Safety Culture Update
Positive safety culture does reduce accidents
The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has published a new “white paper” on measuring the safety climate in organisations, which concludes that a positive safety culture reduces accidents and injuries at work.
The report explains what safety culture is, why it is important and what can be done to understand and improve it within organisations.
The HSL, the research agency of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), says that in recent years much has been done to significantly reduce the number of accidents and occurrences of ill health in the workplace. For example, the design of equipment has evolved to protect the worker more effectively, most organisations have procedures or systems of work in place that prescribe how something should be done and employees are usually given training to show them how to carry out a job safely.
However, despite all this, the HSL notes, for some organisations, accident rates remain constant, rather than dropping.
The report claims that in order to bring about further improvements, health and safety professionals are increasingly interested in human factors, specifically safety culture and its ability to influence health and safety performance.
The publication includes two major case studies, including the exploration of safety culture on the massive construction projects associated with the London 2012 Olympics. One of the report’s authors, Dr Caroline Sugden, was involved in the safety culture work at the Olympic Park.
The other two authors of the paper are HSL’s Karen Roberts and Mark Preston, Head of Health and Safety Consulting at Cardinus Risk Management.
Copies of the paper, entitled Measuring the Safety Climate in Organisations, can be obtained by e-mailing the HSL on firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Investment in health and safety rising”
A new survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has concluded that investment in health and safety is rising but that reforms and more active government leadership on European regulations are needed.
The conclusions are contained in a new report entitled Route to Growth: Making Health and Safety Work for Business.
The EEF surveyed more than 200 manufacturers, and found that management involvement in health and safety matters now exceeds 90% for most measures, while monitoring of health and safety performance by senior managers has increased by over a quarter in the past seven years. This, the EEF says, has resulted in a continued reduction in the number of reported injuries.
The survey also concluded that senior managers in manufacturing companies are increasing their investment and commitment to health and safety issues and continue to see significant benefits from this.
However, the report warns that the cost in terms of time and money of complying with health and safety regulation is increasing and manufacturers’ views of its benefits and of their relationship with regulators has become “substantially less positive”.
The report is said to outline the EEF’s “ambition to reduce the cost to business of dealing with health and safety requirements,” in line with a goal to lower the cost of doing business in Britain and reduce the burden of regulation by 10% over this Parliament.
The EEF said it was challenging the Government to become more active in its involvement with Europe on reviewing health and safety directives while stepping up the pace of reforming UK health and safety regulations, as recommended by the Löfstedt report.
The manufacturer’s organisation also wants the Government to examine the feasibility of bringing health and safety enforcement under a single organisation, which would benefit all companies including small to medium-sized enterprises.
The report can be accessed at www.eef.org.uk/publications.