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Approaches to health and safety in the workplace are as many and varied as the safety issues your workplace may encounter. After all, workplaces are diverse, and they need to find a safety approach that works for their needs.
However, the best approaches to safety in the workplace have two key features in common: they’re proactive and they’re positive.
What does that mean for your workplace, and how can you ensure your workplace cultivates these attributes? Let’s take a closer look.
First and foremost, a good approach to health & safety in the workplace is proactive. You think about safety before an incident arises, not as a means of reacting to a workplace accident or incident but as a means of stopping an incident from happening in the first place.
Proactive and reactive health & safety management both have their place, but if you’re interested in a truly safe work environment, proactivity needs to take a front seat.
If you only think of safety after an incident happens, you’re essentially calling a lawyer after the police have already knocked on the door. In other words, you’re dealing with the issue after the issue has already happened, which means the only thing you can do is put out fires. This approach relies on extremely faulty logic: the prayer and crossed fingers that an incident won’t happen.
It’s easy to talk about safety in negative terms. After all, when your job focuses on injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, it’s easy to get caught up in these negative numbers – how many accidents you had, mistakes that were made, ways you could have prevented it but didn’t.
However, a truly safe workplace understands that health & safety in the workplace is a positive experience, emphasizing the positive elements of safety and taking a positive approach.
The positive elements of safety include positive outcomes, such as improved worker morale, greater employee engagement, and improved productivity. On a broader scale, a positive approach to safety emphasizes safety as a core value. In other words, safety is something that underlies everything you do, not just because it prevents negative outcomes but because it creates positive health outcomes for the whole workplace.
That’s why a positive approach to health & safety in the workplace tends to put the focus where it matters most: people. Safety is your opportunity for employees to take care of each other, and a positive safety culture encourages employees to take pride in looking out for each other and making sure their colleagues can go home safe and sound every day.
As an EHS professional, you know health & safety in the workplace isn’t a destination but a journey, and it takes a lot of work to stay on the road to success. To borrow from an old saying, it takes twenty years to build something good and ten seconds to tear it down.
Because of this, a strong workplace safety culture, one that is truly positive and proactive, requires a commitment to keep on learning. Make sure to check out our blog for more great posts to guide your safety culture journey, like these unexpected consequences of setting a poor health and safety example.
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