Is your safety program failing to achieve the desired results? Most companies have some sort of safety initiative in place, but they often fail to measure, track and improve the metrics that really matter. For instance, many of our new clients are only measuring their monthly and annual incidents. Those numbers are important, but they’re similar to casualty statistics on a battlefield. Measuring injuries does not, in and of itself, keep injuries from happening. Measuring incidents alone does not stop your employee from getting injured.
Overall, an effective safety program includes several proactive key elements: clear expectation setting, goal setting that includes safety measures, management commitment, effective measurement, auditing, inspections and action plans for improvement, buy-in from workers and support from all levels of the organization. If you’re not seeing the safety improvements your company needs—or if you want to make sure your next initiative is well-planned from the get-go—keep the following safety tips in mind.
Measure What Matters
What gets measured gets managed, and the best metrics are those that allow you to predict and prevent incidents from happening in the first place. Are you getting your procedures built and are they usable? Are your safety personnel and employees reviewing JSAs, and do you have records of those reviews? Are your workers being trained and retrained on time? Are audits completed and actions generated in a timely manner? Answering these kinds of questions ahead of time is the first and most important step in reducing your number of accidents and illnesses.
Set the Tone for Safety
Buy-in starts from the top. CEOs must set safety expectations, and those expectations need to be well-known throughout the entire organization. Your messaging doesn’t need to include scare tactics or threats of job loss, but you do need to make it clear (firmly and sincerely) that everyone working for your company must make safety a top priority.
You keep yourself accountable to the safety standards you set—but what about your management? Their actions must match their words, and the workers under their direct supervision need to see them “walk the walk.” As they walk through their jobsites, they should be doing the same things they’re requiring of their workers—pointing out hazards, following lockout tagout procedures, filling in logs and more. If they’re not carrying out those critical tasks, even the best messaging won’t hit home.
Create a Safety Budget
Safety shouldn’t be an afterthought. You’re in business to make money, and because every planned-for expense becomes a priority, you need to create a specific budget for your safety initiative. This budget may include labor hours for training, personal protective equipment, equipment repairs and the purchase of safety software.
Still keeping paper records of your policies, audits, accidents and illnesses? Are you filling out OSHA forms and internal review documents by hand? If so, you have all the more reason to implement a safety software suite. Even a small company will eventually generate reams of safety-related documentation, and regulations require that you keep it all on hand. A far better solution than paper filing is an electronic system that can help you record audits, training, certifications and incidents, along with observing trends and addressing follow up on specific hazards or deficiencies.
Make Information Accessible
In many cases, system administrators don’t allow employees to access safety-related information on their own. If you want your employees to know and understand your safety policies, however, you have to make them easily available—electronically and on paper. The same goes for the specific procedures and workflows you establish to ensure jobs are done safely and efficiently. If a worker can’t read and re-read the steps they’re supposed to take on a specific task, how can they perform that task to the standards you’ve set?
To learn more about how you can provide for a safer, more efficient workplace with the help of a comprehensive safety software suite, contact us today.