The word ‘hero’ conjures up images of caped crusaders, legendary leaders and inspiring sportspeople. But heroic acts happen in every workplace, every day.

A commitment to health and safety fuels best practice, protects your team and, ultimately, saves lives. While you’re striving for daily safety excellence, you’re also creating a culture of compliance and making your business a better place. No small task.

Here are five top tips to make your role as safety champion as little less challenging. H&S heroes, we salute you.

  1. Get qualified

Whether compliance has always been your calling or your safety remit has ramped up over time, qualifications will give you the credibility needed to bring others on board. The journey from zero to hero takes effort, so request appropriate training to understand the law and how it applies to your business. Join trade bodies to build your sector experience and get first-hand experience of good industry practice. Learn from the mistakes of other companies via news updates on prosecutions. And boost your credentials by maintaining your CPD accreditation and joining the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

  1. Lead by example

This one’s simple – practice what you preach. Whatever your role or level, be prepared to follow the rules you’re setting. If staff are forbidden to take calls in the warehouse or cross the yard without a hi-vis vest, you need to follow suit. Take deliberate health and safety infringements seriously by consistently following disciplinary procedures and ensure that turning a blind eye doesn’t become business as usual.

  1. Reward good practice

While it’s essential to stamp out safety breaches, it’s also vital to celebrate examples of good practice. Set and share a vision for the safety standard of your company and reinforce it by rewarding staff who follow your lead. Whether it’s a casual shout-out or a quarterly ‘Health and Safety Hero’ scheme, regularly recognise staff for their contribution to the safety of your company. Heroes make people feel good about the good they are doing.

  1. Involve and engage the team

Once you set your safety goals, consult with your team on how to achieve them. Ask for their opinion on potential safety improvements and the practical steps needed to implement and maintain them. Make sure each worker understands their own role in attaining team and company objectives – and bringing your shared vision to life.

  1. Learn from failure

Be realistic. Accidents are going to happen and people are going to make mistakes, both individually and collectively. Take the hero’s approach and create an environment that encourages accident and incident reporting. Most importantly, transform setbacks into learning opportunities and move forward by making safety improvements to standard working practices. Chances are, the errors won’t repeat themselves and your team will take an active part in positive change.