Health and safety focus for HERA

April 2018

Safety in numbers - staff numbers that is. Photo: Hera.

April has seen a new focus on health and safety for HERA. With a new CEO, Dr Troy Coyle, at the helm, the philosophy has become that health and safety should be seen as ‘the way things are done’, not ‘a task on a list’.

Comms manager Kim Nugent writes that a good safety culture in a business often dictates how engaged an employee is. It also works to attract, motivate and retain good workers as well.

"Steps taken to embed safety into the culture of any business is varied – but what is clear, is that it must be led from the top.

"With the inception of our new CEO Dr Troy Coyle, I’ve personally noticed a new view on health and safety has begun to take form within our organisation.

"This is not to lessen what we’ve done in the past which has always been to meet our legislated H&S requirements. But what has changed is the attitude towards it.

"From the first staff meeting Troy led, the importance of health and safety under her mandate was made very clear. And staff were asked to share any health and safety related issues around the table.

"Since then, our team has been issued monthly safety themes. And, a buddy system has kick-started for reviewing various areas of our workplace to identify potential hazards or risks and identify ways to eliminate or reduce them. Safety actions are being recorded more regularly, and distribution of emails alerting to health and safety aspects we should be aware of have started coming. Most recent examples being around loud workplaces and associated hearing hazards, and actions to take if in contact with hydrofluoric acid stored in workshops.

"While there is still a long way to go in this journey, even I can see that we’ve ticked off many of the positive actions recommended – all led from the top. The most interesting part being that I didn’t even notice it was happening - it was innovation by stealth!"

"Health and safety needn’t be a chore. Immobilising your team to be health and safety champions requires only for you to show your commitment to making this part of your business culture, and holding your team accountable.

"I’ve personally never actively taken the time to think about health and safety in my day to day living. But I can tell you, since we’ve started putting health and safety at a high level at work, I’m now conscious to hold the hand rail when I climb the stairs. In fact – just the other week I felt prompted to move a package sitting at the end of the stairwell to eliminate the risk of others tripping on it. All it took was raising my attention to health and safety, and our team actively sharing stories together on what could happen if we take a ‘not my problem’ attitude.

"I strongly encourage our members to take a similar tack in their leadership – who knows what you could prevent from happening."