A strong safety culture promotes more than just safety. It cultivates worker confidence and retention, benefits organizational behavior, and can even increase productivity. According to OSHA, developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process. So, how do you create and maintain your safety culture for your organization? Here are some tips:
1. Evaluate Your Current System
If you already have a safety program in place, but you’re seeing more accidents and near misses, then you need to incorporate a new process. Identify where the specific problems are and make necessary changes.
2. Define Safety Standards
This step involves finding a way to measure specific indicators, such as safety incidents, safety training sessions, or safety inspections. Measuring your progress and placing a clear expectation will motivate your employees.
3. Set Rule Compliance
Ensure that your employees know the rules and how to properly follow them. Set your employees and your organization up for success and make sure they have the skills and resources needed to remain compliant with safety rules. Consistency across departments is also critical in creating and maintaining your safety culture
4. Drive Results, Not Completion
Completing a training session is not the same as actually seeing positive safety-related results. While you need to train employees on the company safety culture and process, don’t make your goal just completion. Make sure your employees complete the training AND put their learned skills into practice. After all, practice makes perfect.
5. Strategize Based on Your Site and Employees
Always create your safety strategy to fit your worksite and your employees. Trying to change your site and personnel to fit a previously created safety culture will end up in frustration. Use your employee’s strengths and production capacity to form a process. You can even get employee input on a new safety process. This will make them feel more involved and valued, which leads to a positive culture. Tap into exemplary employees to help maintain your safety standards. Other employees are more likely to support a plan if they see others joining in.
6. Clarify Leadership Expectations
Leaders set the tone and company culture. If your leaders aren’t expected to embrace the safety culture, then no one else will. Leadership also needs to be consistent with its focus and its message. Consistent messages and rule reinforcement builds trust in the culture and in relationships. It shows that your workplace is serious about safety.
7. Be Patient
Changes won’t happen overnight. It might take some time to fully implement your safety process and to start seeing real results. Keep encouraging your employees to practice good safety habits and it will eventually become a consistent behavior. Good habits and good behaviors create sustainability and a positive culture.
Knowing you need to build a new safety culture is always a great start. Find the approach and process that works best for you and encourage employee involvement. Make sure leadership is consistent and encouraging to employees. Positive reinforcement is key when promoting your company’s safety culture. Safety will become second nature if employees are involved in safety and create an environment in which employees really understand the value of safety.
We believe having well-trained, high quality, experienced safety professionals on a job site is the best way to cultivate a positive safety culture. Give us a call at 225-753-1909 to talk with us about your upcoming projects.