Date: 20th July 2017

Venue: The Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands

Speaker: Chris Jerman, Head of Health and Safety – Retail, Ladbrokes Coral Group

We had asked Chis to make a presentation considering the question: Can Safety Committees & Safety Representatives have a positive impact on workplace culture?

As asked, he started from this question, but he used it to show that it is the ‘workplace culture’ bit that is the key to successful health and safety management. Chris has the ability to make members re-assess their approach to managing workplace health and safety. This presentation did just that.

He gave members an overview of how attitudes to the management of health and safety and risk assessment had changed over the last forty years.

He then focussed on risk assessment. This led to some interesting discussion about ‘what is safe enough’ on a sliding scale between a ‘blatant disregard’ of safe working practices and the imposition of ‘bonkers’ safety precautions that give health and safety a bad name.

Chris reminded members that thinking of different ways to ask the same question can often result in improved communication and a better understanding of workplace risks. He also emphasised the importance of trying to understand personal workplace interactions particularly:

  • Between people – their motivation, pressures, understanding of task etc… and
  • Workplace psychology – culture, behaviour, climate, environment, core values.

Chris challenged members to ask themselves what ‘workplace culture’ meant and what their workplace culture was. He then asked them to think about how an individual’s personal core values have evolved and how these might also affect workplace culture.

He suggested that the following approach was worth considering:

  • Stop having safety committees and Start having risk committees.
  • Stop being hazard focussed and Start being risk driven.
  • Stop being reactive and Start being predictive.

Chris also suggested that organisations who want to develop a positive workplace cultures need to:

  • Establish core values that are clearly understood and supported by everyone including senior managers and directors.
  • Establish what is ‘safe enough’ and then explain what makes ‘safe enough’, ‘safe enough’.
  • Challenge those who transgress but consider personal failure last.

A copy of Chris’s presentation can be found here: July 2017 Workplace culture, and safety committees

Workplace culture & safety committees