If something in your business was causing you to lose money, causing your employees to be out of work and threatening services to customers, you would want to do something about it, wouldn’t you?  Accidents and injuries at work can cause all of these.

However if you manage health and safety the same way you manage everything else it can allow you to have all your key employees at work when and where you need them, producing the products or delivering the services to keep your customers happy.

Poor health and safety costs money.  High productivity and excellent safety are not mutually exclusive.  They can and do work hand in hand enabling businesses to be safe and make a profit.

Key steps to good health and safety

  1. Get yourself competent advice and help

If you don’t have the expertise in health and safety yourself, buy it in and get started.

  1. Outline roles and responsibilities clearly

Make sure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, give them the tools to meet their responsibilities and then hold them accountable.

  1. Train everyone

Train everyone from Chief Executive down so they understand how accidents can be prevented.

  1. Set Health and Safety Goals

Set health and safety goals for the business, and individual objectives for all managers.  Communicate to all employees what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.  Accept nothing less than full compliance. 

  1. Measure Health and Safety Performance

Measure health and safety performance every month, every year and try to improve over time.

  1. Provide resources for health and safety

Provide resources (people, time, money etc.) to manage the health and safety effort and take action.  Talking about it or sending emails about it will not make it happen.

  1. Integrate Health and Safety into every management decision

Blend health and safety into every management decision you take.  Whether you are hiring employees, buying new equipment, launching a new product or service etc., there are health and safety issues that must be can be planned for and managed.

  1. Identify and Manage the hazards

Identify the hazards and assess the risks in all your work activity. Eliminate, minimise or control those hazards effectively so that the work can be done in a safe and healthy way.

  1. Consult with employees

Management don’t always have all the answers to health and safety problems so consult with those actually doing the job, tap into their expertise and implement practical measures to protect them.

  1. Use your Moral Barometer

We have lots of health and safety laws and regulations. As well as complying with them Managers need to refer back to their moral barometer often.  Before you ask any employee to do something ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would I do this task myself?
  • Would I allow my own son or daughter to do it?
  • Have I given this employee all the training they need to do it?
  • Have they got the right equipment?
  • Are there logical, practical procedures for them to follow?
  • Have I done everything as a Manager to protect this employee?


This blog is one in a series written by Mary Darlington on aspects of Health and Safety and Safety Leadership – to read others go to: http://darlington.ie/blog/

Mary Darlington was born in County Dublin, Ireland and began her professional life in Human Resources, moving later into the world of Health and Safety in 1989 while working with Bausch & Lomb Ireland in Waterford.  During her time there the Company won many health and safety awards both with RoSPA in UK and NISO in Ireland.

She established her own consultancy in 1996.  She is a Chartered Fellow of IOSH and is a former Board Member of Health & Safety Authority and a former Chair of IOSH Ireland.  Her clients include: multinationals, SMEs, Public Sector bodies and not for profit organisations.

Mary is Ireland’s foremost Safety Leadership expert. She is a passionate health and safety trainer, speaker and consultant operating in Waterford, Ireland.  Visit her website at: www.darlington.ie