By Jason Kravik
Some trends come and go, but others have staying power – and workplace safety is finally getting its due as a trend that’s here to stay.
Many companies have transformed the way they perceive safety. The most successful businesses have safety as a core value, and safety managers and leaders are viewed as integral partners.
Five key best practices can guide companies and safety managers looking to change the way their employees view safety.
5 Best Practices to Boost Your Safety Culture
Best-in-class safety performance requires buy-in at every level, and that means integrating safety into every facet of the business. Recognition and accountability, leadership commitment, training, communication, observations and audits, and clear roles and responsibilities all play a part in building a strong safety culture.
- Establish an organizational structure around safety that cascades clear roles, responsibilities and accountability to promote the implementation of the safety management system. Engagement is a critical factor in this design. Formal health and safety committees comprising management, employees and safety leaders (and union leaders, if applicable) are a key component. Committees should meet frequently to share action plan progress and current performance, work through plant- or facility-level issues, and set policies and practices. For larger organizations, this is especially helpful, because different facilities can hear what others are doing and implement best practices.
- Create a detailed action plan with clear objectives, timing and accountability for actions that will bring improved performance.
- Safety is a team sport, so ensure your safety managers talk with each other and other safety professionals frequently, both formally and informally. Sharing ideas, policies and technical tips regularly will help build a strong, networked team.
- Don’t forget about the employees; employee engagement is a key factor for safety success. Here at Corelle, in addition to the standard compliance and leadership training, we’re rolling out training programs that show what actions employees can personally take to improve their own and others’ safety. This kind of program is intended to empower all employees to be advocates for safety, and may spur them to become more involved in safety committees and initiatives.
- Recognize employees who demonstrate a focus on safety. Recognition can take many forms depending on your individual business, but it’s important to recognize people who go above and beyond in the name of safety. People want to be part of something successful; if you advertise those successes to show others they can be involved in a productive way, a focus on safety will grow organically, and it will be perpetual.
Make Safety a Priority
Safety is a predictor of how other parts of a business perform, because the attitudes, mindsets and behaviors required to manage safety effectively also are needed to effectively manage quality and productivity – so if you aren’t managing safety, you may not be managing other parts of the company optimally, either.
Safety is something that not only helps the bottom line, but also boosts competitive advantages. In parts of the country with low unemployment, hiring quality employees can be a challenge, and having a strong safety culture is a major selling point, both for job recruitment and employee retention. People want to work in a safe, clean environment and know that they will go home to their families at the end of the workday in the same condition in which they came to work: safe.
Getting your employees engaged in and taking pride in their work, and helping them understand that leadership supports them, will boost all aspects of the business – meaning safety is good for business, not just good for employees.