Workplace safety truly starts within. If you’re reading this post, you’ve likely already determined that your workplace needs safety improvements, but you’re probably not quite sure how to start the conversations. If that’s the case, this post is for you; consider this your guide to improving workplace safety – and safety culture – so the lives of all your employees will be improved.
1. Circulate Safety Topics
The movement to improve your workplace safety won’t gain any traction unless a large group within your company is talking about it. Even better, try to get management buy-in so they can share safety initiatives from the top-down. Whether you need to open the lines of whistleblower communication, create safety improvement committees, or circulate materials about your current situation, ensure that your approach is holistic and inclusive. The most successful safety culture initiatives include employees from all areas of the business that have creative and actionable ideas to improve their work environments.
2. Gather Data
Your safety initiatives will be a lot more well-received if you can provide data surrounding the existing safety issues in your company. Consider one (or several) of these sources and types of data collection:
- Poll current employees about their feelings surrounding existing workplace safety procedures.
- Keep track of safety incidents (or almost incidents) and provide OSHA-backed documentation to prevent them.
- Circulate photos of workplace hazards and provide constructive critiques for improving them.
No matter which method you take to gather data, you will want to share it with your company management and any existing safety personnel – like the human resources team – so you can tell your safety culture story successfully.
3. Provide Appropriate Equipment
While every company and workplace will have their own needs for safety equipment, it is imperative that the business backs their employees in providing the appropriate equipment. Whether it’s hard hats or ergonomic keyboards, adding specific tools and equipment to your employees’ toolkits will greatly reduce future injuries and improve the overall workplace culture of safety. Don’t forget to appropriately label safety tools and equipment as necessary and share where employees can gain access if there are shared resources.
4. Create a Rewards System
While improving safety will be enough of a motivation for some employees, others may need a few more incentives for promoting a safe work environment. The reward system doesn’t have to be extensive either, consider company lunches after specific milestones are met, a point system to redeem for gift cards for specific safety acts, or employee shoutouts in the company newsletter for outstanding participants. You may go through some trial and error in developing a rewards system that will encourage your employees, without having to go overboard on the incentives.
5. Keep Going
Improving workplace safety and developing a true culture of safety does not happen overnight. Stay consistent with your initiatives and keep the lines of communication open so that safe habits are formed. Safety improvements do not always have to be drastic and cumbersome, in fact, most of the time, small changes and the right tools can make all the difference.
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