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Management and Health & Safety
The management of an organisation plays a critical part in the creation and adoption of a suitable health and safety culture within the company. The importance that managers at all levels have in health and safety is shown by the amount of attention given to it in health and safety courses including the NEBOSH General Certificate and, unsurprisingly as the names suggest, the IOSH Managing Safely and construction site management SMSTS courses.
Workers will expect to be told what to do by managers, or at the very least be given a broad outline of what is expected of them. If health and safety is not part of this instruction, then many workers will simply not give it much thought. Obviously they will be aware of things like using fire extinguishers to tackle small fires and to evacuate the building if they are in danger, but are highly unlikely to take it upon themselves to organise things such as fire sweeps or procedures for the safe disposal of hazardous waste. This is where managers earn their money, by actually taking responsibility and managing issues, including the organisation of and instructing employees in health and safety actions and provisions.
Not only do the managers of an organisation need to devise, organise and communicate health and safety procedures to employees, but it is important that they are actively seen to be committed to the implication of a health and safety culture within their business. They can do this in a variety of ways including allocating sufficient resources (time, money etc) to health and safety issues, appearing at shop floor health and safety meetings where the concerns of workers are discussed, doing things themselves that they would expect of others such as wearing protective headgear and high-visibility clothing in areas where this is required, taking part in fire drills rather than staying put in their office because they know it is just a drill, quickly acting on information regarding safety deficiencies by taking speedy remedial action, and many more.