This week I attended the first of the British Quality Foundation’s newly established health and safety networking group with the theme, “Employee Engagement – How to improve your safety culture”.


The speakers came from a wide variety of backgrounds and Jane Hopkinson, Senior Psychologist, Health and Safety Laboratory started off with an overview of the main theories on behavioural change and how to implement and promote a strong health & safety culture throughout an organisation focusing on strong leadership.


Cathy Booth, Head of Safety Systems, Lloyd’s Register then gave a real life example of how this can be put into practice and described how Lloyd’s Register have developed a safety culture maturity exercise which they use with their managers which is based on the work carried out by the Keil centre in conjunction with HSE culminating the in Offshore Technology Report.


Finally, Simon Grace, Safety and Quality Manager, Flybe Aviation gave a different perspective of how a culture of safety is instilled throughout the organisation, from engineers to cabin crew. Simon was also kind enough to share a hard hitting video that featured their own employees talking about how they had learned from their mistakes and wanted to share this to prevent similar events happening again.


After the thought provoking sessions from the speakers, we discussed and identified the main ways in which our organisations can improve the safety culture which were:


    • Introduce a ‘just blame’ culture


    • Anticipatory regret: good use of a film or toolbox talks


    • Share the learning – always
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      li>Understand where you are first. Using Senior management but involving ALL levels to allow progression.


    • Credible educators, respected peers.


    • Use the right language


    • Active visual leadership


    • Role models


    • Observational feedback


    • Use of the cultural maturity Model: Get the basics rights – engineering control procedures


    • Make sure everything is relevant


    • Does it really take a disaster to force change? No, but you work quicker when there is one.


    • The challenge that middle managers face: Safety first but only on the right budget….


As a first event, it was a success and it was great to share with those from a wide variety of industries and understand some of the common challenges that all HSE teams face.


In the spirit of sharing, what are your thoughts on how cultural change in organisations in relation to Health & Safety can be implemented?


Written by Meena Bhaugeerutty,  Sales Director Safety Media Ltd 

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