Growing a safety culture
A SAFETREE PROGRAMME CALLED ‘GROWING OUR SAFETY Culture’ is being rolled out across New Zealand after trialling with a small number of contractors and forest owners.
It’s being championed by the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) as a way to help create a workplace culture among logging and silviculture crews that supports good health and safety practices.
The new programme was piloted with ten forest owners and contractors, large and small, in the second half of last year, with 364 people taking part.
Psychologist and safety expert, Dr Hillary Bennett was involved in the pilot study and told the Forest Industry Safety & Technology 2018 conference in Rotorua last month that “speaking up isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial” to improving safety in the bush.
She stressed the importance of “facilitated conversations” that allow members of the crew to talk freely about their experiences, what they see and what can be improved, and about making sure their input is welcomed, valued and acted upon.
One of the things that came out of the pilot study was that we do not learn well from incidents and she says we need to take that on board.
One participant, Timberlands, found the pilot so effective it has decided to run the programme with all its teams – including the board of directors.
FISC’s Fiona Ewing explains it further in a blog on the Safetree website, saying: “This programme helps businesses build a workplace culture that supports successful work and good health and safety outcomes.
“The programme can be used with crews to improve attitudes and practices. It helps build stronger relationships within the crew by improving things like communication, engagement and reporting. These are all areas that have been identified by crews as crucial to having a good day at work.
“Importantly, this programme can also be used by forest owners and managers to help them understand how their behaviour might be supporting or hindering safety onsite.”
It builds on the Safety Culture tree initiative created some years ago and the original concepts have been updated and packaged into a programme that provides support to put them into practice (see the ‘tree’ illustration).
Ms Ewing adds: “This programme helps you understand the true state of health and safety in your business. It helps you harness the expertise in your teams to make improvements. It also enables you to reap the wider business benefits of having more motivated teams.”
The programme involves:
• A team assessment to uncover what’s really going on with health and safety
• A report-back on the results of the assessment that highlights what’s going well and what can be improved
• A feedback session to identify ways to make improvements and develop action plans.
Ms Ewing says it’s not an audit, “it’s about identifying practices that support or undermine health and safety, then supporting team members to come up with improvements.”
For more information go to the Safetree website.