Becoming an authority on improved safety
As a medium-sized local authority in southern England, Hart District Council’s corporate safety committee were concerned that employees were still being injured during their work duties. That was despite the authority running compulsory safety inductions for all staff with a comprehensive safety, health and wellbeing policy in place as well as supporting guidance and an impressive risk assessment portfolio.
The Council’s Safety Adviser recognised the contribution that managers and safety representatives could make in changing behaviour across the workforce. So they decided to source suitable training for these ‘key players’ and selected IOSH’s Managing Safely course. The Council choose IOSH because they wanted ownership of safety and health to be a driver for improvement and needed a comprehensive course that stimulated delegate participation with a common aim – to prevent accidents.
Training was delivered one day a week across four weeks. After each session, course participants reviewed their progress, proposed potential improvements to their work environments and developed action plans.
The result has been a major shift in attitudes towards safety and health among colleagues at Hart District Council. Not to mention a better understanding of the potential for accidents and the downtime they cause. In particular, the number of reported near misses has now increased.
With their enhanced understanding of safety and health, colleagues are more receptive when challenged about poor safety and health behaviour. Employees advise managers about potential hazards using hazard alert forms; vehicle inspection protocols have been revised; and risk assessments are shared on the Council’s intranet. In addition, safety reps join workplace inspections, and safety and health is on the agenda at every management business meeting.
Above all, Managing Safely has built a firm foundation for the future and the Council is currently considering tailoring course material to specialist work activities.
Hart District Council was formed in 1974 from the merger of the former Fleet Urban District Council and Hartley Wintney Rural District Council. It now serves a population of just over 91,000 in around 37,000 households. The picturesque area of gentle rolling wooded countryside lies in the north-east corner of Hampshire in southern England and takes its name from the River Hart which flows through its centre.