The role and importance of leaders when it comes to safety culture and performance cannot be overstated, it is crucial that business leaders stay informed and up to date when it comes to health and safety matters.
Safety leadership is one of the key determining factors as to the levels of safety behaviour displayed in an organisation, and so there is undoubtedly an obligation on leaders both to be informed about legislation and best practice, and to have an understanding of the wider impact of their own safety capabilities and behaviours.
Leaders at all levels should therefore make sure that they are up to date when it comes to health and safety developments, as effective safety leadership is the first step towards creating a high-performance safety culture.
Learn from other organisations
Understanding how health and safety best practices are implemented across a range of industries and sectors, not just your own, can have a positive impact on how you run your workplace. For instance, learning how a safety culture has been developed by another organisation might alert you to ways in which similar measures might impact positively on your workforce participation and retention. Engaging with other businesses and WHS professionals is a highly effective way of learning about safety practices that you might be able to employ in your own organisation.
Support your safety leaders
As working procedures change and evolve, so do associated WHS practices. Therefore, business leaders have an obligation not only to keep themselves informed, but also to ensure that safety leaders have access to safety leadership development programmes and other relevant professional training, you cannot do this without being informed of health and safety matters yourself. If safety leadership is a key determinant in the creation of a high-performance safety culture, then ensuring that safety leaders are supported in their development should be considered an essential part of your operations.
Talking about safety
When it comes to remaining educated and informed about workplace safety matters, talking and engaging with the workforce is vital. This will help you to have a more immediate understanding of your risk profile, so that health and safety matters can more consistently inform your decision making (although it is important to separate these sorts of discussions from more formal safety inspections or safety audits).
There is also an additional benefit that when you engage directly with the workforce on health and safety matters, you demonstrate your commitment to safety leadership and thereby positively reinforce safety behaviours.
Keep up to date with your own business as well
It’s important for business leaders to understand that your safety management system (SMS) is not set in stone, and that as your organisation grows and changes, so should your SMS. For this reason, an important element of being a business leader is ensuring that you stay informed not only about WHS developments in the wider world, but also how relevant your own SMS remains to your current business operations.
Barclay Safety Solutions — specialists in safety leadership development
Barclay Safety Solutions offers safety leadership development programs that provide businesses and safety leaders with up-to-date skills and knowledge that will enhance safety capabilities across your organisation.
To learn more about developing safety leadership capabilities in your business, call us on 0429 305 260 or email us at [email protected].