Workplace safety is sometimes an afterthought or viewed as a burden to getting a meaningful job done. A strong safety culture isn’t always shown by a couple of dusty signs that warn employees about loud noises.
Regardless of where your team presently ranks on the scale, you can create a strong safety culture and affect significant change in your company and team. Creating a culture of safety in the workplace goes a long way toward transforming both workers’ and management’s mindsets and actions.
Creating a safety culture in the workplace entails including all workers in the safety and health program, providing them with the training and tools to recognize good and bad safety practices, and making them feel comfortable advocating for their own safety and the safety of others around them. Employees should believe they have the authority to improve safety in their workplace and throughout the facility.
Any safety and health program requires the active engagement of workers and their representatives. Employees are frequently the most knowledgeable about potential hazards related to their jobs, and they have the most to gain from a successful program as well as the most to lose if the program fails. Successful programs tap into this knowledge base and use it to advance the safety culture in the workplace.
All personnel on a jobsite, including managers, supervisors, operators, and those employed by contractors, subcontractors, and temporary labor agencies, should take part. If there is a union, employee representatives should also engage in the program.
Improving your company’s safety culture takes time. Building a safety culture takes a strong foundation, time, and a dedication to safety. A comprehensive safety and health program should contain the following components:
Encouragement, as well as participation in the program;
Willingness to report concerns about safety and health;
Access to safety and health information as well as education;
The absence of the fear of retaliation;
The ability to halt work that they believe is hazardous;
Encourage them to share their experiences.
Encouraging participation within your organization begins with effectively communicating safety rules. Once your employees understand the safety standards, they will be able to assist in the establishment, operation, evaluation, and improvement of the safety and health program. Team engagement may be enhanced by not just enhancing safety discussions between workers and management but also by demonstrating to workers how they can help keep each other safe.
Workers should feel at ease expressing feedback and reporting safety or health issues. Maintaining an open-door policy that enables workers to communicate with managers about safety and give suggestions is a smart way to do this. Communication among coworkers is equally crucial and should be encouraged!
Conversations among coworkers about potential problems may bring to light further risks that workers were unaware of or did not foresee. Establish a location in the plant where employees can report safety issues, near-misses, or ideas.
Workers can only fully participate in the program if they have access to the knowledge they need to engage effectively and have opportunities to participate in all phases of program design and implementation. Communicate with employees about positions on the site’s Safety Committee or inform them about the safety reporting lockbox so they are aware of the program’s prospects.
Post notices on bulletin boards or on the canteen’s televisions to promote worker awareness of these options. Workers should encourage one another to learn more about workplace safety problems and best practices so that they can better protect one another from hazards.
Supervisors should discuss risk assessments with workers on specific jobs so that workers are aware of the hazards and the safeguards in place to protect themselves and their coworkers. Workers who are aware of the hazards and controls can look out for one another if they notice someone conducting an unsafe act or if they just forgot to utilize their local exhaust ventilation or put on their chemical-resistant gloves.
All employees should have the authority to begin or request the temporary suspension or shutdown of any work activity or operation that they consider dangerous. Allowing your staff to come forward and inquire about probing risky circumstances is a smart practice, even if it may result in decreased production for that day, because they will know the most about what is and is not “normal” for a task. Employees should remind one another not to prioritize production over safety, regardless of the pressure or deadline.
Encourage employees to participate in all elements of the safety program, including reporting safety problems and proposing ideas to make a process safer, to strengthen your company’s safety culture. Make certain that staff have access to information such as risk assessments, how to report safety hazards, and how previously reported safety problems were addressed.
Management should make workers feel comfortable sharing safety concerns and should address them as soon as possible. Management should never retaliate against an employee who reports an injury or illness or raises a safety concern. Encourage staff to share their health and safety stories from previous experiences to empower them. The safety program will thrive and be sustained for years to come if these best practices for improving the safety culture are followed.