Talk the Talk

Key Themes

  • What a safety culture is, how it is measured and why it matters
  • Attitudes and behaviours
  • Complacency
  • Responsibility for driving a safety culture

Target Audience

Managers, Supervisors, Operatives.


Despite seeing a neurosurgeon as a result of a fall at work, Alex still spends the following day explaining to his younger, less experienced colleague, Tom, why Health and Safety is a waste of time. Alex has been doing the job for enough years now and feels he doesn’t need a few pieces of paper to tell him he’s doing it right; and Tom doesn’t feel in a position to challenge that attitude. Unfortunately, the very next day, a situation develops which could have dire consequences not only for Alex, but also everyone who works around him. This workshop examines attitudes towards Health & Safety, and discusses the idea that everyone needs to take personal respon-sibility for driving a safety culture.


Alex: It would help if we didn’t have to read this rubbish or fill in a bloody form every time you want to scratch your backside.

Tom: How do you mean?

Alex: All these risk assessments and method statements; the RAMS. I know where I’d ram ‘em. They’re a waste of time.

Tom: We can’t do jobs without them though can we?

Alex: ‘Course we can, and we’d do them quicker too. All that paperwork? Arse covering for the insurance. There never used to be all that; we’d just get told what needed doing and we’d get on with it. No toolbox talks, no permits to work; just a bunch of blokes doing a day’s graft. And don’t get me started on PPE!

Tom: What’s wrong with PPE?

Alex: Goggles that steam up, ear plugs that don’t stay in, and gloves with fingers so fat you can hardly pick up a hammer, never mind a screw!

Tom: Yeah, but…

Alex: Don’t get me wrong, I think hi-vis, hard hats and boots are alright, when they fit, but the rest? For show, most of it, in my opinion.

Tom: But you always tell Dave that you’ve done everything and it’s all been properly assessed and that.

Alex: Because that’s what he wants to hear. You’ve got to talk the talk mate. Nobody reads the method statements Tom, most of them are a hundred pages thick! And risk assessments? If anyone ever asks for one I’ll tell them it’s downstairs in the van and I’ll get it to them later.