most will live up to what you believe them capable of.
Learn what makes your staff tick, get to know them, what excites them, what frustrates them, what are they passionate about? Delegate them areas of the health and safety that interests them. Do they enjoy vehicles? If so, ask them to do the periodic vehicle inspections. Are they sociable? Perhaps they can induct each new worker
If you want others to behave a certain way, you must be the example. If everyone is to wear a helmet on a quad bike, you must wear a helmet.
- Open Communication
Be available, respond to questions and concerns. Staff may come to you with something trivial, be willing to listen and if necessary take action even if it is something minor and hardly something you should worry about.
- Be Humble
Your thoughts, procedures and opinions are not always right, nor are they the quickest, safest or cheapest way to get the task done - allow others to influence your choices and decisions.
- Delegate or Die
It takes an entire workplace to make a workplace safe. Don't leave it to yourself, the receptionist or the office manager to do alone - engage everyone.
Set goals and follow up. Lets face it, we all like to win, nobody really likes to just participate. Reward the wins!
Where possible advise staff of consequences for good and bad behaviour. They are more unlikely to repeat mistakes or will make better decisions in the future.
Be prepared to face conflict - dialogue, debate and disagreement are all necessary for growth and development
I'll admit health and safety is boring, it is not sexy at all. Think of new ways to make health and safety more interesting, but don't forget to use good humour. A smile and wit go a long way to change attitudes and behaviour.
You all have the vehicle for health and safety compliance, but at the end of the day, good health and safety management systems must have good leadership. And it starts from the Owner/CEO/Management down.
Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.
John C. Maxwell
The secret of my success is a two word answer: Know people.
Harvey S. Firestone