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GLAS Special: How managing safety can help your small horticulture business

From Donal Kearney, MSc Horticulture and Safety Consultant, and managing director of the Irish Institute of Sports Surfaces


Sports & Parks

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21 July 2022

Too often in horticulture, when we are asked to complete tasks for health and safety compliance we may comply simply out of legal obligation. Often forms and documents are solely compiled because of employer legislative requirements under Section 8 of the ‘Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005’. However, it is important to remember that when a foregoing approach to safety is taken by management, it can develop into a culture that lacks inspiration and takes the wrong approach to safety.

Every strong business knows the value of their employees. Investing in them grows and strengthens not just their abilities, but it helps business productivity to thrive. While workplace injuries can indeed be costly, those injuries also reverse your business’ productivity.

What’s more, investing in a safer workplace reduces workers compensation and that costs that incur from the recruiting and training of new staff.

Creating a better workplace

Strong health and safety management helps employers uncover the causes of the workplace risk factors. Worker behaviour and awareness are leading factors to create a better workplace all round when management take the lead to promote a safer culture.

Meanwhile, staff loyalty and morale grow and develop naturally when employers support staff training and provision of safety controls.

Staying compliant is a responsibility of everyone in the workplace as per Section 26 of the ‘Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005’ and so should be delivered to embrace and incorporate safety into each and every decision made in the workplace.

Safety awareness is the psychological determination of a worker’s ability, as well as their responsibility to avoid hazardous work conditions. Safety behaviour is the way a worker cooperates with policies and procedures.

Ultimately it makes real business sense for employers to invest and promote a positive safety culture which encourages both safety awareness and safety behaviours. A safe workplace brings a shared value that calls on everyone to take responsibility, and it also diminishes and eliminates a negative management style and transcends giving your company a cynical reputation.

The Irish Institute of Sport Surfaces is dedicated to promoting and implementing the professional development of people who maintain and manage sport surfaces in Ireland.

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