By using all the platforms technology now offers – from email through to intranets, shared filing systems and social media – we’re able to engage with our teams to share and cascade information, motivate, and focus attentions wherever needed. Take last month’s World Safety Day, for example. Short videos of our Board pledging their commitment sent a very positive message to the entire company.

“Consistent, positive communications have helped make health and safety part of the everyday conversation instead of the

historic ‘subject to be avoided’.”

We still, however, place great value on face-to-face communications. CH&CO has been through a period of significant growth, much of which was driven by merger activity. At these crucial integration times, we delivered a series of roadshows that enabled us to meet with the teams and support them to ensure health and safety system transfers and updates took place as seamlessly as possible.

Top Tips:

• Talk to your catering provider – they have a raft of health and safety expertise and support to offer

• Make health and safety a daily conversation – it’s amazing what you can learn from others and what you can share too!

• Communication is key – if your teams don’t know what’s expected of them how can they be compliant

• Learn from every scenario and share!

trackable so gaps can be spotted; regular bite-sized training sessions focusing on specific topics to normalise them, creating an ‘everyday’ culture; manager-specific training sessions; mandatory food and health and safety courses that ensure compliance is fun and interactive; and vital ‘lessons learnt’ sessions that consider real life cases and put learning into practice.

It’s good to talk Sharing information has also been a powerful tool for integrating health and safety into our culture. Crucially, communication doesn’t just come from the health and safety team. It comes from different parts of the business to clearly demonstrate the whole-company approach and responsibility. Consistent, positive communications have helped make health and safety part of the everyday conversation instead of the historic ‘subject to be avoided’.

The bigger client picture It’s important not to be too inward looking when it comes to health and safety. Yes, internal systems, procedures and policies are vital, but as a caterer, these have to be agile and flexible so that they also meet the needs of our client partners.

We talk to our clients to ensure we understand their specific health and safety needs and how we can support them. Where necessary, we adopt additional processes to help meet these. For example, we have a client that requires participation in the Achilles Audit, so our processes have been adapted to include this – and, I’m pleased to report we have scored 100% on this too!

Replacing fear with learning Removing the fear factor is essential if health and safety is going to be successfully embedded in a company’s culture. I would say that health and safety’s bad reputation is, in part, a result of people being scared of the repercussions should things go wrong. If you look at what we do as a catering company, there’s a huge range of potential hazards and health and safety risks to be considered daily. Fearing health and safety, therefore, really isn’t helpful to anyone! Our inclusive working practice without blame has removed the barriers and created health and safety champions across the business, which puts us, and our clients, in a strong and positive position.

There’s always room for improvement and we have to accept that occasionally, things do go wrong – that’s why we have procedures and policies in place! But, rather than pointing the finger and apportioning blame, we view every incident as an opportunity to learn as a team. TOMORROW’S FM | 31

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