Line managers provide a crucial link between an employee and health and safety practices in the workplace. In fact, line managers are often the first person employees speak to if there is an issue at work, and they play a vital role in the organisation’s running.
Businesses can have good line managers and bad line managers, but both have an effect on how well an organisation tackles the safety of their employees.
How do they fit into a company’s health and safety policies and procedures, though?
Promoting Health and Safety Practice
While health and safety procedures will start further up the chain than a line manager it is often that person who is tasked with overseeing the welfare of employees at work.
This doesn’t just mean they should enforce health and safety practices but rather promote the idea that working safely is as important as working effectively. An employee carrying out their duties in a safe manner will be able to perform well at their job for longer than someone who is working in an unsafe environment.
Implementing health and safety isn’t the be-all and end-all for a line manager – promoting safe working practices is just as important, and it is something that bad line managers often fail to do.
Increasing Employee Engagement
While we have written about ways to create a safe working environment which included having open discussions about health and safety at work, increasing employee engagement is a vital aspect of promoting safe practices.
If employees don’t feel engaged in the process or that their concerns aren’t listened to, then they are far less likely to follow health and safety procedures. This leads to the disillusionment of the workforce and reduced productivity and efficiency.
Identifying Specific Employee Issues
Finally, line managers have a specific responsibility to identify issues that an employee may be experiencing.
While you don’t have to be a mind reader and you can only pick up on what a staff member tells you or what you observe, a line manager should be able to act on concerns raised by employees in the workplace. This can be unsafe working conditions, or it can relate to stress and the mental health of a particular person.
Identifying these specific issues to individuals in your team and tailoring ways to address them will not only help that employee and keep them safe, but it will enhance the overall performance of the business.
Line Managers and Health and Safety
Enforcement and discipline are two vital parts of a line manager’s role when it comes to health and safety however promoting the idea of working in a safe manner is just as important.
Engaging employees in the process, addressing their concerns and working with individuals to help their workplace performance are all crucial areas in which are line manager should be involved.
While some managers see health and safety as a hindrance to efficiency, a good line manager will recognise that it is not just a central aspect of keeping employees safe, but it is something that everyone in the business should have a say in.