Every year companies make commitments to improving safety on the jobsite but many times they lack a plan for actually doing so. Improving safety can happen in a lot of different ways but one of the most effective is improving the overall safety culture of the company. Now changing a culture is not easy, it is actually quite the opposite however the benefits can be substantial. Identifying what you want your safety culture to look like is the first step in improving it so lets start there.
What should your safety culture look like?
Every company has a bit of a different culture. Many times safety takes it cues from the overall company culture. Is your organization a family run organization or a very corporate environment with lots of reporting chains? Either way this likely has been affecting your safety culture over time. Typically safety professionals are looking to strive towards a culture of learning and humanizing in the most effective cultures. This puts a heavy focus on not reprimanding employees but rather catching them doing the right thing and educating them on how they could have done it differently if you saw something wrong. This type of environment helps to eliminate the feeling that safety managers are “policemen” and only looking for people breaking the rules. In this type culture workers are more likely to identify and bring up unsafe conditions and will be willing to talk about the challenges on the jobsite. Striving to instill a culture of positive reinforcement and learning is critical to improving a safety culture.
A few quick tips for improving culture
There are a lot of ways to improve culture but over time we have identified some quick easy wins that seem to really hit home with workers.
- Humanize Safety: Relate safety back to family and that when we identify something you are doing as unsafe it is only because we want to make sure you go home safe to your family.
- Recognize people doing it right: If you do weekly stand downs, identify someone who did something right that week and reward them with a gift card or another type of reward.
- Educate and empower: Safety managers can’t be everywhere so we need to make sure workers are educated and can identify hazards and correct them on their own. This empowers people to ensure they are in a safe environment
- Make time to talk about safety regularly: Safety should not only be talked about when accidents happen, talk about it regularly so teams know it is a top priority.
- Make small changes: Find small changes that lead to a safer work environment, providing better safety glasses so workers are more likely to wear them is a great example.
Each of these tips are simple and do not require a large investment but will go a long way with employees and workers. Improving safety culture is key to reducing injuries and providing a better working environment for employees. At the end of the day reducing injuries drives profits to the bottom line which is a win win for everyone.