Almost every newspaper or magazine you read right now refers to the need for leadership in everything from politics, to banking, to business and to communities.  It would appear that society as a whole has a huge thirst for new leadership.  But what kind of leadership is society crying out for?

I believe that after the banking scandals, the property collapse and years of austerity, society is crying out for ethical, trustworthy leadership at all levels which focuses on the common good, not the selfish self.

 Health and Safety

When it comes to health and safety, many companies have seen their health and safety performance plateau out in relation to reducing injuries, days lost and claims.  Some very safety conscious organisations have gone on to have serious accidents or even fatalities that apparently contradict their otherwise low injury rate and Management within those organisations are now asking themselves why.

In some cases Management did not care and Senior Management did not take sufficient interest.  In essence there was an absence of real Safety Leadership from the top…..

What is Safety Leadership?

Real safety leadership is a way of planning, thinking, directing, coaching and doing things that put people first and at the heart of the Company.  It is about creating a safe environment where the safe and healthy way of working is the only way. It is when complying with safe systems is the norm and where work gets done, safely, healthily, effectively, on time and within cost.  It is a belief that employees come first.

Ultimately health and safety is all about people, it is about protecting them every day, while they work and having zero injuries or work-related illnesses.

Examples of good Safety Leadership in action (here are 9 to start with)

  1. Senior Managers have health and safety as a standard item on all meeting agendas throughout the company.
  1. Health and Safety is given equal billing with finance, production, HR, IT marketing etc. in terms of resources and time given to discussing it.
  1. Senior Managers regularly do safety observation walk-abouts and talk to employees every time.
  1. They actively observe work practices, challenge constructively when necessary, communicate the health and safety vision, coach individual employees, listen to their concerns, take notes and ultimately take action on issues raised.
  1. Safety leadership training is given to all Managers/Team Leaders who are then held to account by their boss for the health and safety performance of their departments.
  1. While meeting with their boss weekly or monthly the Manager and the Senior Manager both review the positives as well as the negatives within their departmental performance.
  1. Equally they measure the preventative actions taken which include safety audits, reviews of risk assessments, job safety analysis activity, safety forum discussions, refresher training given etc.
  1. Most importantly the bosses ask their reporting Managers “what health and safety activities they you engaged in, led or instigated this month and what are your plans for next month”?
  1. In relation to take home pay, it is made clean to Managers that their health and safety performance will be linked to their pay rise, bonus and opportunities for promotion.


Mary Darlington can provide advice, training and support to get you started on a Safety Leadership programme for your company.  Call her at 086 2437677