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How Does Your Team View Safety?

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on November 18, 2021 at 10:05 AM

Trying to decipher your employees’ attitudes toward safety can often be challenging, but it doesn’t have to. In reality, your employees are already telling you how they view safety. They tell you every single day they show up to work and complete their tasks.

All you have to do is learn how to listen.

So if you’re struggling to figure out how employees see safety, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.

Listen to Surface Barriers

People are known to resist change–a trait you’ve likely already encountered time and again when trying to change safety behaviors. This happens for any number of reasons. Maybe it’s habit. Maybe they don’t understand what they’re meant to do instead. Maybe they’re afraid of looking foolish.

But whatever the reason, it’s time to get to the bottom of these surface barriers.

The best way to do that is to sit down and talk to your employees. If you’re not sure they would open up in a chat, you can also opt for anonymous surveys, making sure to emphasize that they’re anonymous and honest feedback won’t negatively impact anyone’s job.

Get Behavior-Centric

Another way to tackle this problem is to stop thinking in terms of attitudes and start thinking in terms of behavior. Gartner uses the BEACONS model, a handy acronym to help you identify drivers of behavior, potential behavioral obstacles, and what you’re listening for.

There are three drivers of behavior in this model:

  1. Individual attitudes (Beliefs, Expectations, Alignment)
  2. Capability (Control, Opportunity)
  3. Social cues (Norms, Signals)

For example, if individual attitudes are the behavior driver and beliefs are the obstacle, you should be listening for what your employees believe they ought to be doing.

Mind the Gap Between Message and Action

Lastly, it’s important to consider that if there’s a gap between messaging and the actions employees later take, it might be worth considering that the message itself might be the problem.

If your gut protest is to wait, we send positive safety messages, stop and think about how you execute those messages. For example, a common issue that shapes how employees see safety is a safety-first message that’s driven by numbers. In other words, you measure safety performance based on accident numbers, not positive safety behavior.

To employees, this says that safety isn’t really what matters–what matters if having good safety numbers, so they’ll prioritize productivity and hide accidents to avoid punishment.

Your Tools to Figure Out How Employees See Safety

Figuring out how employees see health and safety involves a careful assessment of the finer details of your program. Sometimes, a program that looks strong may have underlying issues that are driving poor safety behavior.

Our safety management software makes it easy to look beyond the surface and make informed decisions for the good of your whole program, with powerful data analytics in one intuitive dashboard. So if you’re ready to invest in a safer workday, get in touch today to learn how our software can help.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Management, Safety Culture

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