One of the greatest challenges for safety professionals is getting workers and management to “buy into” the notion of workplace safety.
While it isn’t hard for safety professionals to explain safety practices and the reasons behind them, it is much more difficult to get both groups to comply. Some managers may feel that business demands are more important than upholding safety standards, while employees may take their lead from the least safety-conscious managers.
These groups can easily be convinced to buy into safety standards, safety professionals simply have to understand what motives each group.
Manager motivations for working safely
The tone of any organization is set at the top. Middle managers take their cue from upper management and employees take their cues from both groups. First and foremost, it is critical for top management to buy into company safety standards. They the top of an organization doesn’t buy in and uphold safety standards, any safety efforts beneath them will be rendered much less effective.
Managers of all levels are motivated by performance and showing them the positive impacts of good safety habits is an effective way to get them on board. Research has shown accidents have significant direct and indirect costs. Showing this research to management should make it clear that safety practices don’t hamper production, they enable it.
Managers are also motivated by the chance to mentor and coach their employees. When a company supports its managers gaining more safety knowledge by having them attend external workshops and seminars, it enables these managers to them go an disseminate what they have learned to their staff members.
Worker motivations for working safely
It is critical to get workers supporting your company’s safety plan because they are the ones most directly impacted by safety issues, while they come across possible safety and health hazards every day.
Most importantly, employees should know that working safely is a part of their job duties and not doing so could be grounds for disciplinary action or even termination. While this should be the sole reason an employee works safely, it is a major motivator since employees likely want to keep their job.
It is also essential to provide thorough and proper training. Employees are motivated to show off their knowledge and one way they can do that is by giving them a wealth of safety knowledge. Safety training should be part of initial on-boarding and occur on a regular basis.
One of the most effective ways to motivate employees to work safely is by creating a culture of workplace safety. People want to belong to a group and when everyone in your group works safely, there’s inherent peer pressure to also work safely. Many companies create a culture of workplace safety by involving employees in safety-related decisions, taking in employee feedback and holding safety awareness events that makes safety concerns approachable and part of everyone’s collective common sense.
At NSC Technologies, we support all of the safety initiatives of our clients. If your company is currently in need of a staffing partner, please contact us today.