There is still a negative cloud hanging over health and safety, which is often seen as 'spoiling the party' with bans on conkers and Christmas decorations, all rubbish of course, but the belief is so entrenched, that in 2010 the HSE launched an online Health and Safety Myth Buster, which now has a panel of 14 experts all answering questions about what the HSE has or hasn't banned.
In reality the HSE has banned very little, with a very few high-risk exceptions (e.g. asbestos which kills over 5,000 individuals a year). But that doesn't stop the myths being perpetuated or the health and safety community searching for new ways to rebrand themselves.
But hang on says Andrew Sharman, CEO of RMS Switzerland and VP of IOSH, we don't need to rebrand health and safety or make it 'cool' we just need to talk about keeping people safe and adding value to their lives. In a recent article for the SHP he says we should “Stop with the attempts to re-brand safety. Engage your leaders. Clean up the BS and get to what safety is all about.”
The message is clear, stop worrying about how to 'sell' health and safety. Make the process clear and transparent and people will see the value.
The UK has one of the best health and safety records in the world, however there are still very dangerous industries which report annual fatalities; agriculture and construction being at the top of the list. So, it is vital that we do everything to keep workers safe at all times.
Andrew Sharman suggests that, we need to stop instructing people to 'Be Safe!' because it "just isn't working" "Workers today don’t need corporate spin and jazzy branding. They want to feel like what they do matters. That leaders notice them, and the company values their contribution. They want to feel cared for and appreciated, and acknowledged when they get things right."
This is all about going back to basics, looking at why we need safety procedures, ensuring that employees understand why they are carrying out certain checks and assessments and keeping the whole process clear and transparent.
To read Andrew Sharman's article in full visit the SHP website