Promoting a positive health and safety culture – good for business

The Property Care Business and – promoting a positive health and safety culture.


Health and Safety…. are you sick of it? I know that in the past, the mere mention of it, was enough to make me frown and change the subject. I viewed it with suspicion and even a bit of antagonism.


Despite wishing it would go away, on the contrary, I found that it was becoming omnipresent and try as I might, I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there.


image ostrich

What Hazard?


So initially I did what most business owners seem to do, I bought-in some help and in effect, sidestepped the issue (I thought). My new health and safety consultants drew-up my health and safety policy, gave me lots of papers and forms to pass on to my staff and a framed certificate for my office.


Still, doubt nagged at me and I had a bad feeling that maybe, health and safety was forgotten – but not gone.


Guilty Your Honour


I was right of course; all the consultants in the world and the best-written health and safety policy do not absolve employers from their H&S responsibilities. If the poo hits the fan, the small print makes clear that ‘you’ are the boss – you are responsible – you are the guilty one.


But I hate forms, paperwork and actually, so do all my employees… how could we tackle health and safety – it’s really horrible, isn’t it?


This was in 2012. The only health and safety training I had then was my Health Safety and Law module from the CSRT (Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatment), my CITB Health and safety awareness certificate and a certificate for Asbestos awareness. I was still worried about health and safety, but as it turned out – I was nowhere near worried enough.


On a recommendation I met up with Nigel Deane CMIOSH and the rest is history – I now have NEBOSH ‘general’ and ‘Construction’ certificates and I am on my way to an NVQ5 in occupational health and safety. I still worry about health and safety – but I no longer try to avoid dealing with it – I am relatively confident in my ability to manage it and I welcome the chance to make a positive difference, to the health and safety of my employees, customers and my industry peer group. I really got to work making changes in January 2014, after my success in the ‘Construction’ certificate and by June, I was blogging on the changes I was making.


Bryan Hindle Nebosh Certificate

Bryan’s second Nebosh certificate was the Construction flavored one…


Health and safety, it’s all bloody paperwork?


Health and safety inevitably means that there must be written down controls, rules and protocols of course. This is the aspect, which tends to get the most attention and it also puts health and safety beginners off. But really, once you start down the path of genuinely improving the health and safety of all – it not only gets easier, but also the paperwork can, to an extent, become a pleasure. You see, it’s one thing knowing you are planning to do something safely, and telling staff to do this…. It’s another, seeing it in black and white and, having discussed it and consulted with employees, watching them ‘get it’ and sign-up for these controls – when this happens you see that in fact, facing up to health and safety is easy and really takes a load off the mind.


You notice that I clarify the above with ‘consulted’ and ‘discussed’?


Running a business is hard work, time is short and when skilled and capable trades surround us, we can and do tend to leave them to it. They can be trusted; they know what they are doing. As a result, we don’t get the chance to really talk and listen to each other much.


But take all these seasoned staff out of their comfort zone and get talking about the dreaded ‘health and safety’ and eventually something great happens. You see… when it comes to working safely and looking after our health, many of us don’t really know how to do that.


What I found was, that,this new and complex subject was at first feared by us all. However, it gave us the chance to do more of something we’d let slide; talk and listen.


Okay, so as an Investor In People, we do quite a bit of that and probably more than most, but the push for a healthier and safer workplace doubled the time spent talking and listening. A bad thing? Didn’t we have work to do?


I’m not going to get all touchy feely on this, but in the construction industry, talking and listening is a proper luxury, especially between office admin and site employees.


However, making time to do this was essential to get our health and safety act together. The bonus was that in spending time together – working on a problem, which we all shared, we grew much closer as a team. We found out more about each other and we discovered that others were interested in what we had to say and how we felt about things, which effect us all.

The team grew stronger, closer and more efficient – How?


health and safety in the PCA

We now teach each other to be safe and healthy


Promotion of a Positive Health and safety culture ticks lots of boxes, which make people; feel valued, worthwhile and confident.


These are the exact same traits, which management consultants stress should be promoted and are key to great business performance.


In a nutshell, setting off on the health and safety trail gave my people management skills a big lift. Of course when I was sat listening to Nigel lecture on this my ears pricked-up, but I didn’t really appreciate just how good the effect of promoting a positive health and safety culture would be for my business and for the professional lives of my employees.


It hasn’t taken long, though I am nowhere near finished and constant improvement means I never will be. In three years I’ve totally changed the health and safety environment in the firm;  I was very proud when some of my employees cited the new culture as a major factor in their happiness and well being (during a ‘blind’ IIP survey).


I recommend that anyone looking at this should read this


I’d recommend the NEBOSH certificate to you and tagging an NVQ on the back is probably a good idea because all the changes you will make in your business, will provide lots of evidence for it – so you may as well take the additional reward of another professional qualification?


A positive health and safety culture is part of a good workplace culture and…… wouldn’t you rather work in an organisation where people are happy, safe and work with a smile?


Dry Rot.

This post is aimed at promoting health and safety in the Property Care industry and amongst members of the Property Care Association. I write it as the managing director of a busy preservation company based in Yorkshire.



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Copyright © 2010 Preservation Expert. Legal Stuff: All the advice and information in the posts on my blog is made in good faith and is based on my experience and knowledge at the time of writing. However, nobody is infallible and whilst I’m confident that most of what I write about preservation issues is accurate, there’s a good chance there’ll be an error or two somewhere. I do change my mind about stuff, as I gain more experience. In view of this you must make your own decisions on whether to follow any advice I write and think about this; I could be wrong. No responsibility will be accepted by the author for any losses anyone may suffer as a result of any mistake or for the consequence of any action you take as a result of reading this blog. If you do suffer a loss, resulting from anything I’ve written, a verbal heartfelt apology will be your only compensation.