In the workplace, the word “safety” can evoke two distinct opinions. Some see safety as the most important aspect of their business, a healthy investment which their company strives to promote throughout the workplace. Others see safety as code for an overburdensome waste of time, money, and effort. For companies struggling with safety culture improvement, here are some ideas for raising safety awareness.
Employees may be hesitant to embrace safety if they feel that it does not apply to them. It is important that employees understand that even if they are not working on machines or climbing to dangerous heights, that they are still at risk of injury. Include information and statistics on real life safety topics such as distracted drivers, food safety, fire prevention, ergonomic injuries, slips/trips/falls, and workplace violence. Topics like these will show employees that there are risks involved with every job! Videos of real workplace safety hazards and community safety programs can help get the point across. Encourage employees to include their family members in the safety message. Injuries can affect people at home or at work.
A great way to involve employees in your safety culture is by creating a new safety committee, or inviting them to join your existing safety committee. Make sure management allows employees to participate during work time. A safety committee should have representation from all levels of the organization, from management to laborers. This gives employees the opportunity to express any concerns they may have. Post any identified safety issues along with efforts to ensure those issues are addressed. Create a company safety goal for the committee to work toward using a SMART goal format. Rewarding employees for participating or making safety improvements is another good way to improve culture.
A fast and simple way to keep safety in the minds of your employees is to include a reminder in their paycheck envelopes, send emails, or broadcast the message over the company PA system. Providing and sharing safety tips, statistics, and real-life stories about other companies like your own are just a few examples of what can be included. Ask your employees for suggestions or ideas on what they would like to learn more about. Provide rewards or make announcements about which employees participate and make suggestions for improvements.
Many companies have taken the step to create a safety incentive program within their company. Traditional incentive programs based on a lack of injuries are frowned upon by OSHA since they may unintentionally discourage employees from reporting accidents in fear of having the incentives revoked. However, other programs such as a “Find & Fix” or Safety BINGO that focus on hazard identification and correction, may benefit your safety program. Encourage employees to look for hazards in the workplace and report them to the appropriate personnel to correct the problem!
These methods, along with written programs and proper training, will help to make safety in the workplace a habit instead of a hassle. Utilizing MEMIC’s online resources is another great way to provide safety awareness information in an effective and productive manner.