Posted by Eric Grant
The majority of the injuries that occur are not related to unsafe workplace conditions, but connected to behavioral issues in the workplace. Real success calls for a recipe with a dash of OSHA compliance, a touch of behavioral sciences, and all placed in a Safety Accountability pie crust. Clear accountability for safety is the magic ingredient that is often left out of the entrée. Many people do not understand why workplace injuries continue despite their attempts at implementing compliance based programs. Compliance may keep the OSHA Compliance Officer out of your kitchen, but compliance alone often won’t reduce or eliminate injuries over the long run.
So, hopefully you are asking yourself, “What does safety accountability look like?” Consider the following for your organization:
- Management commitment- a significant factor in successful safety programs. Make it a very public commitment. See the MEMIC Safety Director for Safety Policy Statement examples and other safety program resources.
- Define basic expectations- clearly define safety expectations for all personnel. What does your company expect from employees in regard to injury prevention?
- Specific safety management responsibilities- Once the rules are defined, the leadership should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. In order to hold people accountable for safety performance they must clearly understand their own responsibilities.
- Measurement- Organizations routinely measure productivity or quality, but safety is often omitted from the annual review process. Safety is a key component to business success, so goals must be set and progress tracked.
- Recognition and corrective action- Recognize positive and negative safety performance as you would any other responsibility. Do not confuse recognition with incentives and remember that accountability may mean consequences, both positive and negative.