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You’ve got a book of safety procedures that would do the OSH Act proud. You’ve got an EHS team that would impress even the toughest safety inspector.
Now, you just need to get your employees to follow the rules.
How do you get employees to comply with safety procedures? And how do you make it stick? Here are a few ideas employers should keep in mind–it’s simpler than you think.
First, keep it positive, not punitive. And if that won an eye roll from your entire EHS team, stop and think about it for a minute.
You can harp until you’re blue in the face about this being a requirement under workplace safety law. You can even show employees the law. The problem is that employees don’t relate to that.
However, they do relate to the idea of something being done to protect them and take care of them. When you rephrase it, it’s not just about having to do this to check a box for OSHA. It’s about taking care of your employees and investing in their success.
And when something goes wrong, safety should always be reinforced this way. It’s never about punishing someone. It’s about protecting everyone.
On a related note, always help your employees understand the why. In other words, don’t just harp on the language of the law–explain why the policy is in place to protect them. Don’t just tell them it’s the rules. Explain the deeper reasoning.
If employees perceive that something is superfluous to their everyday responsibilities, they won’t pay attention to it. But if you show them why a policy is part of doing their job correctly and explain the reasoning, they’re more likely to agree with it.
Last but not least, don’t forget that there are times when managers, not employees, are the problem. If managers aren’t compliant, employees won’t be either.
Let’s say you have a rule that everyone has to wear protective glasses in a certain area. And let’s say that managers never wear glasses when passing through, even though all employees are held to that standard. The message isn’t safety first, but rather safety as a performance.
On the other hand, if managers take the time to put on safety glasses no matter how briefly they pass through that area, it’s a clear signal that everyone is held to the same standard and safety comes before convenience.
How do you get employees to comply with safety procedures? Unfortunately, employee compliance is a journey, not a destination. You have to reinforce positive messages over and over again to ensure employees take home the right idea.
Having the right tools makes all the difference. Like our safety management software, which makes it easy to see essential safety data so that you can make the right decisions at the right moment. Get in touch today to learn more about how our software can strengthen safety in your organization.
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