Team leadership


Big workplace discussion

There is now greater recognition than hitherto of the responsibility of those at the top of organisations to lead the management of OH&S as a strategic business objective and to involve the workforce through consultation.

But there is still insufficient understanding arguably of the critical role that needs to be played by line managers (including team leaders and supervisors) in the delivery of safe and healthy working in day-to-day operations.

Leading health and safety at work: Essentials for team leaders and supervisors

Team leaders and supervisors play a critical role in the delivery of safe and healthy working and in meeting corporate OH&S performance targets.

They need to be:
  1. Encouraged to understand the ethical, legal and business case for OH&S and to see this aspect of risk management as an integral part of their operational role and not a bolt on extra
  2. Emotionally intelligent and have positive attitudes to safety, including in their life outside work
  3. Held accountable for leading their teams safely and be subject to regular OH&S performance review as part of periodic appraisal
  4. Technically competent in relation to H&S and be provided with regular training, information, advice and opportunities for continuing professional development
  5. Seen to provide visible, felt leadership, particularly through personal example and practising safe behaviours
  6. Fully involved in processes such as risk assessment, development of safe systems of work, learning from accidents and incidents and in the delivery of training and briefings
  7. Helped to develop necessary soft skills, including listening, coaching and advocacy in relation to OH&S matters
  8. Alert to team members' views and receptive to suggestions on how to improve OH&S risk management
  9. Intolerant of poor practice, never walking by or turning a blind eye to unsafe acts or conditions
  10. Fully supportive of those who need help or advice on OH&S matters
  11. Resistant to pressure, whether from management colleagues or team members or others, to cut corners on OH&S
  12. Supported at all times by senior management colleagues, safety representatives and professionals and all members of their team in relation to meeting OH&S challenges.

Big workplace discussion


RoSPA award winning organisations were asked to consider what makes for good team leadership of OH&S

Main themes to emerge from the 'Big Workplace Discussion'

  1. Motivate
    • Train and Motivate
    • Raise Awareness
    • Provide solutions and resources
    • Continually improve
  2. Lead
    • Lead by example
    • DO safety (support safe working)
    • Praise positive behaviours
  3. Communicate
    • Communicate
    • Two way communication
    • Workforce involvement
    • Listen to Workers
    • Understand needs and problems
  1. Knowledge
    • Knowledge of H&S (respect)
    • Competent, know what good looks like
    • Reasonable H&S
  2. Prioritise
    • Prioritise H&S – integral part of job.
    • Continual commitment
    • H&S as normal part of business
  3. Accountability
    • Accountability – you contribute/are responsible to your own and colleagues safety
    • Challenge unsafe behaviours

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