When it comes to addressing workplace safety, a lot of focus can be on compliance – making sure the organization doesn’t run afoul of government regulators.
It’s also important to ensure the safety concerns of employees are being addressed. Employees are usually on the front lines when it comes to workplace hazards and have more in-depth knowledge.
Engaging employees on safety issues allows you to take a more granular approach. Below are a few suggestions on how you can discuss and address the safety concerns of your team.
A robust training program should be your foundation for engaging employees on safety. Training is explicitly required per OSHA standards, but compliance isn’t the only reason to do it. Staff members are more likely to abide by safety programs if they are properly trained, as training helps to put rules on paper into practice.
Training is essential for showing staff members how and when to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Employees should know how to inspect PPE for damage and maintain it. Showing staff members the correct procedures using real equipment is far more effective than any instructional video.
It is also important to continuously assessing a safety training program’s effectiveness. This can be done by testing employees’ knowledge, observing practices and tracking accident statistics. If you see shortcomings, remedial training might be necessary. Staff members should receive safety training ahead of using new equipment or new procedures.
Have Clear Policies
If your staff members don’t understand what’s expected of them, it’s hard to fault them for making errors.
Your policies have to be consistent and easy to understand. Any disciplinary actions should not have a chilling effect with regard to reporting injuries and safety hazards. Instead, they ought to be concentrated on correcting negligent or cynical behaviors, not bad outcomes like accidents or near misses.
Talk to Employees
A robust safety system maintains open communication between staff members and management. If you only confront safety through one-way communication, staff members will be much less likely to raise legitimate safety-related concerns. Perhaps PPE isn’t being worn because it’s uncomfortable or it seriously limits their ability to get work done. Hearing these concerns yields a better program based on worker insights.
In addition to having a more comprehensive approach to safety, two-way communication will lead to a better connection with employees. Also, involve employees in safety decisions where possible, such as the purchasing choices for PPE. If your employees have a hand decision making, they’re more prone to buy into the program and its many rules.
Manager buy-in is vital to employee safety. Managers have a massive influence on how staff members understand safety policies in the workplace. If they don’t comply or don’t take safety measures seriously, their workers will follow the example set for them.
Ensure managers understand the reasons behind the safety program and the implications of not taking it seriously, which can include fines from regulators, injury, illness and even death.
We Can Be Your Company’s Safety Partner
At NSC, we work with our clients to ensure our workers remain safe, healthy and compliant. Please contact us today to find how we can be your company’s partner in safety.