Safety First: Creating a Culture of Workplace Safety in the Industrial Sector

Safety First: Creating a Culture of Workplace Safety in the Industrial Sector

For anyone working in the industrial sector, the importance of health and safety cannot be overstated. 

Yet, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over 500,000 workplace injuries were reported in 2022/23, and 135 workplace deaths were recorded. 

This alarming data highlights a critical need for industry-wide improvements in workplace safety, aiming to safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees. 

Beyond the ethical, moral, and legal requirements, prioritising employee safety can also lead to significant business benefits. 

  • Improved Productivity

Implementing effective safety measures leads to fewer accidents, which in turn reduces downtime. This uninterrupted workflow ensures that productivity levels remain high, contributing to the overall efficiency and success of your business.

  • Financial Savings

Companies with strong safety records can often benefit from lower insurance premiums, as they are seen to pose a lower risk. Additionally, minimising workplace accidents cuts down on the costs associated with these incidents, such as medical expenses, compensation, and potential legal fees.

  • Enhanced Reputation and Client Trust

A reputation for safety attracts clients who value responsible practices. This enhanced perception can lead to increased business opportunities and a stronger position in the market.

This article is going to delve a bit deeper into the safety-first approach, looking at the importance of safety culture, offering practical tips for enhancing workplace safety and considering the role of employee recruitment in creating a safe work environment.

A dedication to safety starts with your company culture

Health and safety in the industrial sector is influenced by various factors, with company culture being one of the most crucial. 

There's a well-recognised model that helps assess the maturity of a business's safety culture. 

This model outlines stages ranging from basic compliance to a deeply embedded safety ethos. 

Ready to delve into this model and see where your business might stand?

Level 1 - Emerging

In the emerging stage, a businesses approach to safety is primarily focused on compliance with regulations.

Accident rates might be higher than industry average, and safety isn't yet a fully accepted part of the business strategy. 

Frontline employees aren’t involved in helping shape processes and procedures.

Level 2 – Managing

At this stage, the business starts to see safety and risk management as being more integral to their overall strategy. 

There’s an increased focus on implementing rules and procedures that go beyond the minimum requirements set by legislation. 

Employees might be involved in the process, but are typically brought in to look at things retrospectively after an accident has happened in post-incident reviews. 

Level 3 – Involving

Businesses reaching this level begin to see the need for proactive employee involvement in safety matters. 

Frontline employees are beginning to collaborate with management for safety improvements across the business, and safety is more accurately measured and monitored. 

Level 4 - Cooperating

At this stage, there's a broad consensus on the importance of health and safety across the business. 

Management and staff share responsibility, focusing on proactive safety measures and valuing fair treatment and wellbeing of all employees.

Level 5 – Continually Improving

This highest level reflects a culture where preventing injuries is a core company value, with a consistent record of safety and no complacency. 

The organisation continually seeks to improve safety processes, engaging all employees in the belief that health and safety are paramount at work. 

Some practical tips to improve safety at work

If you’ve gone through the safety maturity model and your business sits comfortably in ‘Level 5’ - congratulations! 

The reality for a lot of businesses is that there will still be work to be done on their approach to health and safety. 

We’ve put together this helpful list of hints and tips that can help businesses wanting to improve their approach to safety at work. 

Leadership Commitment

A critical foundation of achieving a safe workplace is commitment and buy in from leadership.

Business leaders should not only establish and enforce safety policies but demonstrate their commitment through allocating resources for safety training, providing the necessary equipment, and ensuring that all employees adhere to established safety procedures​​.

Employee Involvement

Involving employees in the development of safety policies is important for any business that wants to become more safety mature.

Frontline employees, with their first-hand experience, can offer valuable insights into potential risks and practical solutions. 

Encouraging their participation fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility towards maintaining a safe work environment​​.

Safety Training and Education

Regular training programs are essential to educate employees on identifying and taking the right steps to manage workplace risks.

Every business is different, but training might typically include correct usage of personal protective equipment (PPE), safe operation of machinery, and effective response to emergencies. 

Risk assessment and control

Making sure your business is on top of formalising risk assessments is also key. This involves identifying the risks associated with every common business task, and implementing preventive measures to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries. 

There’s a great guide to effectively completing risk assessments at the British Safety Council.

Regularly reviewing and updating your risk assessments ensures they remain effective and relevant​​.

Incident Reporting and Investigation

Establishing a robust system for reporting and investigating accidents and injuries can also contribute to continuous safety improvements​​.

Your process should aim to identify the root causes of accidents and injuries and implement corrective actions to prevent them reoccurring.  

Recruitment also plays a key part in ensuring health and safety at work

Whether it's hiring a Health and Safety Manager to lead your transition to becoming more safety mature, or finding employees who align with your businesses’ dedication to safety, the right employee recruitment strategy can significantly contribute to a safer work environment. 

WPRG is an established recruitment agency that has been placing industrial staff for more than two decades.

If you're looking to enhance your organisation's commitment to health and safety through strategic recruitment or seeking new team members that align with your safety values, WPRG is your ideal partner. 

With over 20 years experience, a hands-on approach, and commitment to excellence, WPRG is ready to support your employee recruitment needs and contribute to a safer, more productive workplace.

Ready to find out more? Get in touch today.