An organisation may have policies and procedures in place, but health and safety performance will not be acceptable if people are engaging in unsafe behaviour.

How, then, do you motivate people to practise safe behaviour?

It is necessary to involve employees in every aspect of health and safety, and provide them with the appropriate training, working environment, and welfare facilities.

When employees are motivated, a positive attitude towards safe behaviour is fostered. Whereas starting off with an unsafe attitude will have a negative effect, beginning with a safe attitude means that a worker will stop and think before they begin their task and will assess what needs to be done. The task will then be carried out safely, resulting in a positive effect on the worker and their colleagues.

Key to motivation is effective communication. Information needs to be clear and given at the right time. Workers need to know that taking short cuts is unacceptable and that the consequences can be disastrous, but they also need to know that their managers will listen to what they have to say about their work and will not ignore any safety problems that they have identified.  Employees will also respond well to praise, as well as advice that is delivered in a polite manner.

To keep themselves motivated and focused on their safety, people should use tools such as STAARR and TASK cards:

·         STAARR stands for “Stop, Think, Assess, Act, Report, Review”

·         TASK stands for “Think first, Act safe, Stop if hazardous, Keep safe”.

These tools prompt workers to assess risks before they begin a task. Instead of starting without regard for their safety, they are reminded to consider their environment and what they are about to do.