My Twitter Feed

January 18, 2018

Latest:

Young Gardeners of the Year 2018 competition launches -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Two weeks left to share views on plans for Bristol’s parks -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Carillion’s liquidation and its effect on the landscaping industry -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Perennial offers support following Carillion collapse -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Brighton & Hove City Council produces plan to protect Stanmer Park’s woods -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Liverpool sets out 15-year plan for growth -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gristwood and Toms champions international accreditation programme -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Green-tree launches bespoke soil for Rain Gardens -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Make your voice heard – Pro Landscaper digital survey -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Landscaping companies announced for APL Avenue at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2018 -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Butter Wakefield to design Gaze Burvill garden at RHS Chelsea 2018 -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

North Yorkshire nursery helps restore historic site to former glories -

Monday, January 15, 2018

RHS begins search for School Gardeners of the Year -

Monday, January 15, 2018

Thrive seeking more people as volunteering in nature proven to be good for health -

Monday, January 15, 2018

INNSA responds to glyphosate licence renewal -

Monday, January 15, 2018

BASIS launches new Lawn Assured Standard -

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Funding agreed for Marwood Community Hall project -

Saturday, January 13, 2018

University secures planning approval for student centre and new civic space -

Friday, January 12, 2018

Först to showcase new lightweight petrol woodchipper at EHS -

Friday, January 12, 2018

A556 ‘green bridge’ is winter wonderland -

Friday, January 12, 2018

Tim Howell discusses how and why employees’ health and safety knowledge should be regularly refreshed

There is a wide-ranging campaign to encourage more people to enter the landscape and horticultural sector, which already employs over 170,000 people in the UK. Our sector is under pressure; the recruitment pool is reducing in size and the impacts of Brexit are still unknown. Not enough people are joining our industry, and it lacks the diversity that it needs to thrive. The labour market is increasingly flexible, transient and in some cases driven by small increases above the living wage levels.

I spend a lot of my time reflecting on how our workplace can be made more attractive to people. Increasing its value to allow better wages and rewards will help, but for people to thrive they need to work somewhere with long-term job security, where they can develop their career and have a safe working environment where their wellbeing is highly valued.

How often do management or recruiters add safety considerations into the role description? How often do we commit to keeping our people safe when ‘selling’ ourselves to prospective employees? That’s something the industry can do better, to take advantage of the therapeutic perception that many people have about what we do.

So, are our recruitment challenges and lack of diversity due to safety or wellbeing concerns?

Back in 1992 I remember the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation coming in, which meant that employers had specific duties towards the wellbeing and safety of their employees. The regulations changed the way we manage our workplace. It made the provision of personal protective equipment, training, maintenance and checking of equipment mandatory. It changed the way we work for the better. The role of HSE Manager was created in many of our businesses and they were tasked to produce documented safe-working practices; this was not an easy transition for me to accept, yet now it forms a part of my daily routine.

These regulations were significant in our industry because they gave prescriptive, legislative instruction on how we should be managing our health and safety within the workplace. Even though we were managing the safety aspect under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, the new regulations were much more precise and comprehensive.

It’s so important to keep safety messages fresh and up to date. I often use the analogy of airline safety messages: at worst the stewards deliver a half-hearted message that hasn’t changed for decades, at best airlines are innovative with the way they deliver the message; you can guarantee these messages are the ones you remember.

Similarly, where I cycle in the South Downs, I see close-up the lack of investment in safety messages on our roads. On one particularly dangerous corner; previous investment in non-slip, coloured tarmac has eroded and been patched over a ‘SLOW’ message that now reads ‘OW’, which seems somewhat appropriate.

At Mitie, we keep the messages alive through regular training and update sessions, annual training events and specific safety campaigns. We use both print and video media, often featuring individuals who have been involved in an incident, to relay their story. We also introduce annual innovations, which require something to be physically handed to an employee, so that they remember the message. We operate with a simple strapline of, ‘if it’s not safe, don’t do it’.

My message is consistent: We should collaborate, share data and best practice to reduce the most common causes of injury and lost time. Our industry needs to be seen as an exciting, safe career that attracts great people, who will continue to strengthen its value for many years to come.

Comments are closed.