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LEADERSHIP TOPS THE SAFETY AGENDA

Some flesh added to the bones of HSE Leadership strategy

The HSE Board has considered a programme for promoting good leadership during 2009/10. The following is proposed:

  • National Account Managers: HSE senior managers will lead partnership work with individual large organisations “in pursuit of both improved leadership and worker involvement”;
  • Industry Sector Engagement: both those sufficiently mature for HSE to transfer the leadership agenda for the sector to drive and those currently ‘under performing’ where key individuals need to be encouraged to take up the leadership challenge;
  • Small Business Support: guidance on leadership will be developed addressed to ‘owner/managers’ in language that resonates with such very small businesses and;
  • Promotional Work: continued work to raise awareness of the joint IoD/HSE guidance. A key message is that leadership entails appreciation of the risk profile of an organisation and delivery of health and safety in a sensible and proportionate manner.

Comment: There will be a strong emphasis on boardroom H&S leadership in the coming 12-18 months. The construction sector contains a significant number of large organisations which may ‘qualify’ for the National Account Manager scheme. Such work has already been undertaken in the construction sector and the HSE paper does not mention construction as ‘under performing’. Clear practical guidance for smaller business is to be welcomed.

Time is running out for those who wish to avoid further statutory regulation on boardroom and director leadership. HSE is committed to revisiting the question of directors’ duties for health and safety in early 2010, when the results of an evaluation will be available. Evidence of solid leadership based on existing voluntary guidance may head of legislators at the pass!

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