Safety should always be top of mind in the workplace. But it’s not enough to post a sign in the office break room. Safety needs to be woven into the culture and mindset of your entire company. Establishing a corporate safety culture is simple if you know where to start. The top-down approach is a reliable method because when workers see that their leadership does not value or enforce their safety policy, mistakes are more likely to be made in the name of productivity. Workplace safety must be a priority for management as well as for staff if it is to be taken seriously.
Here are a few ways you can provide the leadership necessary for a pro-safety workplace environment.
What Makes a Safety Culture?
Effective corporate safety culture is one that is the product of both individual and group values, attitudes, and competencies. Establishing a company-wide commitment to a safety program helps ingrain the importance of a safe working environment. Providing visible leadership in regards to safety is key, including following all safety protocol yourself.
Encourage the empowerment of your team to take responsibility for safety in the workplace, not just of themselves but of their coworkers as well. Safety should be everyone’s responsibility. Furthermore, your workers should know what to do in case of an emergency. It is they who are most likely to experience and respond in the case of an accident. They should know what to do during and after an incident occurs, how to report the accident, and how the organization will respond. Honest and reliable responses help to foster trust and a lesson-learned mentality in response to a safety incident.
Teach and Preach Safety
If staff are unaware of safety protocols or the possible repercussions that they might incur should safety policy be overlooked, then they really can’t be blamed for accidents when they do happen. It is up to management to set the stage for an effective safety culture in the workplace. That means providing training when needed and emphasizing the importance of safety awareness and procedures on a day to day basis. Show your staff the importance of safety training by participating in training events. Lead by example. Enforce safety policies reliably to show that the rules are meant to be taken seriously. If you are consistent with your message, the value of a safe workplace will create a better, more productive work environment on all levels of an organization.
High Vulnerability and High Standards
A solid safety culture is built on these key organizational values: strong leadership, high standards, and a sense of vulnerability. Constant vigilance and worker empowerment to handle safety issues should they occur will help to establish effective communication, mutual trust, and timely response to safety issues and concerns. Monitor performance regularly and hold those who make mistakes accountable for their errors, but also give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. In the case of an accident, the best way to handle the backlash is to learn from it and teach from it. While it is the responsibility of corporate leadership to establish effective safety guidelines and procedures, at the end of the day, safety is everyone’s responsibility.