A successful safety culture can save you millions – a culture of safety-minded employees will be actively participating in the creation, implementation, and monitoring of safety procedures in the workplace.
However, that looks much tidier on paper than it is to implement in the real complexities of a multi-faceted business. So, how do you create a safety culture that employees want to stand behind?
The goal is an autonomous responsibility for safety among all of your employees. Once that is accomplished, you’ve laid down the foundation for a successful, holistic safety culture that everyone is willing to stand behind, and tangible progress will show itself shortly after.
Here are 3 expert tips on how to get there:
1. Involve Employees in Creating Safety Programs & Practices
Safety programs are never universal solutions. Every single business operates differently, creating a unique spread of hazards depending on the varying functions, machinery, and purposes of the business. By allowing employees to directly influence the creation of their respective safety programs and procedures, you’re accomplishing two very important tasks:
For one, your employees will be imbued with a sense of responsibility and trust that can’t be replicated by any other method. By giving them direct input into the creation of their workplace’s safety program, you’re broadcasting a message that says “We care about you, trust and need your judgment, and understand that you have valuable input that no one else in the company can.”
Secondly, you’re immediately surpassing a tremendous amount of revising and editing for your safety programs by allowing direct input from the individuals who know best on what needs to be safeguarded. Instead of creating an all-encompassing safety program for your employees and then finding the faults along the way, employees will identify those faults immediately for you – allowing your program to kickstart with efficiency.
The best way to do this is through an Engagement-Based Safety (EBS) process. Stemming from the ideas of Behavior-Based Safety, EBS focuses on engaging front-line employees for maximum impact. This includes developing employees to conduct incident investigations, root cause analysis exercises, peer-to-peer observations and creating solutions for known exposures.
2. Involve Employees in External & Internal Audits
Routine safety audits are crucial in creating an effective safety culture within your organization by identifying weaknesses, strengths, and avenues of opportunity. Additionally, these audits provide a holistic overview of safety across the entire company. Employees should absolutely be involved in these audits – there is simply too much value associated with their input to ignore. By directly involving them in internal and external safety audits you’re further solidifying their sense of responsibility, ownership, and trust in the company. Plus, you will receive safety input that otherwise may have gone unnoticed by management, assisting with retention, training, and leadership development along the way.
One simple way to include employees in audits is through focus group sessions. This is particularly effective when the audit is conducted by a third party. During focus group sessions, employees can be encouraged to share thoughts openly without fear of repercussions from their superiors.
3. Create Direct Communication Channels With Employees
Safety programs will stagnate without continued and encouraged communication between management and their workers. Managers must walk the walk and talk the talk of safety at all times with their employees – normalizing the process and making it more comfortable for employees to readily speak up on matters of safety. This can be accomplished through regular communication between ground-floor workers and management, safety meetings, company forums, input drop-boxes, and even with rewarding incentives. Also, please consider a form of anonymous communication; not all employees are comfortable with extroverted practices and may be more ready to communicate under the comfort of anonymity.
Overall, promoting a safety culture that employees will stand behind can be simplified to involvement, trust, and communication. If you are ready to begin investing in the development of your company’s own safety culture, do not hesitate to reach out to us by phone at 630.759.9908 or by email at Info@Optimum-USA.com