Safety First: How to Improve Safety Culture in the Workplace
Managing safety culture within a company is an absolute imperative in the 21st century. Regulators are continuously advocating stronger work-related safety policies, and not without a good reason: according to the newest report by the Safe Work Australia, solely in 2016 – there was total of 182 fatalities caused by an injury on work. The key lies in preventing accidents, however – using the right equipment and following procedures is just a piece of the puzzle. Wondering how you can improve the safety culture within your workplace? Here are a couple ideas.
Encourage the Dialogue About Safety
When discussing safety culture, it’s essential to underline that the rules apply to everyone from the CEO to the production floor. Every single employee must be well educated about safety. Organize bi-weekly or monthly meetings to talk about safety in the workplace and make sure you clearly communicate how safety is a shared responsibility of all departments, regardless of employee’s current job position. Naturally, managers and supervisors are leaders when it comes to promoting positive change and decision-making. However, defining a process that will hold everyone accountable in case they have been visibly involved – helps with spreading awareness about the importance of unanimously taking care of office safety.
Provide Education and Training
Once you define policies, goals, and plans for your company’s safety culture, it’s important to educate employees about it. Crafting well-instructed manuals is a good idea so that all employees can learn how to detect and report potential hazards. In addition to equipping your workers with necessary information and providing resources, you may also want to consider providing proper first aid courses/CPR training, so they learn how to help themselves and others in emergency cases and accidents. Also, regular fire drills and other real-life simulations can put employees’ gained knowledge to the test and help them acquire valuable skills in case of any misfortunes. Needless to say, you need to make sure your company building has clearly marked emergency exits, as well as smoke alarms, in accordance with the law.
React Promptly to Improve Safety Conditions
Worksites hide many health hazards: just take slips and falls for an example, as the most common reasons behind injuries. Is your workplace clean and organized, or is it cluttered with boxes and stretching cords? And what about your office floor – is it perhaps made out of marble? Those can get pretty slippery. The moment you pin down all the possible hazards, start securing. Declutter your working space, organize the cords, safeguard electricity, invest in slip-resistant flooring surfaces. If you don’t have an in-house safety officer, turn to outsourcing and hire an expert. Professionals will inspect the exterior and interior work areas and suggest the needed safety upgrades.
Reward Workers Who Promote Safety
One of the major reasons why many companies struggle with implementing safety strategy and buzzing the interest about it, is the fact employees often find the safety topic uninteresting. They may see education and training as a necessary evil, i.e. a formality that has to be followed through. This is why motivating them on a different level might be a good idea. Establish a rewarding system for those who showed initiative or promoted safety at work. By doing so, you are not only showing recognition and appreciation but also giving an additional, more tangible reason to your workers to get involved. Of course, don’t forget to set a positive example by showcasing your own responsible behavior. That will create a stronger connection between different organizational levels and trigger a feeling that all business teams have a common, important cause.
When it comes to safety issues, most people think about heavy machinery or manual labour. However, ensuring great safety culture is mandatory, no matter what industry you operate in. To improve it, focus on the people themselves and build meaningful relationships with them. Remember to measure and evaluate your progress, promote open communication, and always have a plan B in case of emergencies.