In any workplace, there are inherent risks and dangers that come along with performing one’s job on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in organizations without a pronounced and positive safety culture, serious accidents and injuries are far more likely to occur. When was the last time your organization reflected on your existing workplace safety culture to ensure that it is truly supporting your employees’ safety and well-being? If it’s been awhile or if your company safety managers have never established and implemented a specific plan for a positive workplace safety culture, now is the time to make this happen.
Specifically, a positive safety culture in the workplace refers to one that reflects the sheer importance of on-the-job safety. Ideally, your company’s values and beliefs as they relate to workplace safety should be strongly and positively reflected in the way you do business and the way your employees perform their jobs. Of course, developing a plan to create a positive safety culture can be easier said than done. Fortunately, there are some tips that all workplace safety managers can implement to work towards a more positive culture of safety across any industry.
As tempting as it may be to leave the development of safety culture values and attitudes to your organization’s safety manager, HR department, or other decision-makers, it’s important to be as inclusive as possible. By involving employees at all levels in the process of creating and maintaining workplace safety culture, it is possible to get everyone feeling invested. This means taking time to ask workers for feedback on certain safety rules and procedures—and taking that feedback seriously. Not to mention, you will likely find that some of the best ideas for maintaining a positive safety culture come directly from your everyday workers.
One of the most important components of any positive safety culture is that of ongoing, effective training. When was the last time you revisited your organizational safety training to make sure it’s really making a difference? If your idea of safety training is holding a monthly lecture, for example, there’s a good chance your workers aren’t actually retaining most of the information they’re being exposed to. Take some time to really analyze your current safety training and brainstorm methods to enhance its effectiveness, such as transitioning to microlearning modules and interval reinforcement. When you focus your efforts on training employees the right way, this reflects that you truly value and are committed to the safety of your workers.
If an employee has a question about a safety policy, how easy would it be for him or her to find the answer? If an employee needs to jump through hoops to obtain important safety reference materials, this does not reflect that your organization values worker safety by any stretch of the imagination. As part of your effort to create and maintain a more positive safety culture, then, it’s a good idea to make sure all your safety training materials are easily and readily accessible to your workers at all times. Ideally, they should be able to get the answers they need quickly using a workplace computer, personal mobile device, or other means. Having this material readily available communicates the expectation that workers are responsible for their own safety and the safety of others—and that your organization takes this responsibility very seriously.
You simply cannot expect workers to follow safety rules and regulations if your higher-ups aren’t setting a good example and following these rules themselves. All too often, some workers or groups of workers will assume that they’re “above the rules,” and this mentality can quickly spread to other workers within the organization. From there, it won’t be long before corners are constantly being cut for convenience sake—thus opening up the doors to a whole host of safety risks and dangers. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that everybody within the organization is held to the same safety standards and leads by example. In doing so, workers will see first-hand that safety and doing things the “right” way are valued by everyone.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to developing a positive safety culture is that of not following through with safety concerns that are brought to your attention by workers. This only shows them that your organization doesn’t care enough about safety to address these concerns or take them seriously. To avoid this common problem, take some time to revisit your organization’s reporting system and make sure it is truly supportive of employees, encouraging them to come forward with safety concerns and having measures in place to actually address and respond to these concerns in a constructive manner. When workers see that their reports and feedback are taken seriously, a more positive safety culture is built over time.
Creating a positive safety culture is one of the best things you can do to reduce the risk of serious accident and injury within your organization while also boosting employee morale. And while it’s not easy to measure or quantify a positive safety culture, you’ll know you’ve successfully implemented one when you see evidence of your employees prioritizing the safety of themselves and others on-the-job.
To find out more about how the right training can impact your workplace safety culture or to explore microlearning as a training solution for your organization, reach out to the IMPROV® Learning team today!