The phrase “workplace culture” has become very popular recently. Yet, workplace culture is not just a buzzword. It is a term that encompases education, inclusion and safety. Instead of referring to your company’s specific safety strategy and program, safety culture is the way laborers, administrators, supervisors, and entrepreneurs think about and act toward safety at work. A wellness and safety program that works and is viable needs to have a strong safety culture.
You may find the notion of establishing or shifting your safety culture scary because the “way things are” at your workplace has settled into a trend of complacency. When people get too comfortable, unfortunate things can happen, like accidents, injuries, illnesses, or even death. Do not let this happen at your place of work. Here is how to create a proactive approach to safety at your workplace.
What is a Proactive Workplace Safety Culture?
Work safety culture is when everyone works together to make sure the office or worksite is free from any dangers, hygienic to be in, and a productive place to be.
This means that incidents are planned for and measures are taken to stop them from happening before they cause harm to anyone within the company. By taking responsibility for health and safety at work, your employees can keep themselves and others from getting hurt, or worse.
A safe working environment at work does not just happen. You have to take steps to gradually build it up over time and keep showing how important it is by establishing guidelines and continuing to follow through.
When thinking about your company’s safety culture at work, you should consider the following:
➔ Getting staff to adhere to safe work practices every day
➔ Make sure you have clear rules in place for dealing with work-related hazards.
➔ Supervisors and employees should be given continual safety training.
➔ Keep reminding people that risk mitigation is a joint responsibility.
➔ Give people ways to disclose unsafe workplace practices, even if they want to do it in private.
Tips for Creating a Proactive Worker Safety Culture
1. Provide Safety Training to Everyone
When building a culture of safety, it is important to give your workers the skills and resources they need to make good decisions. If they have never been trained on how to do a job right, they might not know the safest way to do it.
When employees do not get enough training and mentoring to do their jobs well, things go wrong. It is crucial to train new staff well and keep training long-term employees, particularly when they get added roles. Make it simple for employees to attend workshops by providing training during office hours. If meetings are only convenient after work or on weekends, pay the workers for their time.
If they have to work near equipment that moves, show them where to put their hands and how wobbly garments can get trapped in machinery. If they are using a hacksaw, show them how to hold their bodies and how to keep the instrument in good shape.
Let them know of industry best practices and standards, what to watch out for, and how they can ensure safety for not just themselves but also their colleagues. Training workshops are important to make sure your employees know what they need to know. Regular notifications and training sessions keep everybody on track. Putting up signs and labels in dangerous places can also help in avoiding accidents.
2. Implement a Health and Safety Program
Create a plan for safety and wellness to give your proposals a name. Alongside keeping workers protected, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), this should help your business avoid administrative costs associated with workplace accidents, such as time wasted as a result of slowdowns, medical expenses, absenteeism, and new staff training to replace injured workers, and damage or injury to materials, machinery, and property.
All over the world, employers have to follow different laws, and if they do not provide a safe place to work, they can get in trouble. You should know what your regulatory responsibilities are and start taking steps to make sure you meet all of them.
Also, when workers get sick or hurt at work and cannot do their jobs, even for a quick space of time, it can hurt team spirit, production efficiency, retention, and the public image of your company. When you have a safety policy in place, you show your employees that you want to address problems before they happen.
This also serves as a method for establishing confidence with workers and facilitating communication, and it often leads to other continuous improvements within the workplace as well.
What do you do, after all, when everybody understands the guidelines but some people still do not follow them?
The simple solution is to establish a formal policy stating responsibilities for workplace safety.
This is an important step in ensuring a safe work culture. If employees who break the firm’s safety rules on purpose do not face any repercussions, they have no reason to change their ways.
A safety personal responsibility policy spells out exactly what violations are, how serious they are, and what will be done about them. Then, all staff members must sign the policy to show that they understand it and agree with it. This ensures that employees understand the safety policy at your workplace.
3. Encourage Safety Conversations
Make safety the first thing you talk about at every meeting to show how important it is in the workplace.
Start the meeting by talking about recent accidents, events, or close calls. This will get everyone involved and help create a preemptive safety culture. By talking about safety as a team, you can see problems from different points of view and find their solutions more quickly. By talking about safety first, you show your employees how important it is and plant the concept of safe operations deep within the organizational culture.
Safety at the workplace is a collaborative effort, and it is important to involve everyone on the staff. One way to get employees involved is to develop a system for identifying risks that you can talk about in meetings. Inspire employees to find dangers in their workplace, fix them or let management know about them, write down what they discovered and also what they did to fix them, and convey this information to executives.
At the end of the week, give a prize to the person who made the best “catch.” This is a great way to get employees doing things to make their workplace safer. By rewarding people for safe practices, you can motivate them to do things the proper way and establish a proactive safety culture that they are fully invested in.
4. Inspect and Upgrade Equipment Regularly
Workers are kept safe with personal protective gear. It does not work, though, when it has started to wear out or is straight up broken. OSHA also recommends that employers set up a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) curriculum if their jobs require the workforce to use PPE. The program should cover how to choose, maintain, and use PPE, as well as any risks that might be present.
Staff members should also be trained on how to utilize protective gear appropriately, and the program should be constantly checked to make sure it works. This is essential because if PPE does not fit right, workers could be exposed to potential hazards on the job site. It is important to set up a strict routine for all PPE to also be carefully checked and, if needed, replaced. Workers should also check every item before using it to make sure it is safe and in good condition.
5. Use a Top-Down Approach
For workplace safety to be an important tenet of an organization’s culture, everybody from the executive level to the middle management to factory floor workers needs to support it. All levels of leadership must talk about and show how important safety at work is.
When there are discrepancies observed between the words and actions of leaders regarding their safety obligations, it can be hard to get staff members to follow safety rules. It cannot just come from the people in charge of safety at the company; it has to start coming from the individual who authorizes their time card every day to check in at the office. When managers communicate effectively and also do what they say, things start to move for the better within the company. In other words, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Safely!
The Bottom Line
Building a culture of safety at work is one of the best investments any business can make.
When employees feel safe, they are happier, and when workers are satisfied, they strive harder to help the company reach its goals. By taking these steps to establish a safety culture, you are well on your path to making your workplace safer and taking your company to a new level of safety culture at the workplace.
Need help in building your own safety culture at work?
You can find the right tools for assessing job hazards with Field1st, and reduce risks that may impact your business. We offer a complete suite of occupational safety defense training and software solutions that ensure public and employee safety and improve business performance.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help, or request a demo!