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1. Provide a safe working environment


Key ideas

  • Besides any moral or legal obligation to provide a safe working environment, managers cannot build strong manager-employee relationships or expect productive work in an unsafe work environment. How managers are seen to respond to safety risk is a powerful symbol to all team members of the importance managers place on building a trusting and fair working relationship.


Providing a safe working environment is part of the Leadership Framework's holistic approach to people and work. The role of a manager is to achieve the business goals set for them and at the same time, provide an environment that allows their team members to be effective and satisfied with their work while developing their full potential. Managers cannot build strong manager-employee relationships or expect productive work in an unsafe work environment.  Strong working relationships are grounded on a foundation of mutual trust and arise from the nature of the social and physical context within which people relate. Providing a safe working environment goes beyond the control of physical hazards and includes providing a workplace free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The safety legislative landscape in most developed countries is complex. The aim should be to design basic, simple and effective systems of work for the management of operational hazards and to embed safety requirements in the day-to-day people management processes such as selection, induction and development. This starts with clear accountabilities for safety. Without clear accountabilities people cannot be effective in their role.

While safety is the accountability of everyone, individual accountabilities depend on each person's role and level in the organisation. Not only that, these accountabilities are additive. Therefore a manager's accountabilities are made up of employee accountabilities plus manager accountabilities. If the manager is a manager of managers then they have the additional accountabilities of that role.

In addition to this other roles have corporate/specialist accountabilities for safety. For an organisation to provide a safe working all roles must do their part.

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Access member downloads for Provide a safe working environment including:

  • Employee accountabilities for safety
  • Manager accountabilities for safety
  • Manager of managers' accountabilities for safety
  • Corporate/safety specialist accountabilities for safety
  • Embedding safety requirements in the performance management sequence of work
  • Tools and resources - Sample measures for safety performance

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