Creating a safety culture
 May. 25, 2011

Developing a safety culture in your or organization can be a challenge. But, when you recognize that safety and productivity go hand-in-hand, having a safety culture
underlying your business practices will help your company grow stronger and remain competitive.

Here are a couple of tips that help you develop or enhance your company’s safety culture.

Have a 100% Reporting Culture
Do you ensure your employees are not discouraged from reporting injuries or accidents? Support the practice of reporting all accidents/injuries and near miss occurrences. Make certain employees are encouraged to identify and report unsafe conditions.

Developing a 100% reporting culture can best be facilitated by building trust with your employees. Make sure reporting an accident is an easy process and there is no hint of retaliation for making a report. Some experts encourage making the reporting of accidents anonymous, but this is really not practical when reporting work related injuries and it does not support an open safety culture. Instead make reported incidents public and make certain follow-up actions are very visible. This broadcasts that your employees are being listened to and the organization will take action.

Develop Safety Awareness with Meaningful Safety Rules
The rule should not be "have lots of safety rules". When safety procedures are excessively voluminous and complex they will be difficult to understand. Make rules dynamic and invite your employees to participate in their development. Consider:

  • making rules practical and relevant
  • ensuring rules are monitored and enforced
  • being sure rules are effectively communicated
  • placing in practice a process to ensure safety rules are continually reviewed and improved

Help Leaders Understand How to Consistently Act to Develop a Safety Culture
Few managers and supervisors have a safety background and they find managing safety practices difficult. Safety professionals must help teach managers and supervisors how to develop the culture. Safety is not just following rules, it is an intricate combination of process, systems, and people. Lead by being involved. Observe, monitor the workplace and most importantly listen to your employees.

Make safety part of your product development and production process. Quality control is a fundamental element of the manufacturing process, and a safe work environment leads to high product quality. And, a safe workplace begins with a safety culture that supported by the organization, top to bottom.

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