Talking About Health and Safety is Not Enough
The attitude of managers plays a significant part in the overall health and safety culture of the business. Employees take their lead from managers as to how they should act and how seriously they should approach something, and so if managers are not seemingly taking health and safety seriously then workers are highly likely to follow suit. Sometimes it can be just the impression they give out which can do the damage rather than their true feelings. For instance, the managers of a company may indeed take health and safety seriously, but if they make jokes about it whenever they are down on the shop floor and give the impression that health and safety is not important or that it is a problem having to follow all rules and guidelines, then employees may start to think that managers do not take it seriously, even when in actual fact they do.
The Need for Positive Action
Even those managers who do take health and safety seriously still need to appreciate that talking about health and safety is not enough on its own; it must also be backed up with positive action.
Managers can talk all they like about how important it is to always wear protective clothing when doing a particular task or working with/near certain hazardous substances, but they also need to ensure that they first provide protective equipment which is suitable for this task, as well as conducting regular inspections and timely repairs or replacement of damaged or failing clothing and equipment. Without positive action to back up what they are saying about the importance of health and safety in the workplace, employees will just assume that their words are hollow and not much attention needs to be paid to them. If employees are not paying attention to the health and safety instructions which management are giving them, then it is similar to managers not providing any instruction at all. Employees will also be much more willing to attend health and safety courses, and also to pay attention to what is being taught if they feel that management are also taking the topic seriously and that they will be expecting those they employ to be proficient in working safely and preventing harm (not to mention damage to property!) coming to themselves or others.
For a safe place of work, managers therefore need to not only talk about health and safety by creating effective plans and deciding what needs to be done, but they also need to supplement these words with action. By communicating procedures clearly and effectively with employees, and putting into place positive actions, a safe place of work and an active health and safety culture within the business is much more likely to be achieved and maintained. As a result, accident rates will be minimised and subsequently an injury or illness befalling a worker, site visitor or members of the public who happen to be nearby will be much less likely to occur.