12.11.2012

Leadership and Occupational Safety and Health

In EU legislation as well as in scientific literature ever more attention is
being paid to the important role of leadership in the improvement of
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). Improving the safety behaviour of
employees requires understanding of the good leadership practices that can help
promote better OSH behaviours among employees.

Five broad guiding principles for OSH leadership may be identified from
previous research:

1. Leaders must take seriously their responsibility for the establishment of a
positive prevention culture. This will require them to employ a repertoire of
leadership styles which can take account of the cultural context, say in
different groups or nations, including the emotional intelligence necessary
effect changes in culture and in behaviours.

2. Leaders should be seen to prioritise OSH policies above other corporate
objectives, and apply them consistently across the organisation and over time.
3. OSH measures can only deliver to their full potential if they have the
unequivocal commitment of an organisation's board and senior management.
High-level management, not just line management or specialists, must be
directly involved in implementing OSH policies.

4. Good, regular, multi-level communication is vital to the delivery of
improvements in OSH. Leaders should set out to cultivate an open atmosphere in
which all can express their experience, views and ideas about OSH and which
encourages collaboration between stakeholders, both internal and external,
around delivery of a shared OSH vision.

5. Leaders should show they value their employees, and promote active worker
participation in the development and implementation of OSH measures.

A new EU-OSHA report looks at the corporate leadership factors on which success
depends. It reviews the existing literature on OSH leadership and analyses the
results of 16 case studies from companies across the EU identifying success
factors and examples of good OSH leadership, such as innovative approaches and
the role of stakeholders.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work