You may have heard of the phrase “beyond compliance” but you may be unsure what it means. What are the cultural differences between a compliant business and a business that is a safe one and can help set the safety tone for your staff?
The law is open to interpretation, so however you approach managing risk, someone will have a different opinion. As knowledgeable as you may be, how can you be sure that you have captured every aspect of the legislation? Some people believe that if they are found to be 100% compliant in an audit, they are doing all they need to do to meet their obligations but that doesn’t mean that you are not going to have accidents and ill-health issues.
Tip. A good audit result doesn’t mean you can relax and assume you have it covered. Many accidents are behaviour based and can be caused by rebelling against rules and regulations.
Make sure you meet the minimum legal standards required. Use our Safety, Health & Environment Audit Checklist (SHE Audit) to make sure your business is not falling short. Please contact us for a free copy of the SHE Audit.
Compliant versus safe?
In a compliance culture, people know the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Employees may baulk or become uninterested when they’re told about rules and regulations and asked to sign statements documenting that they’ve been briefed. They may feel that the real goal isn’t a values-driven organisation, just one that protects the company from harm and allows staff to be blamed if things go wrong.
Tip. View compliance as a baseline, a springboard to good health and safety within an organisation.
If your company’s culture is “safe” your staff are motivated to act safely because they want to, not because they’re being told to. Achieving this culture is not a quick fix, but a long and sometimes bumpy journey. So how do you get there?
Going beyond compliance
Compliance cultures generally are focused on legal definitions of right and wrong. If you approach health and safety from an ethical stance, however, it does more than enforce awareness of and obedience to rules. It connects ethical conduct to your company’s guiding principles. Employees won’t just protect your company from harm; they will actively look at how they can act in ways that improve and enhance their workplace.
A healthy culture of ethics and integrity results in many benefits. Your workers will have greater confidence in your leadership. They aren’t just proud of the company’s standards but also act on them. You will find that not only will accidents and ill-health statistics drop, but proactive measures, such as near miss reporting and safety inspections will rise. Your staff will actively help you meet your targets. A safe company is generally a high achiever in other disciplines such as quality, productivity, customer service, etc. This potentially leads to improvements in company reputation and profits and a drop in costs such as sickness benefits and insurance premiums.
Compliance is sticking to the rules to avoid punishments such as fines. Going beyond compliance creates a valued work environment, with engaged staff resulting in a safe, efficient workplace.