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HSE urges firms to embed safety culture

11 October 2018

THE HEALTH and Safety Executive (HSE) has urged organisations to embed their business and safety culture as one to enhance leadership.

Speaking at Health and Safety North, Jane Hopkinson, Senior Psychologist at HSE encouraged firms to “embed” both cultures. “Health and safety culture and business culture are often seen in silos,” she said. “It’s about merging those two things together. If you’re talking about health and safety culture then it’s not engrained in your organisation and it’s still sitting in a silo.”

Hopkinson, who was sitting on a panel debate on leadership, explained to the Manchester audience the approach can help build a positive leadership framework. “It’s about making it [leadership] part and parcel of day-to-day life and filtering that throughout the organisation so it’s all embedded as one culture,” she affirmed.

Citing HSE’s research into the behaviours and competencies of leadership Hopkinson said: “It [leadership] is not a checklist. At the end of the day, I can’t go away and give you a set of dos and don’ts. It’s something that takes time to develop. It’s a skill that is constantly improving and constantly changing through learning.”

The panel was chaired by Matthew Powell-Howard, Qualification Development Manager at NEBOSH who fielded a question from the audience about the validity of senior management walkabouts and KPIs. Second panellist, Jane Hopkinson, another Senior Psychologist at HSE was adamant in her response. “Please don’t have targets on your management walkabouts,” she said. “We lose sight of the purpose of having senior managers on the shop floor. The purpose for them is to get out and about to communicate with the workforce and to get their views and opinions. The workforce should be gaining just as much value from those walkabouts as management are.”