Photo of Scrabble Board that reads out "Teamwork."

Workplace safety is dependent upon teamwork. This means solid communication, clear delegation of responsibilities, effective policies and procedures, and individuals who are committed to preventing risks and injuries. An unsafe workplace scares employees away, decreases productivity and is costly. But when your whole team is working together to ensure an environment where safety is a priority, each individual is then empowered to focus on their own responsibilities, boosting productivity and efficiency. Here’s how to make workplace safety a team effort this month.  

Encourage workplace safety communication 

Outside of formal meetings, make sure you’re fostering an environment where two-way communication is the norm. As a leader, talk up safety often, hold unsafe actions and behaviors accountable, reinforce safe behavior, and encourage your team to share information and give warnings. Let your employees know their input is valuable and allow them to share suggestions and ideas about making the workplace safer.

Prioritize workplace safety

Talk about safety every day and discuss new information, problems and solutions at team meetings so everyone’s on the same page. Each individual should understand how their actions might impact the health and well-being of the entire team. Sometimes people are reckless about their own safety, but they’re less likely to jeopardize the safety of a co-worker. And make your commitment to safety part of your corporate brand—your company seems more trustworthy this way, and job seekers will find you more attractive.

Provide the right equipment

We’ll talk about the proper training in a minute, but you must also make sure your employees have updated, properly functioning machines and tools as well as the right personal protective equipment (PPE). Delegate an individual or team to ensure that maintenance and safety checks on equipment are occurring regularly and make sure everyone knows how to properly wear the PPE and operate all tools and machines.

Facilitate learning

Keep your workforce informed about any changes in policies, procedures, materials, hazards, and so on. It’s hard to stay safe without all the proper information. Make sure people have the right training and certifications to perform the tasks required of them. Ignorance cannot be an excuse for an accident.

Incentivize safe actions

Give positive feedback for safe performance, and praise and reward effective problem solving and correction of unsafe behavior. And celebrate with the whole team when you reach safety milestones—one year with no accidents, for example. Ideally, safe behavior is occurring every day, but you shouldn’t take it for granted. Recognize it and celebrate it.

Encourage accountability

Emphasize how important it is for each person on your team to participate in your safety procedures and cooperate with safety policies. Everyone has something to contribute to a safer workplace. It’s everyone’s responsibility to detect hazards, solve problems, make safe decisions and prevent accidents. Hold people accountable when they don’t—a lack of accountability can infect your entire team.

For more tips on creating a safer workplace, check out our Workplace Safety blog category! 

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