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What is good occupational safety and health (OSH)?

This Thursday marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This year’s theme is ‘Act together to build a positive safety and health culture’ and will explore the topic of participation and social dialogue in creating a positive safety and health culture.

The day will highlight the importance of having a strong OSH system as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes meaningful participation of governments, employers, workers, public health actors and all relevant parties at the national and enterprise level, which has been crucial in protecting working environments and safeguarding the safety and health of workers.

At the workplace level, a strong OSH culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is valued and promoted by both management and workers.

For IOSH, good OSH focuses on protecting workers to ensure they return home safe and healthy after work each day.

It is all about sensibly and proportionately managing risks to protect workers and support:

  • a happier and healthier workplace
  • lower staff turnover
  • minimised risk of fines
  • improved productivity and
  • a better reputation

Good OSH management is characterised by strong leadership involving all managers, workers, suppliers, contractors and customers. In a global context, health and safety is also an essential part of the movement towards sustainable development.

The application of good OSH management is linked to improved business performance and profitability and sustainability. Where businesses demonstrate their good application of OSH, workers will be healthier and happier – their work will be good work and there will be a reduction in workplace accidents and ill health.

This leads to a reduction in costs, increased profitability and social standing, together with increased reputation for corporate responsibility throughout the supply chain (customers and communities) and investors.

The IOSH Catch the Wave campaign identifies that socially sustainable organisations are those that prioritise the adoption of a person-centred approach to everything they do. They treat employees as an asset and create the conditions to promote decent work.

Top tips:

  1. Secure and demonstrate commitment to OSH by implementing OSH management systems that prevent workplace injuries and ill health and improves compliance with laws and regulations.
  2. Engage with workers and their representatives.
  3. Communicate constructively about workplace risks, OSH policies and procedures.
  4. Listen to worker concerns and provide answers.
  5. Ensure that adequate resources are identified and available for managing worker health and wellbeing, such as welfare arrangements and the development of wellbeing programmes.

What are your top tips on good OSH? Let us know by emailing media@iosh.com

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Marcus Boocock
PR Lead
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