Workplace safety is a critical consideration for employees these days. In the 2022 State of Employee Safety Report, 79% of workers said they value occupational safety as never before. This means employers should focus on building a safer workplace, which can help them attract committed employees. According to the National Safety Council, the cost of workplace fatalities and injuries in 2020 was enormous; more precisely, $163.9 billion. But poor safety doesn’t only cost organizations money. It also affects their brand’s image and turnover.
Safety issues are often a sign of misalignment at the organizational level. By building a solid safety culture from the ground up, you ensure there are effective safety policies and emergency plans within your company.
What is safety culture all about?
Workplace culture has become a trendy term recently. However, it’s more than a simple buzzword – it refers to how you do things within your company. Safety culture is less about your company’s safety program and more about the attitudes, mindsets, and behaviors of supervisors, managers, owners, and workers regarding workplace safety. A positive safety culture helps your business thrive because it motivates employees to do their best.
Some business owners find the idea of creating a safety culture daunting, and it’s all because of complacency. However, this can lead to catastrophic effects, such as illnesses, accidents, injuries, and, at worst, even loss of life. Don’t let this happen to your business. Create a safety culture by taking the following steps.
Evaluate risks and response plans
In order to create a safe culture, you must think through all parts of your business. Consider the risks of your operations by doing a business threat assessment. Analyze the frequency of the hazards, as well as their severity.
By evaluating these risks, you can direct your efforts toward reducing them as much as possible. If you have already developed plans, review them frequently and see whether they can truly help mitigate harm. After evaluating these threats, you can establish goals and implement effective safety procedures that everyone within the company will adopt.
Establish safety goals
A solid safety culture holds all people within the company accountable. However, accountability isn’t possible unless you set clear expectations and goals. After evaluating the potential threats, you can come up with prevention measures. Goals can help you divide your safety initiatives and make workplace safety look less challenging to achieve.
For instance, your goal could be related to reducing the number of accidents at work by 50%. Or, you could focus on enhancing systems, such as incident reporting.
Imposition and simple instruction aren’t enough to create lasting cultural change. Instead, you need employee engagement to build a solid safety culture. Whether it’s an office, a factory, or a warehouse, everyone in the respective workplace should be involved in creating and maintaining a safety culture. Luckily, recent technological advancements are designed to help you achieve such outcomes in your business.
For instance, Capptions is an effective solution for your company, regardless of its size. Developed to empower employees, this software allows your team members to conduct observations, complete corrective actions, and perform inspections. Users can create digital forms to record data, such as videos and photos, and view it. It’s also practical for managers, who can create to-do lists with priorities and deadlines. EHS software has numerous benefits for companies, making auditing easy and saving you money. If you research and learn more about what EHS is and what it can do for your business, you’ll likely want to use this tool to build a safety culture.
Develop emergency response plans
It’s not easy to make decisions right in the middle of an emergency. This is why you shouldn’t wait until something terrible occurs before you develop a response plan. After identifying the likelihood and severity of the risks, it’s essential to prepare for those incidents. As you develop these plans, you should loop in the people working in those conditions. Generally, these people know how the work environment can be enhanced, especially regarding safety.
You should also designate safety leaders who can help you put your emergency response plans into practice. However, remember that these people can join or leave your company, or they can shift roles, and their responsibilities may also change. Therefore, make sure to record these assignments in your detailed planning documents.
Provide safety training programs
So, you’ve figured out what safety practices you want to implement in your company. The next step is to train everyone on these specific procedures that can prevent hazards. According to OSHA, hands-on training is a good way to inform employees about safety practices.
You can’t expect a safety lecture or a short video to generate a positive safety outcome, as workers are unlikely to retain all that information. Instead, you need to focus on providing hands-on practice for workers. Suppose you want to train someone on how to wear a safety harness correctly. The best way to prevent unsafe behaviors is to have an experienced coworker explain the process in full detail.
All the previously mentioned steps can effectively build a safety culture. However, it would be unrealistic to believe they can completely eliminate injuries and other risks that a job involves. This is why you need to encourage feedback within your company, both for your employees and from them.
Don’t act like a safety cop when giving feedback. Your job is to call out errors to fix the gaps in your company regarding safety. If you hand out demerits for those small lapses, there’s a good chance you’ll create even more significant lapses in your employee’s trust. Because of this, they will be less likely to report safety violations or give you honest feedback. Make sure to provide positive feedback rather than negative, as it is much more effective.
Workplace safety is not something you check off your to-do list and then forget about. You must focus on maintaining it as long as your company exists. Following the steps mentioned above can help create a positive safety culture in your organization, where employees can stay motivated and productive.