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OHS Leadership from basic to excellence

Leadership by managers and supervisors is by far the most important factor in integrating prevention into a company’s operations. Staff engagement, which is strongly linked to the expression of leadership, is also a key element influencing the level of health and safety. The following article suggests a way of measuring the OHS performance of a company according to a path going from.

At BASE, although leaders are aware of their health and safety responsibilities, their leadership does not have much impact on supervision and operational staff. We feel that their actions are stimulated by the obligation to do rather than intrinsic to their leadership behavior. The situation is similar with the supervisor who can limit themselves to the essentials, resulting in much of the efforts being done by health and safety resources. This situation offers little potential to make prevention a strong value within the company.

At a DEVELOPMENT level, there is much more structure with regard to health and safety prevention and management and managers are stimulated by the requirements of this structure. The roles and responsibilities being fairly clear and there is pressure to comply with them. It is therefore a leadership of respect and commitment to the requirements of the company without demonstrating impactful behaviors for staff in terms of health and safety. In other words, we have a plan, the vision and the strategies are well understood by the leaders and the supervisors but the impact of these with the employees still leaves room for improvement. We do not yet have a natural and positive takeover by the leaders.

At the MATURITY level, there is more constant actions on the part of managers and supervisors. Leaders are more impactful, they interact with the staff, they ask good questions. Health and safety are integrated much more as a value. Leaders and supervisors demonstrate through their behavior when applying key activities (management reviews, root cause analysis, risk management, interactions, etc.) that prevention is an integral part of the operation and that it is not a simple priority of the moment. The leaders carry out their management reviews in order to establish the efficiency of the health and safety management system and prevention activities. Supervisors rigorously apply risk management systems and activities, positively reinforce good practices and mobilize their team members. Health and safety coordinators and advisers act as coaches and change agents while maintaining a high level of expertise.

At the EXCELLENCE level, we have leadership that has a lot of impact within the company and its operations. You could even argue that this is the main key to the success of the business. In other words, health and safety management systems are there to support the application of prevention and health and safety professionals to coach managers and supervisors. It is the leadership of supervisors that makes all the difference. Their presence is noticed and remarkable. Health and safety are a way of life for them, they take care of their people, it is a strong value. Managers and supervisors regularly reinforce good practices, much more often than they correct what does not meet the expectations of the company, thus creating a very positive impact on health, safety and prevention. In conclusion, at the excellence level, leaders and supervisors lead by example and integrate health and safety into their management activities as well as quality, efficiency, continuous improvement and production.

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