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Health and safety at work is, ultimately, the requirement of the employer. That being said, effective health and safety programs need to be supported not just by managers and supervisors but also by workers as well. Safety rules are, after all, put in place primarily to protect these workers from harm.
So what can employees do to promote workplace safety? Thankfully, there are a number of ways that workers can become engaged and involved in creating a culture of safety in your company. Motivating your workers to do so requires some concerted effort on the part of management, though; here are some ways that you can help employees become fully involved in workplace safety.
First and foremost, business owners cannot expect workers to sign on to a safety program without being both invited and encouraged to be part of the process. This can be accomplished by ensuring workers have time set aside to participate in safety program activities, such as meeting with management and discussing safety rules and regulations as they are drafted and implemented. Workers that feel as they are a welcome and valued part of the process become much more invested in workplace safety than those that are locked out of the process.
Many workers feel that bringing their health and safety concerns to management is a risky proposition. Aside from fears of simply being ignored, there are also often fears of retaliation for reporting safety issues. As a result, many potential accidents waiting to happen never get reported. To avoid this, business owners have to stress that workers are the first line of defense against workplace injury and that reporting possible safety concerns is the best way to keep employees from getting hurt and for companies to stay productive. This builds confidence in the process and in the role that employees can take in keeping workplaces safer.
Since workers are those that will be coming into the closest contact with safety rules, it’s imperative to include worker input throughout the entirety of designing and implementing a safety program. Doing so will improve the ability of your program to identify workplace hazards, discover their causes, and create a sense of ownership among workers. This also ensures workers understand how the program is designed to work, which helps with employee dedication to both the letter and the spirit of your safety program.
Remember: your employees are an invaluable resource, and not just when it comes to getting work done. Ensuring that your workers feel like they are valued, recognized, and welcomed when it comes to participation in both the design and the implementation of your health and safety program will lead to better follow-through on their part. This, in turn, ensures your company will have higher overall safety levels as a result.
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