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In 1972, the Robens report recognized that the introduction of Health and Safety management systems was essential if the ideal of self regulation of Health and Safety by all industry was to be realized. It further recognized that a more active involvement of the workforce in such systems was essential if self regulation was to work.

Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at work Act, Health and Safety Standards have improved considerably but there have been some catastrophic failures. There is concern among some health and safety professionals that many health and safety cultures are developed and driven by senior managers with very little input from the workforce.

Managers claim that since the legal burden of responsibility is on them, that they should effectively assume complete control. However, if this argument were to be accepted then it is found in many cases that Management almost entirely place finnace and pressures due to production well ahead of any Health and Safety concerns. In fact Health and Safety would only recieve (if anything) a minor consideration.

The Relationship between health and safety culture and Health and Safety performance

In any organisation a good health and safety culture has at its center;

  • Acceptance of high standards (from the top-down)
  • Leadership and Commitment - from an appointed senior manager
  • A good Health and Safety Policy with clear aims and details of arrangements.
  • Sufficient finnancial resorces in order to bring to realisation the Health and Safety Policy
  • Training for all employees. The level of training will be greates for Senior management
  • Monitoring processes and procedures.

"The Safety Culture of an organisation is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behaviour that determine the commitment to, and the style of an organisations Health and safety management"

Ways in which the health and safety culture of an organisation might be improved.

The health and safety Culture of an organisation might be improved by management demonstrating good leadership and commitment to health and safety throughout and at all levels of the organisation. There should also be an acceptance by the entire organisation that high standards of health and safety are achievable as part of a long term strategy. This begins by a Health and Safety Policy statement which outlines both short term as well as long term goals. Such a policy should also detail codes of practice and the required health and safety standards.

All managers, supervisor and members of the governing body (e.g. BOG) should receive training in health and safety and be made familiar during the training sessions with the health and safety targets of the organisation. The depth of training undertaken will depend on the level of competence required of a particular manager.

The Role of a technician in helping to promote an organisations Health and safety Culture

Be involved in;

  • Risk Assessment - help other staff eg., teachers identify hazards
  • Accident investigation
  • Development of safe sytems throughout your department

Be proactive in;

  • Hazard spotting
  • Reporting defects - dont leave it to others to do!
  • Suggesting ideas to improve Health and Safety around your departmental area

Get Involved in;

  • Training courses CLEAPSS/ASE/Trade Union

As a Trade Union member

  • Safety committees
  • Accompany managers on safety inspections

Ensure that any staff that YOU are responsible for;

  • Have an opportunity to train. This should be carried out early during the first couple of months of their employment
  • Mentor new starts - give appropriate feedback and encouragement when necessary.
  • Supervise them - they may not be aware of the dangers as a more experience technician is likely to be.
  • Discipline irresponsible or bad behaviour - this is generally a sign of lack of training or experience.

 

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