What is leadership that promotes a culture of safety?
Organizational culture consists of attitudes, values and beliefs that are demonstrated in the workplace on a daily basis and affect the mental and physical well-being of employees; such as
- commitment to balanced workloads and job enrichment
- decision latitude
- employee involvement
- support for work-life balance.
Strong leaders recognize that solid health and safety performance drives business results. They promote a culture of safety in their organizations, and integrate prevention measures into business strategies, processes and performance measures.
What the law says
The Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations set out clear requirements for creating a safe and healthy physical work environment. Leaders go beyond meeting their legal obligations, and seek instead to meet the spirit of the law - knowing that organizational performance depends on healthy, safe, engaged employees.
How leadership can help your organizational culture
Advocating within their firms for employee health and safety is a fundamental, achievable and critical role for executive leaders that resonates powerfully at both a corporate and social level. The business case for health and safety resonates whether the organization is motivated by its bottom line, reputation, or corporate social responsibility.
What you can do
Research is clear that a prevention culture begins and ends with the executive leader's passion for health and safety. CEOs, owners and other leaders within the organization can transform the workplace by:
- wholeheartedly embracing the goal of zero injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and by making it personal: who would tolerate an injury to oneself, one's family members, or one's co-workers?
- demonstrating to employees that health and safety matters by visibly participating; for example, by joining joint health and safety committee meetings and inspections at least twice a year
- making their expectations of supervisors known, and holding them accountable: supervisor awareness - for example, around the critical issue of orientation training - is often the weak link in an organization's health and safety performance.
CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network
WSPS is committed to providing opportunities through the CEO H+S Leadership Network for members to openly discuss challenges, best practices and exchange knowledge and ideas on performance excellence and the advancement of a strategy for a robust provincial culture of health and safety. Established through the efforts of WSPS in 2014, the group has tackled timely subjects such as on the job mindfulness, workplace mental health, brain-centered hazards and integrating health and safety into the board agenda. White papers offering insight on these topics are available at ceohsnetwork.ca.
3 ways to improve your own health and safety culture
- Learn more about the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network. Canada's Best Health + Safety Culture Award was developed in part by WSPS through the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network, a distinguished group of leaders committed to building sustainable businesses and communities.
- Check out WSPS' online resources.
- Attend local WSPS Network and Knowledge Exchange functions. Topics vary from roundtable discussions and updates on legislation and injury trends to sharing best practices.