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Develop a health and safety culture


By Lee Donlan, director of Pegasus Health, Safety and Environmental

A good health and safety culture will not only help your business also fulfil its moral and legal duty to its biggest asset – its people – but also promote a happy, safe and engaged workforce that will lead to better productivity.

The following tips will help your business on your health and safety journey:

Get some help

The most important step is to appoint somebody with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to support you. Once you have been pointed in the right direction, and with a little commitment from you and your workforce, you will soon be celebrating success.

Write a health and safety policy

Describe how you will manage health and safety and let everyone know how committed you are to your people, business and property. Being committed to health and safety is something to shout about, so be loud and proud about it!

If you have over five employees you must write down your health and safety policy and have it available.

Control the risks

Walk around your workplace and look for any hazards (things that can cause harm). Think about the risk of someone being harmed by a hazard and how serious the harm could be. Ask your employees to assist you with this, after all they will be best placed to notice things that are not immediately obvious.

Once you have identified the hazards, risks and who is affected, decide what you need to do to control them and how can you minimise the risks. 

You should then record the findings of your risk assessment. This will help you manage the risks in your business and provide a great tool for communicating with your workforce. Again, if you have over five employees you must write down your findings.

Consult your employees

This doesn’t have to be arduous or overly complicated. Listen and talk to them about health and safety in the workplace. Maybe hold a monthly meeting.

Involve them in discussing health and safety. I have seen this work many times in business, once the workforce is engaged and actively involved in the organisations Health and Safety goals, a culture of safe behaviours begins to blossom.

Engage in training

Instruct, inform and train your employees in how to work safely and the hazards that they will face.  Use your risk assessments to develop safe ways of working. Be clear in your approach and give them the training they need to work safely. 

Be proportionate; providing simple instruction, training and monitoring of new employees will be sufficient in most low-risk activities. Keep records of training given and when refresher training is required.