Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.



Go to last post Go to first unread
#1 Posted : 16 June 2017 12:39:11(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Hi All,

I need to make everyone in my company know they have the full support of the company when it comes to stopping any unsafe work (i am only new into the place and we are looking to improve the culture).

An issue arose where people were working at height within a factory without the correct controls in place and this was seen by someone who took a couple of pictures and eamiled them to the safety officer who was hundreds of miles away and did not even reported it to the supervisor.

It is a positive they did this but obviously i want them to address any unsafe issues at the time before going into reporting.

Has anyone any good positive messages, alerts posters etc which they could point me to on this - or any ideas.

Thanks in advance


#2 Posted : 16 June 2017 12:53:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Hi, with regard to working at height, in the absence of your safety officer your supervisors should have the authority to stop unsafe work. And yes I know a supervisor may have said do the job that way.....

Also, does your workplace have equipment to do work at height? Good step ladders? Platforms with barriers? Do they hire a scissor lift when that would be the appropriate equipment?


Edited by user 16 June 2017 12:54:37(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

#3 Posted : 16 June 2017 12:58:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Hi JohnW,

Thanks for your response,  but it is not the work at height aspect this post is about as we have dealt with this but the promotion of how we make our staff feel confident and supported to stop unsafe acts. Not just the direct supervisors but all staff.


Ian Bell2  
#4 Posted : 16 June 2017 12:59:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

How about Mrs May and Mr Javid agree to funding public services to an acceptable level. How about tax laws are drafted so the large Corporates pay a fair rate of tax to help fund public services.
Nobody is asking for cash to be wasted, just a credible level of public services we all benefit from.
#5 Posted : 16 June 2017 13:18:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Originally Posted by: Rdot Go to Quoted Post
<p>Hi JohnW,
</p><p>Thanks for your response,&nbsp; but it is not the work at height aspect this post is about as we have dealt with this but the promotion of how we make our staff feel confident and supported to stop unsafe acts. Not just the direct supervisors but all staff.

Ron, ok sorry, but you used that example and I was just asking if a safer way to dot he job was available not requiring the safety officer.

Regarding awareness, you want to make staff aware of what they should do in a risky situation. Make them aware what the company safety policy says about unsafe conditions or unsafe actions and that everyone has a responsibility to their work colleagues.

#6 Posted : 16 June 2017 14:28:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

I know the feeling.

I've used the following methods:

Get the boss  to tell everyone, in a suitable forum, that they have the authority to stop unsafe work and moreover that he expects them to do so.

An incident reporting form that includes after the usual what, where, when, who, the question "What did you do about it?"

Devoting 50% of the time in work at height training to discussing the need to challenge unsafe work at height and examples of when and how to do this.  The examples I use are photos from www.safetyphoto.co.uk

Stuart Smiles  
#7 Posted : 16 June 2017 15:04:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Stuart Smiles

Devise a pledge for general people on site, inc contractors etc and get everyone to sign it. Do the same for managers and get them to sign too, together on same sheet. Effects collective responsibility on managers and roles & responsibilities for both sides. Staff understand pledge from their side and can ref manager pledge if getting told do it anyway.

Pm if you want a copy of ones we had.
Get them to sign for it and put copy in file/ on training record. They keep copy to remember what committments are. Manager pledge goes next th hse poster and policy in reception. For all inc visitors to see.

Operators Behaviour Pledge

I ………………………………….. as an employee of XXXXX promise to follow the following simple rules to ensure the Health & safety of my self and others and to promote the professional standards of the company.

• I understand that unsafe behaviour is viewed extremely seriously and can lead to disciplinary action and/or instant dismissal.
• Health and safety rules cover myself and everyone else. I will act to prevent an accident before it happens.
• I will wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing made available and always wear steel toe cap boots, high-vis jacket and protective hard hat when on site.
• I will report loss or damage of PPE and obtain replacement.
• I will present my Driving Licence for inspection prior to joining the Company and at any time that it is requested.
• I will report any change to my licence to my Supervisor and Senior Manager – namely any points or fines gained on it.
• I will never come to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or take them while at work.
• I will always complete my Daily Checks and report any damage or defects to my supervisor as soon as possible for rectification using the written defect reporting system.
• I will read and follow all guidelines in the Machine manufacturer’s operators manual and the company’s Employee Handbook.
• I will maintain standards of driving as directed in the Highway Code, CITB and In-house training manuals. I will act professionally and courteously at all times and drive to prevent accidents.
• I will have any accident or injury attended to by a first aider.
• I will comply with company requirements for medical referrals as requested for occupational health reasons in a timely manner.
• I will report accidents, breakdowns, defects and “near misses” to your supervisor and senior Manager.
• I will co-operate fully with all accident and other investigations as required by the company.
• Where appropriate I will fuel, park, and remove keys (to be put in key box provided) from my vehicle before leaving the premises at night.
• I will always adhere to legislation, submitting completed records to the Company on time.
• I will always ensure that my crane, shovel, or any machine or tool that I use in my duties at work is clean inside and out and will act to prevent damage before it occurs.
• I will take on training programs as the Company requires.
• I understand that there is no ‘finish time’ for the work our customer and business needs come first.

Our work and your work will make us happier!

I also understand that unreasonable damage to my machine or tools will be investigated and potentially treated as gross misconduct. This in turn can lead to dismissal.

Failure to adhere to these agreed pledges may result in my employment being withdrawn.

Signed………………………………………….. Date…………………………

Edited by user 16 June 2017 15:10:28(UTC)  | Reason: added pledge text draft

Brian Campbell  
#8 Posted : 20 June 2017 08:12:45(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Brian Campbell

Hi Rdot,

We find that having a H&S forum with selected individuals from different departments and contractors is vital in promoting a H&S culture.  We also have staff do an induction annually which hammers home responsibilites of employees especially but also what the company is responsible for.  We use the forum as a platform for the group to also set objectives for each quarter, for example ensuring that house keeping is kept up to standards, or involving staff in active monitoring of slips, trips and fall hazards and reporting these immediately.  Staff need to see these being actioned immediately and praising them for coming forward goes along way, this approached has worked rerally well for us and in the last 3 years we have reduced are accidenst dramatically.  Sometimes its just about engaging with staff who ultimately want to help improve the work place also..


A Kurdziel  
#9 Posted : 20 June 2017 10:24:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

There has been a lot of stuff about the influence of managers on the Health and Safety culture in an organisation from people like Tim Marsh. Essentially it boils down to managers actually managing taking the lead at all times.

The manager must demonstrate that they take H&S seriously, not just after an accident but consistently. In that way the message gets back to staff that if they see something that is iffy in H&S terms they can go
to their manager and tell them about it with the expectation that something will be done about it.

thanks 2 users thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
DavidGault on 20/06/2017(UTC), JohnW on 22/06/2017(UTC)
#10 Posted : 22 June 2017 10:38:52(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

It's a problem, and one not easily resolved. You can tell folks in every way possible but they will still need to callibrate their head to what is and is not acceptable and also need support and mentoring to do the right thing. A colleague and I used to talk about the conversation in the safety office that went; knock at door "Sorry to disturb you, you'll never guess what i've just seen at the other side of the building?" followed by a moment of silence whilst trying to think, followed by a distant "AAAAGGGHHHH" CRASH.

It takes time, there are no magic bullets, but when there is an opportunity to immediately act directly with someone who wants to report something you do not get a second chance - drop everything and take that person back to where the problem is and discuss with everyone concerned. Put it off for even a minute and your credability is shot. Get one person on board. Then wait, they'll mention it somewhere, to someone and slowly, slowly the culture curve will start to change shape from a flat line to a small uplift and then at some point start to grow exponentially - but only if you continue to act every time you have an immediate opportunity to take someone to the problem and discuss with everyone,

just my thoughts,


thanks 1 user thanked ExDeeps for this useful post.
Kate on 23/06/2017(UTC)
#11 Posted : 26 June 2017 14:23:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Keep plugging the message and keep reassuring everyone that they will be supported if they stop work that they think is dangerous.  Changing the culture is a long slow process and you can't force it, it is a a process of evolution not revolution.  My advice (and I'm working on the same issues myself in my new role) is to be consistent with everybody whether your own employees or contractors.  Where contractors are concerned get tough over RAMS,  if your people are aware that you are delaying or stopping works because the RAMs aren't adequate and if they see you monitoring and spot checking on the work then they will steadily start to feel more confident about speaking up themselves.  I sort of like Stuart's idea of a the Worker's Charter but I would keep it much shorter and simpler, just 3 to 5 key points and no more. 

#12 Posted : 30 June 2017 08:16:18(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

As others have said, re-inforcing the message as much as possible is a key, also education and training for supervisors and managers to support people when they stop work for a safety concern (it doesn't encourage people to report issues if the manager flies off the handle when someone stops a job). As well as talk and training, giving people the practical experience of stopping work is important. To enable this we conduct regular stop work authority drills where a scenario is planned out and someone starts to approach a task in an unsafe way (without actually creating risk to themselves or others) - for example, starting to cross a barrier, heading into an area without correct PPE, asking a crane to carry out a lift with incorrect or out of service lifting gear etc etc. If someone stops the person, great, have a debrief with the crew and recognise the intervention in a positive way. If no-one stops the person, have a debrief with the crew and explain the drill that just occurred and reinforce again the importance of everyone taking ownership. It's a long, slow process, but we are slowly starting to see a change.

PS - On many occasions I have had the experience of a manager running to find me (the safety guy), so I can go and stop someone that he has just seen doing something unsafe...!!!!

Stuart Smiles  
#13 Posted : 30 June 2017 11:33:12(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Stuart Smiles

if you look at the doc I posted and put into word, you will find there is nothing big or difficult about it. I sat down with groups of 4-5 and went through it with them and the maintenance person, whilst also issuing defect books per item of plant. it fits on a page with formatting, and was though about for a while.

in some respects, i agree with the focus on 3-5 things, however I tried to do some sort of what good looks like (or bad looks like then countering it). - easier to list.   

We had to go through the issues we felt needed addressing and at the same session, used the dvsa "check it out video" (older one than one on youtube), but you get the message, to ensure that people look at their equipment and treat as "their own". they got the original, and we kept a copy. (both can refer back to afterwards)

it was a process that took a while to get through, however it was needed as we were in a waste site and were unhappy with a lack of ownership of machines used by people and "forgotten about/ignored". 

within what we were doing, we were trying to set some form of "school rules" so that everyone knew where they were, and there were issues with follow up, when others did use things or leave in a lesser state than would have been wanted, leading to some disciplinaries where rule for me vs rule for them. 

all that said, it provided a line in the sand where everyone knew they were on notice that safety was being taken seriously, and would be acted upon. 

apparently, the point when people realised it was seriously was when I frogmarched a customer to our weighbridge to get a hard hat with associated "chat", however i asked him "how come all these people can do it but you can't be arsed? you are disrespecting the policies and procedures that they all have to adhere to and it's not acceptable". He wasn't happy at all, however I think it marked a point of support to our people that they aren't just being asked to do it for them, and as such they knew it mattered. 

I don't want to suggest you engineer a similar event, however I would say that the seeing to be policing is important, as it gives permission to the staff to do to each other and support the positive culture.

if it's not getting better, it will be getting worse, so you need to keep the pressure on and visibility, questioning, and showing it's important. 

The same will apply to important visitors. some may need respectful but firm assurance that they will be following the same rules as the staff, and anyone walking around with you will also be observed, so have a stash of kit ready so that they get to know "it's not worth the headache to me of you not wearing and do what I ask them to do when you are here.

You will be criticised for any deviations from the rules, far more harshly than anyone else, and as such it will be brough up on a continual basis to slap you in the face for years to follow, so make sure you follow own rules.

a spreadsheet of kit also helped to enable filing of relevant "stuff" per piece of equipment inc photos in a folder and reports/info/risk assessments etc. it is a system approach you need to think about as multiple attack vectors you can try/prod with to nudge people in the direction you want them to go.

we also put all supervisors and managers on IOSH Managing Safely - 4 day course, a real way of getting them to think and talk through (with people from other organisations) their thoughts on health and safety, and why it was being done.

I think this was a significant trigger too in pushing the message through the organisation and bringing ownership to more of the workforce. 

good luck. 


Edited by user 30 June 2017 11:41:25(UTC)  | Reason: added iosh managing safely reference

Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.