The Top Ten Ways to Build a Safer Culture in Your Business

Building a safety culture is creating values and beliefs that all members of the team share and promote.  The best way to strengthen your culture is through training, tracking, implementing and promoting behaviors to all team members throughout your business.  A commitment from leadership shows the value of a safer culture to everyone in the organization.

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Here are ten things you can do to make safety a top priority and get your business on track.

  1. Ensure that the workers in your facility feel comfortable approaching their supervisor with any safety concerns that they have.    The people on the front line of your business see what is going on and can make suggestions for improvement.  There is, sometimes, a fear of bringing things up.
  2. Spend the time to train supervisors how to be effective listeners.  Making employees comfortable coming forward with issues and opportunities will not matter if supervision does not act appropriately.
  3. Create an environment that allows for employees in different departments to communicate effectively with each other about safety issues.  Open dialog across all departments of the business is one of the greatest tools to build a safer culture.  The trick is developing it without  an attitude of ‘finger pointing’.
  4. Know that your employees feel comfortable having an open line of communication with their supervisors where they can refuse work that they feel creates an unsafe environment.  Workers should never be reprimanded for presenting a safety concern.
  5. Encourage team members to report incidents and near misses.  Treat these reports like crime scenes and investigate them.  Keep in mind that a near miss for one worker could be an injury accident for the next.
  6. Speed up the response time to correct unsafe conditions.  Shut a process down or implement short term corrective actions immediately.  Progress on long term corrective actions should be made within 24 – 48 hours.  Implementation should take no longer than 5 working days.
  7. Allow employees the proper time they need to perform all work duties in a manner where they will not feel the need to take unsafe ‘shortcuts’.  All too often we hear “I was in a hurry” or “It was quicker” when interviewing an injured worker.  Safety should be the worker’s most important job responsibility
  8. Schedule time for supervisors to walk around the job site to identify problems.  They can use this time to make personal observations and create dialog with employees by asking open ended questions.
  9. Make sure safety meetings occur on a regularly scheduled basis with clear cut goals for each meeting.  Whether it is a five minute safety huddle or an hour long safety team meeting, meetings keep the conversation going.
  10. Integrate safety training in the many different ways people learn.  All companies have a mix of older and younger workers.  Some even have a diverse workforce with language barriers.  It is also important to note that some people learn better in a hands-on environment as opposed to just visual or auditory.

An open dialog allows you to tap into the collective experience and knowledge of your entire workforce.  So, start implementing these ideas and get the conversation started.  It is a big step to understanding and enjoying the value of safety.

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