Monitoring and Reviews (Culture Series Part 6 of 6)

Neil HartleyHealth & Safety Issues/TrendsLeave a Comment

How to change the health and safety culture in your organisation (part 6 of 6)

This is the sixth and final part of our series on moving beyond compliance to improve the health and safety culture within your organisation. The articles on this blog are abridged versions of those in the complete eBook which you can download from Beyond Compliance: A Guide to Changing the Health and Safety Culture in Your Organisation. Feel free to share this widely within your own organisation.

For ease of reading on this blog, the previous five parts of the series are linked to here:

Part 1 – the benefits of a better health and safety culture

Part 2 – what an ingrained health and safety culture looks like

Part 3 – 9 practical steps to getting C-level buy-in

Part 4 – communication, motivation and employee involvement

Part 5 – training, business learning and knowledge transfer

This final part focuses on monitoring health and safety progress, initiatives, and policies, as well as conducting reviews into the effectiveness of what you are doing. This is a core pillar of creating the right culture in your organisation.

In fact, it is so crucial to the process that it has already been mentioned several times throughout this series. We talked about the board receiving regular health and safety reports to keep them informed of exactly what is happening and how the company is performing in this crucial strategy area. In addition, monitoring is an important part of health and safety training and business learning.

Carrying out reviews and constantly monitoring health and safety issues is crucial for several reasons:

  • Risks can change because work practices change, workplaces change, employees change, technology changes, and more
  • New risks can emerge because of the above and because of company diversification or expansion
  • Incidents often result in re-evaluations
  • You can’t get everything 100 percent right first time, every time
  • People become complacent or they become too comfortable and are no longer as proactive at identifying or dealing with risks

What You Should Do

Firstly, you should make sure you have proper incident reporting procedures in place that include reporting near miss and minor incidents. After all, it is these lesser incidents that will help you avoid something more serious in the future.

You then need to encourage reporting at all levels of the organisation. This goes back to the non-blaming culture that has been talked about previously, i.e. giving employees the confidence that in reporting the incident, they are helping the organisation instead of putting themselves or one of their colleagues at risk of disciplinary action.

Secondly, you should never take anything personally and you should discourage others from doing so as well. This is one of the biggest barriers to change in organisations – the unwillingness of people to accept that something they created is not as effective as it should be so needs to be changed.

A proper health and safety culture does not have room for attitudes like this, plus the issues at stake are too important. Therefore, everything should be liable to review and change.

Finally, you should never accept anything other than perfection. In health and safety, that means zero incidents – near misses, minor incidents, or those that cause harm.

Of course, there are some who think the zero-incident approach is unachievable and, ultimately, ineffective. This only applies when you have a compliance approach to health and safety, however.

When you have a proper health and safety culture, on the other hand, nothing but perfection should do. That means continuously and rigorously monitoring incidents and reviewing all aspects of the organisation.

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