Even today, some companies don't make workplace safety a top priority. A definitive, written safety management system is essential to the long-term success of any company. But getting your employees to transform their outlook on safety can be tough if they have no incentive for buy-in.
Employee involvement is critical to improving the safety of your company. Simply instructing workers on new policies and procedures isn’t enough.
So, to help you and your employees understand what makes a safety program work effectively, let’s take a look at some tactics you can try to transform your company’s outlook on safety.
One of the best ways to change your company’s outlook on safety is to engage your employees. A good way to do this is by putting some toolbox talks on your calendar.
A toolbox talk is a group discussion where your workers and safety managers focus on specific issues together. They’re informal and brief, cover many topics and give your employees a sense of responsibility for their own safety.
Not only do toolbox talks provide an opportunity for feedback, everyone has a chance to recommend topics to discuss. People learn best by becoming engaged in the learning process, and gathering employees’ input helps them understand how new rules and regulations will apply to their jobs.
Create a Safety Team
According to an article in the Journal of Environmental Management Arizona, the purpose of a safety team is to bring workers and managers together to promote and maintain a safe, healthful workplace.
The team ensures that safety is treated as an integral function of the company by doing things like:
- Making safety recommendations
- Inspecting the facility
- Inspecting the equipment
Participants can vary based on the type of facility, but an effective safety team can reduce workplace injuries, and the costs that directly affect a company’s bottom line.
Employees will recognize your company is serious about safety and gradually will become more safety-conscious, which will contribute to a positive change in your company’s safety culture.
Set Short-Term Goals
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect to change your company’s outlook on safety that fast, either. If the point of changing your company’s outlook on safety is to get to zero incidents, you might have to take some baby steps to get there.
You can start by retraining everyone at your company on your updated safety policies. You’ll find your company making faster progress by accomplishing smaller, short-term goals. Evaluate these six strategies you can try to reach your zero-incident goal.
Take an OSHA Course
You may also need to analyze and evaluate your safety management system. One way you can do this is by taking a course offered by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration like Safety Management System Evaluation.
The course discusses various steps OSHA consultants use to assess companies participating in the Safety Health and Achievement Program. Training like this gives you the chance to look at your entire safety system and aids in exposing potential problem areas.
If you can show your employees that you’re treating all the risks within the company as a single system, their outlook on the importance of safety should change.
Develop a Culture of Safety
Just because you have a safety program in place doesn’t mean your employees will adhere to it. Constantly remind everyone what’s expected of them. If you’re ignoring your safety management system, chances are they will, too.
To keep your system visible you can try distributing or posting:
- A Written Safety and Health Policy
- Orientation and Training Policies
- Employee Involvement or Recognition Programs
Your entire workplace should be able to follow accident prevention procedures at any given time. If they can’t, it may even make them feel as if safety is out of their hands.
The best-planned program won’t take effect if your company doesn’t demonstrate a consistent commitment to worker safety and the safety of your company’s processes.
Your safety management system should be an ongoing element of production, not just something you revisit occasionally. Remember, at a minimum, a safety management system allows your company to meet its legal obligations under Occupational Safety and Health Administration law, but it’s more than that.
If you’re looking for more ways to change your company’s outlook on safety, download our new eBook, “Why You’re at Risk Without a Safety Management System.” It takes an in-depth look at how much it can cost you if you don’t have safety management efforts in place.