Workplace health and safety leadership

Reviewed by Jeremy Kestenberg, Chief Growth Officer

Businesses often refer to safety culture in the workplace, but often people are not quite sure what it entails, or how to create a safe and healthy working environment. Safety culture refers to ‘how we do things around here’, even when no one is looking. All behaviours must reflect how people think: their assumptions, beliefs and attitudes. In a strong safety culture, everyone has a shared safety mindset and works together to achieve common goals1.

What is workplace health and safety leadership, and why is it important?

What is workplace health and safety leadership?

Safety leadership means influencing others to embrace health and safety as a crucial work goal. Because safety is often a challenge for small and large businesses, electing a workplace health and safety leader is a positive way to develop leadership and inspire workers to do their best work in the safest environment.

Why is workplace health and safety leadership important?

Workplace health and safety leadership is crucial because when safety is taken seriously at work, it encourages proactive behaviours where workers comply with safety standards, and therefore feel safe at work (and equipped to do the tasks at hand). When team leaders, supervisors, managers, and executives lead by example, this helps build employees’ safety knowledge, as well as motivate them to bring their best selves to the job.

What are the benefits of having a workplace health and safety leader?

Improved worker health

Studies show that leadership has a significant impact on employee physical and psychological health2. Some forms of leadership have been positively associated with mental wellbeing, stress, depression and even quality of sleep.

Better safety outcomes

Employee physical and mental health can be compromised due to poor leadership. When it comes to safety-specific outcomes, it has been demonstrated that leadership generally leads to better safety climates, and practices, and fewer occupational injuries.

More motivation, more often

It’s important to elect a compassionate workplace health and safety leader with a motivational attitude, who always champions the health and safety first mentality.

An education-first approach

Aside from inspiring others, a dedicated workplace health and safety leader can educate employees and help them to learn and grow, thereby increasing staff satisfaction, morale, engagement, and staff retention.

What makes a successful workplace health and safety leader?

A successful health and safety leader embodies a variety of traits. These traits include, but are not limited to:


A leader who is actively involved in the business, who encourages and influences employees to participate in safety education and measures, will help to foster a positive culture around safety, which will in turn result in improved worker safety behaviours.


A successful leader in any sector generally has a great deal of compassion, as well as emotional intelligence to help their workers navigate personal and work-based challenges as they come up.


An open line of communication is vital to foster a safe workplace. This may mean meeting with employees on a regular basis to talk about new safety initiatives or current safety issues and being able to clearly communicate goals, issues, and solutions. Talking to workers and involving them in workplace health and safety discussions helps leaders to make better decisions, reduces illness, injuries and deaths at work and helps to develop a healthy, safe, and productive workplace culture.


The best leaders have a vision for the future – they know where they want to go, and how to get there. They include and brief their employees, who know exactly what is expected of them and how to reach their own personal goals.

How can Bodycare help your business meet workplace safety goals?

When safety is taken seriously, it encourages employees to better comply with safety measures and empowers them to do their jobs to the best of their ability following established health and safety practices. Electing a workplace health and safety leader has been shown to lead to better workplace outcomes. The leaders have a vital influence on employees by creating meaningful engagement and participation. Not only are these roles designed to drive change, but they demonstrate the care they have for their peers and for creating more productive workplaces3.

At Bodycare, we believe that education and health and safety training are imperative when it comes to creating a safety-first culture in an organisation. We believe that a just, proactive, and informed culture needs to be embedded within a business and needs to be continuously enforced from the top down. We believe in a proactive, no-blame approach to health and safety.

Our highly skilled team can work with you to build health and safety solutions that align with your business’ values and goals, from the ground up. We can also help with navigating the complex and dynamic legislative frameworks to ensure your business remains compliant. Contact us today to learn more.



1 Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

2 National Library of Medicine

3 Beehive