On 28 April we have a chance to reflect on how each of us can make a daily difference in workplace safety. This year’s theme for the UN World Day for Safety and Health at Work is “Join in building a culture of prevention on Occupational Safety and Health.” This is a message we can all get behind as it’s everyone’s responsibility to help create a safe and healthy workplace, whether that’s an office, project site or even home.
At Amec Foster Wheeler safety is part of our core values: ‘Doing the right thing – we put safety first.’ However, it isn’t just enough to have safety as one of our core values – we all must truly be empowered not only to put this into action but to have full support in our commitment.
We can all help to create a culture in which employees feel comfortable in addressing others’ unsafe behaviours by intervening when something is or appears to be wrong or unsafe, by making it acceptable to intervene and acceptable to accept challenge in the manner that it is meant.
Although by no means the only factor, clear communication and support in doing what we believe is right is important. This should be at every level in an organisation – not just top-down but bottom up and across all levels, to get everyone involved by giving everyone ownership and accountability. Team leaders, managers, and senior leadership within any organisation must set an example to encourage workers to address unsafe behaviour.
The impact of a work-related injury has consequences beyond the worker. The UN World Day for Safety and Health at Work encourages everyone to pause and think about what impact they can make, what lessons can be learned, and how they can help create a safer and healthier working environment. Take a moment and think about your colleagues and how your actions could help keep them safe. But not only that, think about how your actions could also help in situations beyond the workplace. If everyone did this, we would assist in seeing our friends and colleagues go home in the same state they came to work. We can all make a difference, it’s now your choice, it’s all about changing hearts and minds.