What a strong Health & Safety Culture looks like

People are the most important asset in any business, and ensuring their health and safety at work is paramount. The time for turning New Zealand’s poor health and safety record around is now, and we need your help to make it happen.

Between 50 and 100 people die in workplace accidents in New Zealand every year. Another 500 to 800 people die as a result of illness caused by their work environment. This isn’t good enough, and signals a pressing need to break with the way things have been done in the past and build a strong workplace culture that puts people first.

Leaders from board level through to managers and supervisors are central to this challenge. As a leader, your influence on those around you is vital and you have an important role to play
in keeping everyone safe on the job.  Your mindset and understanding of the work will help create the conditions for that work to be carried out safely. Your constant attention to risk will ensure that you are never complacent and always alert to incidents that could happen and improvements that could be made to make your workplace safer.

Below is a checklist as put together by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as part of their People come First report. You can download the full report here.

If you can’t confidently tick all these boxes, then your health and safety culture is not what it should be and you need to reflect on how your own behaviour, and that of other leaders, has contributed to making it the way it is. The guide below will help you explore ways to improve.

✔ Leaders are regularly seen in the workplace with the team

✔ Everybody knows that if a job can’t be done safely, it isn’t done at all

✔ Everyone has the knowledge and skills to do their jobs safely

✔ Everyone knows what their health and safety responsibilities and duties are

✔ Staff, contractors and representatives are actively involved in decision-making

✔ There is open and honest communication across the organisation

✔ There is mutual respect between workers and managers

✔ Everyone actively reports incidents, hazards and near misses

✔ Incidents and hazards are investigated without fear of blame or recrimination

✔ People who break the rules or condone rule breaking by others are held accountable

✔ The organisation learns from incidents and near misses, and makes sure they don’t happen again

✔ There is emphasis on the use and continuous improvement of systems

✔ Risk assessment is routinely and actively used at all levels and in all processes

✔ Health and safety is adequately resourced with sufficient people, equipment and time


All Guard Safety is passionate about making New Zealand a safer place, so Kiwi’s can get home to their families, every day. Having a positive safety culture amongst your team is a small, yet powerful step towards helping make New Zealand a safer place. Having complete buy in from the whole team – from management down to those on the front line, is paramount to having a positive safety culture.

You can download the full report People Come First by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)


Source: MBIE.govt.nz


About the author / Melisa Capper