Leadership plays a key role in influencing the success of health and safety in any organisation, but promoting positive leadership and management can be particularly challenging in SMEs. There are several tools currently freely available to organisations to help them address the issues of leadership in occupational safety and health (OSH).
Health and safety leadership has been argued to be one of the key determinants of employee well-being and is fundamental to promoting and sustaining a safe and healthy workplace. Occupational safety and health leadership is about securing the health, safety and welfare of workers by reducing risks, and protecting them and others from harm or illness arising out of work activities (Mullen & Kelloway, 2011).
EU-OSHA has published a very useful leadership resource pack as part of their series of e-factsheets. The aim of the pack is to highlight freely available leadership tools, toolkits and resources aimed at organisations and managers. Many of the toolkits aim to either develop leadership in occupational health and safety in organisations, or are resources that company leaders can use to promote a safe and healthy working environment and culture.
The factsheet provides links to the following free resources:
- Line Manager Competency Indicator Tool (UK)
- Line Managers’ Resource: a practical guide to managing and supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace (UK)
- Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Leadership and Management (Canada)
- Managing Mental Health Matters (Canada)
- Managing Emotions (Canada)
- Safety and Health Leadership Quiz (USA)
- Workplace Health and Safety Queensland: Safety Toolkit (Australia)
- British Health and Safety Executive – Absence Management Toolkit (UK)
- British Health and Safety Executive – Leadership and Worker Engagement Toolkit (UK)
- The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) (Denmark)
The benefit of effective leadership lies not only in less accidents; there is growing evidence that high levels of occupational safety and health performance (low accident rates and absenteeism, OSH culture) correlate with workplace innovation and human performance levels. Review of workplace innovation and its relation with occupational safety and health
As well as establishing governance for OSH management, a firm’s leaders will set out the strategy, policy and performance targets. Leading by example helps establish a positive health and safety culture and underpins the engagement of staff in safety and health matters. Leaders can ensure that safety and health remains a priority during day-to-day operations and that managers and supervisors encourage safe behaviour and empower individual employees to take preventive actions when risks are identified.
Read the e-fact sheet Occupational safety and health leadership: Tools and toolkits
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