Safety culture has become an increasingly hot topic as we have come to realize just how big an impact worker attitudes and behaviors have on safety incidents. Yet, the way your employees approach safety doesn’t come out of nowhere. You can create a positive safety culture from the top down. Here’s how.
Put Safety Culture First
The most significant way to promote safety is to always put it ahead of everything else. You need to effectively communicate to your team, over and over again, that priority deadlines and everything else takes a backseat to safety. If you are constantly leaning on employees to work faster, they may feel the need to take shortcuts, including those that could jeopardize safety.
Hold Everyone Accountable
An important key to safety culture is making everyone, from the CEO to the custodian, equally accountable for following safety procedures. If managers walk the floor without proper PPE, or safety violations go unmentioned until there’s an accident, you will never achieve the positive safety culture you need.
Involve the Workforce
Your front-line workers are the ones who truly know what’s happening on the floor. Ideas that sound great on paper may not work as well in practice. Open the lines of communication and encourage your staff to report violations and submit any ideas they have for improving safety procedures. Use plain language when discussing safety matters, and give everyone an equal opportunity to speak on the topic.
Encourage Safety-Related Work Stoppages
When a potential safety issue arises, work should stop immediately. The matter should be addressed in a calm, nonjudgmental way. Follow up with a debriefing session in which everyone involved has the opportunity to discuss what happened and ways of preventing similar issues in the future.
If employees are scared, they will get in trouble for stopping work, or that a safety issue exists at all, they are more likely to try to hide incidents. So, make it clear what the procedure is and empower all employees to initiate a stoppage routine when needed.
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