You know that you want to build a workplace safety culture. As a safety manager, it’s not just a personal value – it’s part of your job.
But safety is about more than just dealing with incidents. It’s about recognizing the small ways that unsafe work practices can build up over time to turn into a serious problem. That’s why it’s important to have workplace safety strategies in your back pocket to deal with the everyday risks. Here are four to keep on hand.
Come to Terms with Reality
First, it might sound obvious, but you, your colleagues, and your employees need to come to terms with reality.
Put another way, you need to address complacency in your workplace.
Your employees know the risks that they face every single day. They’ve been trained to handle them and so have you. Because of this, it’s easy to think that a safety hazard won’t happen, or that one case of playing hard and fast with safety guidelines and rules won’t end poorly.
You have to come to terms with reality. The truth is, most employees don’t think that a workplace accident could possibly happen to them – until it does.
We’re not saying to create a culture of fear. We’re saying that an attitude of exceptionalism is a huge safety risk in its own right.
Establish Equitable Accountability Practices
To that end, you need to establish and maintain equitable accountability practices. The goals here are layered.
- First, setting goals and making them broadly visible is a sign of confidence on the part of the safety leadership team. It’s also a sign of trust in employees to do the right thing.
- Second, it shows employees that they have a role in keeping everyone safe, and that they’ll be held responsible for playing their part.
- Third, if you’re doing it right, it’s an equalizer between employees and management. It won’t make you popular, but if you want to truly establish trust and boost engagement, you need to hold every single person, from the most junior intern to the CEO, to exactly the same standard.
This shows employees that you care more about keeping them safe than you care about protecting your job. And that makes employees more inclined to trust you.
Think Global, Act Local
But whatever you do, don’t forget to think global and act local. Put another way, keep your eye on the big picture while attending to the small details that make the big picture possible.
For example, if your company is trying to come up with innovative ways to be environmentally friendly, you have to remember that employees are the ones making that goal possible. Make sure to work with them to establish new practices and ask what would be most effective.
Recognize Success and Use it to Motivate
Finally, make sure to actively recognize success when you see it, and use it as a way to motivate others. To achieve a goal is one thing. To be recognized and rewarded for it is another, especially when it comes to safety.
Think of the safety procedures you have to implement that might slow the process down, like always unplugging and putting tools away when you break for lunch. Many employees think the same thing: it’s a waste of time.
How do you get employees to do it? Reward those that are keeping their colleagues safe.
Need More Workplace Safety Strategies?
Keep in mind that these are just a few workplace safety strategies to try. If you’re truly dedicated to making your workplace stronger, you have to be committed to constant learning. Visit the EHS Insight Blog for more workplace safety best practices.