So, while you as a safety professional strive for optimal safety in the workplace, and fully understand all the risks, don’t assume everyone does.
A safety culture isn’t providing the best PPE equipment, a safety culture isn’t having the best safety programs; without a safety culture of caring for your employees, without your employees knowing what to do, without everyone knowing the risks, it is pointless.
A safety culture is one where employees work towards their own safety, they wear the PPE needed to complete every task as safe as possible, not because the policy says so, but because they care.
So, how do you go about establishing a safety culture?
Traveler’s Insurance says there are 4 steps to starting a successful safety program, they are as follows:
1. Evaluate risks. To understand how to create a safer workplace, you must first understand the risks you face every day. Each task and associated risk should be properly evaluated, and safety-based changes should be considered.
- Analyze past incidents and near misses. Understand that past incidents can help you identify root causes and identify risks and exposures that threaten the safety of your employees and the success of your business.
- Identify the risks before they result in loss. Review your work policies and procedures, buildings and equipment, employee work practices and behaviors and geographic location to determine if there are opportunities to prevent or mitigate loss. And hold people accountable to the practices.
2. Design a plan to keep safe. A good plan is the best place to start, but it is only the beginning. Once you have a plan, you must act to eliminate or minimize risk.
- Get commitment. Your management team should be committed to a safety culture from the beginning.
- Stay focused. Keep focused on the risks and exposures identified during your evaluation.
- Prioritize your efforts. Focus on the risks that pose the greatest threat. You should consider frequency and severity of the loss potential, and/or the opportunity to prevent or mitigate risks.
- Identify solutions and resources. Your solutions can vary from implementing engineering controls to creating administrative policies and procedures. These can help create positive changes in safety attitude, commitment and culture.
3. Implement your plan. Implementation entails communication of the plan and its details, training, regularly scheduled practice and drills, and ongoing review. A thorough plan will cover a number of potential risk areas, including buildings and equipment, the environment, employees, customers and vendors.
- Communicate and train – the real test of a safety program and culture is not what is written down on paper, but rather how well it actually works. How well your plan works is often dependent on what your employees know and what they do at the time of an incident.
4. Monitor, evaluate and improve your plan. As your business environment changes, so should your safety program. Regularly test your plan to determine if it fits the changing business environment and reflects changing accountabilities.
- Monitor the plan and collect feedback to determine the effectiveness of the plan.
- Regularly compare your safety performance against the plan’s expectations.
- Make adjustments when necessary.
- Recognize success. Be sure to communicate and celebrate your safety successes.
As you see, the steps towards building a safety culture according to Traveler’s Insurance are simple, and should be followed in order.
For policies to improve your workplace safety, check out what the EHS Center has available here.
Need complete programs, the EHS Center can provide those for you as well, right here.
Once you’ve surpassed the basics of a safety culture in your workplace, consider building a sustainable safety culture. Do you know what steps to take concerning doing that, do you know the steps? The foundation of a sustainable workplace safety culture according to EHS Today:
There are four cornerstones on which an effective safety culture can be built:
- leading indicators,
- good relationships
- and discretionary effort.
This pamphlet presents to you 6 Steps towards improving your safety culture, no matter where in the process you are. So start working towards a safer workplace today!
View our pamphlet 6 Steps to Improving Your Workplace Safety CultureImprove workplace safety culture 6 steps