A safe workplace is an essential aspect of a successful, sustainable company. And if you’re like most managers, you already recognize this. You do everything in your power to respond quickly to safety breaches and oversights, and if your equipment is failing, you replace it before it becomes a hazard. But what about your employees? While you take steps to protect them from work-related illness and injury, are they also taking steps to protect themselves and each other? Here are a few ways to make safety a shared priority in your workplace.
Encourage employees to rank safety above productivity.
Of course your employees are adults and they probably don’t take safety risks just for thrills. When they’re tempted to cut a corner, push a limit, or let a problem go unreported, they probably do so in the interest of productivity or deadline demands. So make sure they understand that productivity, profits, and praise take second place after safety. Don’t encourage or reward accomplishments that come at the expense of common sense and adherence to company policies.
Walk the walk.
Before you expect employees to abide by a safety rule, make sure managers do so first. If your managers and supervisors are casual about hard hat rules, or if they feel entitled to wear inappropriate clothing around heavy machinery or sidestep mandatory operator certifications, they don’t just set a bad example; they undermine the culture and put others at risk.
Reward the behavior you’d like to see.
When employees go the extra mile to conduct careful pre-flight safety checks or pull unsafe equipment out of use, make sure they receive praise and acknowledgement for this behavior. Even if caution slows productivity or creates inconvenience for the company, the employee should understand that they made the right move.
Encourage reports and complaints.
Distribute annual and semi-annual surveys that directly ask employees to evaluate the safety of the workplace. In the meantime, make it as easy as possible for employees to file requests and complaints. If they would like a safety railing installed, or they need a temperature adjustment, or they need better equipment to control loud noise, encourage them to speak up and say so. When you receive these complaints, take action quickly and decisively.
Don’t encourage internal competition that pits members of the same team against each other in a blind pursuit of production quotas. Team goals should be more important than individual goals, especially if individual competition prevents employees from looking out for each other.
For more on how to encourage safe behaviors that prevent workplace accidents and injuries, reach out to the Maumelle staffing team at CSS.