Creating a Safety Culture in the Workplace
You want a company where everyone feels secure and valued. When your company culture puts safety at a premium everyone wins. So how do you make this part of the fabric of your company culture? The following tips will help you establish an environment that promotes safety. Then the key is maintaining and fostering that attitude.
Establish safety standards. Carefully review your business and determine what your safety standards and protocol should be. It’ll be customized to focus on concerns that are significant for your workplace. It’s important that the standards are easy to understand and that everyone follows the rules, no exceptions. Having safety meetings and equipment demonstrations helps keep everyone up-to-date on what’s expected. Leading by example strengthens your commitment.
Create a method of measurement. Each business is different, so there are no set measurements of safety. This means you’ll have to look at your company carefully to establish your own metrics. Many businesses track incidents and injuries, shift the focus by reviewing how safety is reinforced after an event. Determine how your business can measure training, using established standards and good work practices.
Begin at the top. Good leaders can contribute to a healthy and happy work environment by setting clear expectations, providing helpful feedback, acknowledging good work and understanding concerns. This applies across the board! In order for safety to become part of your company culture, it needs to be rolled into your company’s leadership.
Talk safety. The more you talk about it the greater awareness is. Consider open forums for discussing safety successes and steps you can take to keep moving forward. If there is a concern, discuss this just as openly. Review ways any incidents could have been avoided and where the safety breach began.
Foster good relationships and trust. Everyone comes out on top when your company culture is one of trust. Fostering great relationships leads to open, honest communication and cooperation to achieve safety goals.
Encourage suggestions. Your employees know their job as well or better than you do. You can learn a lot by letting them express their ideas and considering their input. Whether their ideas work or not, you have a new perspective on their concerns. You’ve also opened the door and encouraged them to think about safety.
Blame-free zone. Make sure that everyone in your company feels comfortable admitting and reporting any errors or accidents. Mistakes happen and no one should be afraid to report an incident.
Act swiftly. If a hazard or safety concern is brought to your attention, do your part to correct it as fast as possible.
Ongoing training and education. Schedule regular safety meetings to discuss new procedures, policies or equipment. It’s also a good idea to go back and review equipment you use regularly, just to reinforce good habits. In addition, continue to encourage the safety-first attitude that will be the foundation of your company culture.
Define accountability. Just as all employees should know their job responsibilities and expectations, they should also be familiar with safety policies and procedures. By holding your employees accountable for following safety protocols, you encourage them to be proactive in workplace safety.
Use teamwork approach. If possible, use teams to keep safety measures on track. Assign safety teams with areas of focus and have them become the safety-gurus for their area. This fosters a shared sense of responsibility.
Reward safety. Set safety goals and reward your employees for reaching them. Make sure that safety success is celebrated.
When establishing a culture of any kind in the workplace, it’s key to see the big picture and think long-term. Company culture can’t be changed overnight and efforts have to be ongoing for real success. Acknowledge small improvements and be patient. Eventually you’ll create the safety culture you want.