Safety culture, simply, is putting safety first in your organizational culture. Every organization has its values. Safety culture means valuing safety above everything else in the organization’s workspace. There may be different hazards or risks that the employees face in your organization. These risks can range from working near radioactive elements in a nuclear power plant to handling hot wax in a salon.
The risks depend on the kind of work that your organization or company is involved in. In the face of such risks, safety culture promotes safety of the workforce. Safety culture results in lower accident rates, which has been associated with higher productivity. Safety culture can also imply the direct appointing of a safety committee, safety officers, and safety policies. Here are some useful tips to help you develop a strong safety culture:
When it comes to establishing a well-functioning safety culture, good relationships and clear communication between all levels in the organization is of utmost importance. Have monthly safety talks and discussions and motivate all the workers to join in on these occasions. Make the environment inviting in a way that the workers can freely talk about the risks they face. Allow them to lead the talks too. All this would increase your organization’s safety culture in the long-term.
Talk about mistakes in terms of opportunities to improve. Mishaps can get the conversation going about why something happened and how to avoid it in the long-run. Honesty and truthfulness, both from the side of the workers and management, is necessary to make these conversations fruitful.
To promote safety culture, management should ensure that the workers report all the near misses and injuries. Your organization should reward workers who report safety concerns. Employees should feel comfortable talking about potential hazards knowing that managers will take their words into account. They should not feel that they are blamed for the hazards they are reporting. They should feel positive about the reporting process. Management should put effort into educating workers on the importance of timely reporting.
It may be that there is an underreporting of cases. By educating workers about the significance of timely reporting, management can tackle the problem at its roots. As a result, there may be an apparent increase in workplace injury reports. The management should be ready for this. Remember that paying for preventive measures is far less costly and much more forward-thinking than fixing a disaster.
Setting Up Safety Standards
There are government agencies, like OSHA, in place that can help you set up standard safety procedures. Instead of just going for the bare minimum and trying to meet government standards, you should aim higher than that. Managers should themselves follow all the safety standards and policies and lead by example. If the people on the top of the organization are setting a good example, all the workers will follow suit and try to meet the standards.
The consequence of noncompliance with safety policies, procedures, and standards should be clear. Also, having a safety policy or safety procedure is not enough if the information does not spread. Workers should clearly know the safety procedures in place. They should be able to review these at any time.
Employees generally underestimate the importance of housekeeping with regard to the maintenance of the safety culture. However, it is no leap of faith to assume that a tidy workplace would also promote safety. Preparing a housekeeping checklist should be among the top priorities of your organization. Housekeeping greatly reduces the chances of accidents, like slipping and tripping. What it also does is improve the morale of the workers and make them more productive.
Actively Monitoring Safety
The most straightforward method to evaluate safety performance is by conducting safety tours. Safety tours help portray to the workers that the management is committed to their employees’ safety. Safety tours of an informal nature help enhance the safety culture. Managers should take a more active interest in hearing about accidents and near misses. They should also keep a check on production pressures.
Working long hours can have negative implications for safety. The organization should make sure that the workforce has all the personal protective equipment they need. They should also have the right tools for the right job. The active role of top management regarding employees’ health and safety is directly linked to lower injury rates.