Health and Safety Culture – Own Your Communications

Neil HartleyHealth & Safety Issues/TrendsLeave a Comment

Health and Safety Culture - Own Your Communications

Do you think we have enough information? Just about, right? Whatever topic you’re interested in there are a plethora of sources, some more legitimate/less fake/with less of an agenda than others.

So, why has health and safety got such a bad rap? The post linked to was driven by comments from Andrew Sharman about, “an undercurrent of negativity around the phrase ‘health and safety’” from the 2017 ISH annual conference.

Have things changed since then? Dedicated professionals, like you, continue to work hard to ensure people work safely and are safe at work, and the industry (SHE/RSPH/British Safety Council among others) does a good job of recognising excellence in health and safety. However, the mainstream media prefers, “Peak District farmer forced to give up Highland Cattle after one dog walker complaint.” We don’t know the ins and outs of the Highland Cattle story but the bad rap continues.

What can be done about it? The status quo (whatever that is – corporate PR?) isn’t changing the perception of health and safety so it’s likely that change has to come from within.

A small segue into the world of product marketing. 20 years ago launching a new product was a job for PR, whether internal PR or external PR. Find the journalists covering said product area, reach out, be interesting, get coverage…but that doesn’t work anymore. The economics of media mean that many publications no longer even retain those journalists. That, with the sheer amount of information out there means that broadcasting ‘news’ is no longer viable. Product marketers figured out they needed to own their own communications, build their own brands and get their own stories out there with the goal of building their own communities.

Perhaps, that’s what you need to do? Own your communications. Our dedicated, hard-working health and safety manager just got another job…

Or, maybe not. After all, you’re already communicating across the organisation, whether employee involvement and motivation or getting C-suite buy-in. Different communications for different audiences. Can you re-package them for an external audience and start to own the conversation about the health and safety culture in your organisation?

You’ll likely need support of corporate marketing to deliver on this but, hopefully, your efforts to enlist board-level support in driving a positive health and safety culture will be rewarded in garnering marketing support. ISO 45001 will help with senior management engagement given the change of emphasis introduced with the new standard.

If internal communication is still an issue for you internally and you’re uncertain of how to engage either your employees or the Board, then our complementary eBook “Beyond Compliance: A Guide to Changing the Health and Safety Culture in Your Organisation” has a section dedicated to helping you with that.

To further aid with that communication, and linking safety to business performance, Forbes magazine recently ran an article on Alcoa and the direct link between a focus on the safety of employees, the reciprocity shown by those employees beyond accident rates and the resultant improvement in business performance. Now there’s a story worth owning and communicating…

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