Sarah Smith, Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment at MITIE Total Security Management discusses what makes QHSE “good”. Sarah writes: “QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment) is a hot topic at Mitie; the safety and welfare of our people is paramount and it is an area where we believe in going above and beyond. As Total Security Management’s head of QHSE, I am passionate about how these areas can enable a business to operate with the right culture and the right processes.
“I find health and safety to be a very emotive subject, with varying opinions around its business benefit and whether it is a blocker or an enabler. This is not helped by the claims culture we have seemingly adopted in recent years from the US.
“Most organisations have policies and procedures in place, which is now standard practice. However the existence of minimum policies and procedures doesn’t necessarily make your business safe. This comes when the business has the right attitude and ethos, driving a business culture in which safety is key and a proactive leadership team enabling this ethos to flow through the core values.
“Culture is a way of doing something, behaviours which are adopted and then ingrained throughout an organisation. In our organisation we have adopted the One Code, which has been designed to help everyone understand the core values and the behaviours which underpin them.
“So what does ‘good’ look like when it comes to health and safety? This will depend on the organisation and what it wants to achieve and what it has in place already. Whilst good QHSE is individual to a company, other businesses can act as a yardstick for what an organisation aspires to achieve – or what it wants to avoid. The main thing to remember is not to focus on creating a safety culture as this will see health and safety go out on a limb. Instead it should be integral to your overall business culture. Then good practice will become the norm.
“Within Mitie, we have total commitment from the senior management team that everyone must work safely, not to cut corners, and do it right the first time. This culture empowers everyone to challenge behaviours of their peers, and to do the right thing, with no pressure to work unsafely.
“Our business culture and commitment to Mitie’s One Code means we continuously aspire to raise our standards and, through recent senior management health and safety leadership workshops, we have identified what our ‘good’ looks like.”
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