As another Safety Month draws to a close, we hope you’ve utilized this valuable opportunity to focus on the importance of safety best practices in the workplace. But the truth is, for companies with a strong and robust safety culture, every month—and indeed, every single day—provides the chance to put these important principles into practice.
So what exactly is a safety culture? Hint: You already have one. The question is, how is it working for you? Is it strong? is it successful? Is safety a top priority in the everyday values and behaviors of all the people in your organization?
For safety managers, risk directors, procurement and HR professionals, reducing risk, protecting workers and preserving productivity are a definite priority, but they cannot achieve exceptional results alone. Everyone has a role to play in workplace safety.
Leadership Sets The Tone
The role of leadership is crucial to the success of safety programs and culture. It is always up to the executive suite to set the priorities of company culture and embody its values.
Therefore, executive leadership must take that crucial first step toward making safety a priority in the workplace. The idea of safe working conditions should permeate every aspect of the business.
When most people think of a company safety program, compliance with OSHA safety standards (CCOHS in Canada) and being prepared for inspections come to mind, but that’s only the beginning. Handing out multi-page safety manuals stuffed with graphs and charts, or holding a general all-purpose safety meeting once a year, is not enough. A healthy and vital safety culture involves more than just the basics.
Everyone’s On The Safety Team
Safety awareness and engagement is a team sport. Each member of the organization, from executive to manager to team member,should have a sense of ownership and responsibility.
When safety awareness is woven into every process and procedure, it becomes an integral part of business best practices.
All job training and orientations should have a safety component, and coworkers should be encouraged to help each other perform their jobs more safely through peer-to-peer correction.
Your safety program is never done. It’s a process of constant education with a view toward continuous improvement. The results? Safer workers, fewer accidents, injuries and recordable incidents, and a stronger bottom line.
There are many ways leadership can set priorities. Conducting regular, frequent assessments and evaluations and empowering managers and department heads to develop their own safety training methods is a strong start. Encouraging diligent reporting of safety incidents or errors (rather than ignoring near misses for fear of reprisal) is another important element of a solid safety culture.