Recently, we covered all the key reasons to make health and safety a priority in your organisation, but how can you put this into practice? Today we’re sharing some actionable tips to help build a culture of health and safety compliance and avoid the common traps we discussed previously.
Before starting with any of these tips, you want to ensure you have the tools in place to spot gaps on your health and safety compliance, and measure improvements. By having a compliance dashboard in place, you can see things like outstanding policy acceptances, or mandatory qualifications that are missing or expiring soon. You can even track CPD points and skills present in your team to see what professional development is required. Within intelliHR’s qualification tracking, we’ve recently added Mandatory Job Requirements, allowing you to monitor requirements across different areas of the business. For example, a medical centre with office staff, doctors and nurses could set up different licenses, certifications or training needed for each group, and easily track that everyone holds what they need for the business to stay compliant (and safe).
We know that workplace injuries are more likely to occur in teams where the manager does not value or prioritise safety procedures, so naturally, leaders need to act as an example to their direct reports and not only uphold all health and safety policies but also demonstrate positive attitudes towards them. Any negative or dismissive comments about them can influence team members to start taking these measures less seriously.
So this is a great idea in theory, but how can we enforce it? One tool we’ve developed to help with this is the 3-Stage Safety Survey Feedback Process.
Just as a new starter’s manager will set the tone for their safety habits, it’s crucial that the onboarding process supports this and communicates your safety culture from day one. Onboarding is the perfect opportunity to set all your people up for success and make sure they have the right knowledge of any health and safety expectations from day one – and we don’t just mean getting them to sign off on policies. Communicate why health and safety is important to your organisation and let them know it’s a priority for everyone in the business.
It’s no surprise that many policies can get put off, ignored or skim read because they are wordy and difficult or inconvenient to read. Now often this is necessary, but there are ways that policy updates or onboarding checks can be made more engaging. For example, a form design could be used to attach a video explainer or imagery to policy updates that can then be sent out and accepted by all relevant staff electronically. Not only does it make obtaining and tracking acceptance a breeze, but it’s much more engaging and digestible for staff too. Yes, they still need to read the full policy and sign off, but with the visual cues or video included, you can be more confident knowing they have actually engaged with and understood what’s expected of them.
Another common reason for health and safety measures to get ignored is that people may pass them off as unimportant if they don’t understand the reason behind them. So as leaders in the business, it’s our job to communicate these reasons and position the importance of any safety measure where the reasoning may not always be obvious. For example, a worker on his first day at a mine site might not see the big deal in having three days of facial hair growth – but once he’s told about the health impacts this could cause when his face mask can’t seal effectively – he’ll be much more likely to stay clean shaven from now on!
If you’re in an industry where the risk of injury is prevalent and safety is absolutely paramount – this can be a good way to set an example. If health and safety policies are blatantly disregarded you may want to consider progressing this into performance management and improvement process straight away, to send the message that this is taken seriously. This should be a formal process that the team member owns, and is in no way about “punishing” the person but empowering them to be safe at work and help you find out what happened. Perhaps they were just following instructions, or a certain rule made it impossible to complete an essential task. This way, you can ensure any missteps are stopped in their tracks but also help people improve on their own adherence to policies and gain vital learnings about potential gaps in your processes. Engaging a formal improvement process allows you to achieve this while still laying the foundations for further performance management measures if problems persist.
So there you have our tips on building a culture of health and safety compliance in your organisation. We work with a lot of customers in industries where this is absolutely paramount to their people’s wellbeing, so we’re always getting feedback and looking for ways to make safety and compliance simple. If this is something you want to improve in your business, check out our latest features here or get in touch to see how intelliHR could help you.