Implementing a positive Health and Safety Culture


The Health and Safety Executive states that:

'Effectively managing for health and safety is not just about having a management or safety management system. The success of whatever process or system is in place still hinges on the attitudes and behaviours of people in the organisation.'

Here at Sowga, we think it's important to lead by example, which is why the role of our Quality, Health, Safety and Environment department is central to our day-to-day operations. Our QHSE Manager, Kevin Spicer, is NEBOSH qualified, highly trained, and extremely experienced in safe working processes, so our framework for reducing and managing risk in the workplace is in good hands.



Positive Safety Culture

Effective risk management depends partly on the behaviour of individuals within a company. Many accidents can be traced back to unsafe behaviours. Attitudes and values regarding safe working are important factors that influence health and safety performance. In other words, it's not enough to provide safe equipment, systems and procedures if the culture doesn't encourage healthy and safe working.  A poor culture encourages an atmosphere where not complying with safe working practices is acceptable, and it doesn't help a company to take effective action to solve health and safety problems.

H&S at Sowga

The challenge is how to have a positive influence on the company's health and safety culture. It's hard to change the attitudes and beliefs of a workforce by direct persuasion, but by acting safely workers can start to think safely. Kevin and his team are responsible for providing clear objectives and targets as well as communicating these to the whole organisation, thereby creating an entrenched safety culture that everyone buys into. Our QHSE department sets standards that we work to; however, it doesn't stop there. Our processes and procedures are constantly reviewed in line with the latest advice from governing bodies and regulations, to ensure we're industry-leading in our approach. As a part of our "Continuous Improvement" processes, we conduct the HSE "Safety climate survey" on a regular basis, to measure the leadership of H&S at the "Coal Face", H&S Communication, the effect of H&S Training etc.

Auditing performance

On a day-to-day basis, staff occupy an array of workspaces, including client buildings, construction sites and various different Sowga offices, which adds to the complexity of our policy. The QHSE team deal with this by conducting on-site audits to ensure everyone is working to the correct standards, in safe conditions. As a result, our H&S programmes are constantly monitored and adapted to reflect the reality of the job. Our H&S management system, OHSAS 18001, is also audited internally and externally, to ensure compliance and function.

Emphasis on training

Another H&S measure we employ includes training, through courses and workshops. Employees receive guidance on key issues, such as Legionella L8 (Approved Code of Practice and Regulations) and how to deal with asbestos, part of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). We also attend courses run by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Inducting new people into our safety culture is critical. All new employees are issued with the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and required to complete nine "CORE" H&S modules on the electronic system Citation Atlas, such as manual handling, first aid, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), fire safety and lone working, to name a few.

Our Health and Safety standards also encompass the way we deal with hazards that could impact our clients and their occupants, so they can be assured our work is accredited to an exceptionally high standard and fully certified.

If you have any questions about our Health and Safety policy or QHSE department, don't hesitate to contact us and we'll show you how we place the wellbeing of those inside and outside the organisation at the heart of everything we do.

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Ricky joined Sowga back in April 2019 and has made a really positive impact in his time with the organisation, providing effective strategic awareness, inspirational leadership, management and mentoring across our service and maintenance division...

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