Whether you are a Safety Professional, Supervisor, Manager, Hourly Employee or Executive employee of an organization you should consider the importance of developing a strong Safety Culture in your Organization. The pay-off is that the “Quality of Life” at work, at home and on the road improves for all employees. Indirectly, a strong Safety Culture at work helps employees and their families avoid debilitating and life-changing injuries or incidents that can result from on-the-job and off-the-job injuries/incidents.
If you can develop a strong Safety Culture at work, you will likely positively reduce the number of on-the-job and off-the-job incidents, therefore significantly reducing negative impact to the bottom line of the organization and increasing business efficiency and sustainability.
The journey to Safety Culture Excellence involves six basic steps:
- Perform a Baseline Assessment
- Appoint a Safety Champion or Lead
- Employee Education
- Employee Involvement
- Utilize EHS Tools and Applications
- Continuous Improvement – Sustainability
1. Perform a Baseline Assessment
Create a baseline of your present Safety Culture, highlighting the strengths and opportunities for improvement. Once you have completed your assessment, create a Vision and Improvement strategy and communicate it to all employees. It is strongly recommended that the CEO of the organization prepare a “Commitment” letter, detailing the assessment results along with opportunities for improvement.
2. Appoint a Safety Champion
Assign a Safety Champion who will have the responsibility to lead the Safety Culture initiative. He/She should be knowledgeable about existing Safety Programs, Perception surveys, result of the Baseline Assessment and Improvement Strategy such as employee Involvement Initiatives and Applications.
3. Employee Education
Conduct appropriate training sessions that support the Safety Culture Improvement Process. Such training may include but is not limited to: “Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment”, “Critical Error Reduction Techniques”, “Concern Reporting”, “Near Miss and Good Catch Reporting”, and Incident Investigation & Root Cause Analysis”. Utilize a Safety Professional or expert as needed. Most importantly, ensure that all employees know how to recognize potential hazardous conditions, practices and behaviors in the workplace, at home and on the road. Use visuals such as posters, flyers, booklets along with emails and memos to keep Safety in front of employees.
4. Employee Involvement
This is the most common and perplexing question in Safety and perhaps the most critical aspect of sustaining a Culture of Safety: “How does one get and sustain Employee Involvement in Safety”? Of course there is no one correct answer, but here are some common solutions:
- Implement a “Good Catch & Near Miss Process” (there are applications for this, so it is easy to use) All employees that have an Smartphone can easily submit Good Catches or Near Misses on the spot. This proactive process allows employees to report potential hazards in advanced in order to get the potential hazard corrected immediately.
- Internalize Safety – Make it personal; let the employee know how safety can positively impact his family. This can be accomplished by sharing stories of near miss/close calls and incidents.
- Ask employees for their involvement. Actively search for opportunities to involve employees based on their expertise.
- Start every meeting with a “Safety Minute”. Every story should include “What Happened”, “What was the Critical Error”, and “How could it have been worse” (all Employees can share in this story-telling process).
- Recognize employees often: Soon (as soon as they’ve contributed to safety excellence), Certain (specifically note what they’ve done right) and Positive (highlight the positive impact that their action made on safety excellence).
5. Utilize EHS Tools and Applications
- Encourage the use of Ergonomically correct tools & office equipment, e-training methods, EHS Management System Applications, e-Trending Analysis & Assessments
- Prioritize and address your Safety Issues by using Compliance Calendar
- Report controls and corrections to employees on a regular basis.
6. Show Continuous Improvement – Sustainability
Reassess, measure and adjust – recognize progress and barriers and react appropriately and be flexible to meet changing needs.
These 6 Steps to Safety Culture Excellence give an easy-to-follow outline on how to begin promoting safety at work. All employees deserve to feel safe every day at any level of work, and by encouraging safety in the workplace you are contributing to the overall safety of employees! Reduce negative impact and keep workers safe by initiating and supporting Safety Culture Excellence today!