More organizations and businesses are starting to pay more attention to the importance of safety culture and the various ways it can be improved without rewriting entire systems or processes. Sometimes drastic changes are needed to make a workplace genuinely safe for everyone, but most of the time, some less severe changes will put a business on the right track. The safety culture goals should always be to improve worker safety and reduce injuries, but you can also save money and increase productivity. It is entirely possible the current process is unsafe and inefficient, which means an improved process would help in multiple ways and is worth the investment of time and resources. Creating and developing a better safety culture is not a single path task as there are multiple areas of the businesses you must touch on to foster safety throughout the company. Every business will have its own problem areas and critical issues to fix, but there are some general areas you should look at when working on safety culture. Below are some of the critical factors for developing a strong safety culture in any business.
Communication And Expectations
Sometimes the policies and procedures are not inherently unsafe or dangerous, but how they are practiced and enacted creates the issue. Pushing employees to finish a particular task in a certain amount of time can lead to employees cutting corners to meet deadlines, and sometimes the cut corners are necessary safety steps. Employees want to meet their deadlines, or they may fear their job is on the line, so cutting safety measures might sound reasonable, if problematic. However, managers might never be aware that employees are cutting corners to meet expectations, and a manager would change due dates if they knew important corners were being cut. Managers need to communicate reasonable expectations that workers can safely accomplish, and workers need to communicate limitations to managers.
Another part of safety culture communication is ensuring everyone has access to the same safety information, practices, and resources. Company-wide information should be easily accessible in common areas and or online, so any employee can read the standards if they have questions. All workplaces should at least be meeting the standards from OSHA or other protective agencies, and prudent businesses will have their own specific safety guidelines to protect workers in unique environments.
Reporting May Be Boring, But It Helps Protect Workers
Regular reporting is a critical part of keeping any workplace safe. Only through keeping track of safety procedures and any incidents can you see patterns and areas that need help. You do not need to document every passing second, but keeping a log of the day and any problems will create a record of how safe or unsafe the work environment is. Over the years, you will be able to see how changes in procedure helped or hurt and what incidents prompted a lasting change. Reporting is also a team effort as a single manager or person in charge of reporting will never see everything that goes on each day. Let everyone have the option to log an event with managers and or someone specializing in reporting overseeing the log to keep it accurate and reliable.
Better Safety Culture Is Always Worth The Cost
Some businesses might be hesitant to spend more money on safety culture if there have been no or few incidents so far, but spending money to make your workplace safer is always worth the cost. Paying for an employee to see a doctor, have surgery, take time off, and more will always cost more than simply making the workplace safe in the first place. It is always better and cheaper to prevent issues in the future rather than wait for your luck to run out. The more you invest in making your business better, the more you are likely to get out of it. Taking care of your workers should not be a business expense but a bare minimum to ensure no one is hurt at work and that you do not need to pay to fix costly accidents that could have been prevented.
Every workplace should be a safe place for all workers, but that is not always the case. Every business should take the time to communicate so everyone can stay safe with a reporting system to track incidents and changes. Do not see better safety culture as an annoying cost, but rather as a chance to show employees you care about their wellbeing.