A truly safe workplace starts with a safety culture that begins at the top. It follows OSHA Standards and other safety related practices that go above and beyond. A good culture is one that dives deeper to change the thought processes around safety, making safe operations and related safety discussions a priority. If it’s not a part of the cultural focus of an organization then commitment will falter at all levels.
Workplace safety is only as good as the person’s commitment to it. Think of all the potential safety hazards you see in a day. We hope that if safety procedures are followed then hazards are minimized-it’s just not true. Just posting rules does not inspire adherence. Too much attention to emergency management must not minimize the need to emphasize prevention first. Creating a work environment that expects a proactive approach to safety and keeping it a top priority increases focus. Safety becomes a foremost responsibility and keeps everyone actively engaged in safety management overall.
Looking only at injury reports seems like an easy way to measure safety effectiveness , however, what about the thousands of times where an injury could have happened, but fortunately was avoided by simple luck? The absence of an injury does not condone the risk-taking. It could lead to a costly mistake or worse the loss of life. It is important to note that even if a work place has an impeccable safety record, and/or has never had an accident, this does not mean that the work place is as safe as it could possibly be. Companies should be “collecting data on the frequency of precautions taken voluntarily that target low probability risks to better prevent injury” (Safety Decisions). Taking your approach to safety to a higher level means looking beyond just the data.
The first step companies should take, even those that feel they have a great system in place, is to reevaluate their current safety culture. Whether there have been some near misses or none at all, it is always a good idea to have your safety programs looked over periodically to make sure procedures are up to date and that best management practices are followed.
Once a secure program is in place, companies should not stop there! Encourage employees to voluntarily enforce safety precautions and to avoid risks. One way to do so is by having employees properly trained to identify hazards. Ask for feedback and keep safety discussions happening even after annual training. Keep safety an active part of your organization.
Need help? PTP can train and help discuss ways to help encourage employees to not cut corners and to always think safety first. An annual safety assessment and plan can help address any issues or update your existing plans. We also recommend shaking things up to avoid complacency. Activities such as drills offer opportunities for role play and simulations that fit your specific work site. Done with a consultant you have the benefit of another pair of eyes to redirect or enhance your safety protocols.