Safety & Culture

Too often people get hold of a buzz word, and currently "culture" appears to be doing its rounds in the Health & Safety field. In all reality, probably has been for sometime.


I had a person call me asking to fulfil a temporary role and they outlined a number of things they needed to be addressed, with a real emphasis on the safety "culture"

Culture, is not something a health and safety professional or consultant can bring into an organisation. If "culture" is relied upon by the safety person and then this person leaves, does the culture leave with that person?


When you are the leader of the organisation, wether its CEO, MD or Owner, you are the person who not only sets the culture, you are the person who "preaches" that culture.

Employees are like children, they listen to half of what you say and watch everything that you do. Or maybe like your children, they are the best and the worst of you?

My profession is often too caught up on one thing and that's safety! well isn't that what they are employed to do anyway? Or are they employed to make the organisation dependent on them?


When the leader sets the "parameters or rules" around the Cultural Outcomes of the business, and I say this quiet succinctly, "if its not measureable" how can you determine its effectiveness?

The emphasis of employee management which appears to fall within the Health & Safety domain is largely about the "health" of an employee in more ways than one.

Happier & Healthier employees are more productive and have less time off work. That's a statement most of us know about.

But employees are so well protected with Industrial legislation, that when you have someone who is not happy and producing well, you have such a great burden to "manage them out of the organisation" or like government's, take the easy out and simply "restructure" to get rid of the dead wood. Not everyone can afford that luxury.

What if you took employee health seriously, given that they spend more time of their day working for you, than they do sleeping, why not invest in their health? An investment in their health will reap many long term benefits.

Sadly Workcover (at least here in Victoria) is akin to the Americans employers health scheme or the Australian governments way of making employers pay for employee health. If an injury or medical diagnosis can, in any way can be determined as work related, the employer ends up paying, despite many employees having their own health insurance, when the employer pays, they don't have any out of pocket expenses and still manage to get paid while the surgeon is operating on them!

Most human beings have a fundamental process within their DNA, that when someone does the right thing by them, they want to reciprocate, and usually to a higher degree than was provided to them, so the better you treat your employees, the more they are likely to engage, the more they engage in your workplace, the better the outputs they will deliver.

When looking for "measure abilities" its one of those times that the reverse tells the story, so the amount of staff turnover, sick leave taken and workcover claims an organisation has, is a pretty good indication of the "health" of an organisation!

Change your culture by caring more about your employees, as the BNI Tag line states "Givers Get!"

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