Safety culture 'really has to start with organization's leadership'

Expert Lee-Anne Lyon-Bartley tells COS TV why safety officers must reach all levels of a company

Safety culture 'really has to start with organization's leadership'

To create a safety-focused work culture, “it really does have to start with the leadership of the organization, and the leadership of the organization needs to walk the talk and talk the walk,” says Lee-Anne Lyon-Bartley, health and safety expert, in the latest episode of COS TV.

High levels of engagement are important when it comes to health and safety. “Health and safety really is everybody’s responsibility,” she says, “and so engagement from all levels of the workforce really is important.”

Watch now: Lee-Anne Lyon-Bartley shares her insights with Maia Foulis on COS TV

It’s also essential for organizations to think about what their safety organization is going to look like.

“Really consider the marketing, because social marketing is important […] Feel free to market that health and safety culture beyond the borders of your organization,” says Lyon-Bartley.

“It really is about everybody being involved, and really reaching people at the frontline, the mid-level management, you high-level management.”

Each workplace is unique, so it stands to reason that each safety plan would be unique – this can sometimes be a challenge for organizations who are just starting out in health and safety.

There are so many different hazards out there, says Lyon-Bartley, “one hazard might have more exposure than another. But it really is a multitude of hazards, there are so many opportunities for us to be harmed. So it’s a constant work in progress,” she says, when it comes to identifying and mitigating risks.

Looking at statistics, top injuries are related to musculoskeletal injuries. There is still very much room for improvement, she says:

“That for me is definitely a common hazard that probably isn’t looked at enough, or really the proactive measures to reduce some of those hazards aren’t really being put in place as much as they could be.”

And there are always emerging risks, she says, such as nanotechnology or mental health: “Psychosocial hazards are not so new. We’ve been talking about this for a while now, but you know it is still something that’s evolving and a lot of us are still learning as we dive deeper into understanding that hazard,” says Lyon-Bartley.

As well as understanding, organizations need to look into what they can do to support there workforce. Says Lyon-Bartley:

“There's so many hazards, and there's so much learning. So it's a constant opportunity to learn more, read more, look for what's the latest and greatest in research. I think that's an important responsibility for all of us as health and safety professionals.”