When looking for role models and examples of best practise, who is your health and safety hero?
We all need people to admire, to look up to, to take a lead from in all walks of life. It helps us to strive to be better, to push ourselves forwards and grow – the world of health and safety is just the same.
The launch of the British Safety Council International Safety Awards 2022 campaign on the 30th September 2022 will showcase some of the organisations and people who work continuously to improve the health, safety and wellbeing standards in their workplace, and recognise the heroes who are looking after our health and safety.
But you don’t need to win awards to be a health and safety hero – there are many unsung heroes out there doing the right thing and keeping us all safe and well.
Great examples of Health and Safety Heroes
In my job as a H&S Consultant I get to talk to, and work with, many fabulous people and organisations. There are lots of people in my professional and personal networks that I view as Health and Safety Heroes, even though they are ‘just doing their jobs’.
Some examples I can think are given below – and some of my clients and contacts may actually recognise themselves from my descriptions, but I can’t sit and list all the great things everyone I know is doing so if you know me and I missed you out, I’m sorry!
Examples of my H&S heroes are:
- the owner of a brand new business who wants to integrate managing health and safety into everything they do from day one, and holds managing safely as one of the core values of their business.
- the Managing Director who wants to rip up the old Health and Safety Policy and Handbook that is written in stuffy, corporate language and replace it with a new policy and handbook that is written in the company voice so that it better reflects the companies values and makes it more accessible and meaningful to their people.
- the organisations that recognise that the last 18 months have been really tough through the Covid-19 pandemic, and are allowing people to continue to work flexibly (where the job role allows) and take steps to give reassurance and ease any anxieties about a return to the workplace.
- the operations director who want to make sure all the equipment, work areas and storage systems are all in great shape before a new big job starts and the workplace becomes very busy
- the financial advisor who has started visiting their clients in their own home again, who has a Covid-19 protocol that they send to clients before the visit so the clients are reassured that risks around Covid-19 transmission are minimised
- the bosses who makes sure they don’t overload their people with tonnes of work, or ask them to carry out work they are not trained for
- the worker who see’s one of their workmates about to do something that is not quite right and steps in to help make sure the job is done in the safest way
I could go on forever with examples of great practice that makes loads of people my health and safety hero, but I think you get the idea by now.
Be your own Hero
So, apart from wearing your underpants outside of your trousers, how do you become your own health and safety hero?
There are loads of small ways that stack-up for you be a hero.
- hold keeping you and others safe and well as a core value – it is part of everything you are and everything you do.
- set the standards you want to see – make sure you expect the same standards of yourself as you do from others
- remember that you accept the standards that you are prepared to walk by – in other words, if you see an unsafe act, unsafe behaviour or unsafe situation and you do nothing about it you are saying that it is acceptable.
- include talking about health, safety and wellbeing in all aspects of your working life – it’s not a separate subject, its just part of who we are and how we act.
- use clear, jargon-free, simple language. You don’t even have to use the dreaded words ‘health and safety’
- make sure you have two-way conversations about peoples health, safety and wellbeing. Nobody likes safety being ‘done to them’, allow people to have a voice, and if they do raise concerns and questions make sure you follow them up with meaningful answers.
The list can go on and on…….. I’m sure you’ve got some great examples of being your own hero.
And never forget, if you have any questions or concerns, you can always talk with your friendly health and safety professional for advice and support – not all heroes wear capes, sometimes we wear hi-vis!
Want to talk to your friendly health and safety professional?