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Why do some companies fail with their Health and Safety programs?

Q:

Why do some companies fail with their Health and Safety programs?

A:

When a company fails with its Health and Safety program, it all comes down to three main issues:

  1. Companies need to establish a connection between safety and business objectives
  2. Leadership needs to be present and effective in their jobs
  3. It is imperative that companies learn from past incidents and make corrections to prevent accidents from recurring

Connecting Business Objectives with Safety Goals

Companies that integrate health and safety goals with their overall business objectives show a commitment to the health of their employees and to retaining their workers. Making health and safety a priority and a part of every aspect of business affirms the commitment to employees and their well-being. Those companies that implement and adhere to quality health and safety systems tend to perform better across the board on all other measures of success.

Fostering Effective Leadership

Establishing visible and empowered leadership teams means highlighting specific individuals who are the points of contact for health and safety standards in an organization. These leaders should be visible to your team, approachable, and engaged with everyday tasks.

Further, good leaders should demonstrate behaviors that align with the company’s health and safety standards. For example, do your leaders wear necessary safety gear while walking the work site or do they let it slide? A good leader will abide by all established safety rules to set an example for the entire team (see 3 Ways to Become a Safety Leader for more tips on effective leadership).

Learn From the Past to Improve the Future

Finally, learning from past experiences and making the appropriate adjustments to safety standards demonstrates a commitment to preventing further incidents and/or accidents (learn from some other companies in When Safety Leadership Failed: Lessons Learned from Major Disasters).

Taking measures to predict and prevent incidents is only part of the equation when it comes to health and safety. As much as we would like to prevent every accident, it may not be possible. In the event an accident occurs, does the company react and enact new procedures or make necessary changes to prevent the incident from happening again? Employees are likely to be more responsive and review the company more favorably if they see such a reaction to an incident.

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Written by Tamara Parris
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Community Manager of the EHSQ Community and owner of EHSQ Professionals group on LinkedIn. My passion is working with other environment, health & safety, and quality professionals to collaborate in thought leadership, networking with new people, and connecting industry peers to resources that drive continuous improvement in EHSQ.

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