Every workplace safety program involves training programs where employees learn how to stay safe on the job, but truly educating should involve building a culture that puts safety first.
Based on hard work, cooperation and vigilance at all levels of a company, a culture of safety is the shared attitude to uphold in the workplace. This kind of culture isn’t just about safety policies and training. It’s about the way people throughout a company address safety issues when they appear.
Like any corporate culture, a good safety culture starts at the top. Company leaders should ask themselves how well they pay attention to staff member safety concerns. They should also consider if the company’s workforce is acting as a partner. All workplace cultures are two-way streets, especially given the fact that social media and employer review sites can let the world know about a “my way or the highway” organization.
Collaboration and transparency are the building blocks of a solid workplace culture. The best policies in the world will be less effective if management doesn’t engage employees in an effort to keep them safe.
Below are a few tips on how your company can establish and maintain a strong workplace safety culture.
Remove Blame from Your Safety Vocabulary
The desire to assign blame can have a toxic effect on an organization’s safety culture. If employees are reluctant to report something unsafe because they are worried about assigning blame to someone (and possible retribution), then countless safety issues will go unreported.
Rather than focusing on blame, your company should aim to be forward-looking in its approach. The emphasis should be on changes that should be made to prevent accidents, instead of finding mistakes.
Maintain a Proactive Footing
Businesses with robust safety cultures aren’t reactive. For them, safety is a daily activity and something that everyone thinks about as a regular responsibility.
Unfortunately, many leaders get too focused on reacting to safety metrics. While metrics have a role to play in your safety culture, your focus should be on improving metrics whenever and wherever possible. Look for root causes, hidden issues and getting rid of problems before they appear.
Proactively engaging employees on safety issues is another good approach. For instance, an incentivized “Good Catch” program can encourage employees to spot safety issues before they cause accidents.
Maintain Strong Employee-Management Relations
Solid relationships are the foundation of any enduring safety culture. If your staff members don’t think they can have honest discussions with leadership, they won’t feel comfortable bringing issues forward.
Fortunately, good leadership practices and solid relationships go hand-in-hand. Recognize employees who put in extra effort in trying to make the workplace safe. Listen actively to concerns and address them where possible. Ask for feedback on your own effectiveness with respect to safety.
Let Us Be Your Partner in Safety
At NSC, we work hand-in-glove with our clients to ensure our contract workers are working as safely as possible. Please contact us today to find out how we can work together to create a highly productive and safe working environment.