A safe workplace culture provides employees with the tools they need to stay safe and, more importantly, fosters an environment of safety. In many industries, it’s easy for employees to push safety to the wayside in an attempt to complete tasks more quickly, leading to an increase in workplace injuries, putting employees at risk and impacting production goals. Here are five ways your company can ditch that old mindset and, instead, create a safe, productive workplace culture in 2019.
1. Supply Employees With the Safety Tools and Resources They Need.
You can’t expect employees to take reasonable safety precautions (for example, using a fall protection device when working at a height) if they don’t have the resources, tools and equipment to do so. The cost of steel-toed shoes or safety glasses is miniscule compared to the cost of trauma surgery or the impact of lowered employee morale. There is a strong human drive toward expediency, and when safety tools are not supplied, many workers will risk taking a shortcut or using the wrong tool to finish a job on time. By simply making sure the right tools are available, you can prevent a majority of serious workplace injuries.
2. Go the Extra Mile During Hiring.
It’s easy to make a quick hire when sales exceed production capacity, but it’s important to consider the risks associated with hiring a worker who isn’t qualified for the job just to fill an immediate need. An unqualified employee is far more likely to become injured than an experienced employee with thorough safety training. In fact, a worker in his or her first month is three times more likely to have a lost-time injury than workers who have been on the job more than a year, according to the Institute for Work and Health. Carefully screen candidates to ensure they have the skills and experience it takes to be successful and work safely.
3. Implement a Comprehensive Training System.
Comprehensive safety training is a must-have for preventing workplace injury and should include both general awareness and site-specific training. Your workplace likely has a variety of situations, like specific chemicals, scaffolding or heavy machinery, for which employees need specialized training. Make sure all of your employees have access to – and complete – all training for their tasks before you send them out on the job. Be sure to choose a safety training system that can handle customized content for your business’ site-specific needs.
4. Incorporate Safety Into Everything You Do.
Initial training isn’t enough. To truly facilitate a safe work environment, meet regularly to discuss health and safety issues. Don’t turn safety on and off at the door. Encourage employees to share their ideas and thoughts on improving safety in the workplace. Involve employees in hazard recognition and finding injury prevention solutions.
5. Remind Employees Why Safety Matters.
Sometimes, safety training can become abstract. Employees may wonder how the apply to their daily lives. Encourage them to think about the ramifications of a work injury. Do they know someone who’s been injured – maybe a friend, co-worker or loved one? How has that injury impacted his or her quality of life? Staying safe at work means you’re able to do the things you love outside of work, like playing in the softball league, picking up your grandchildren or taking a cross-county vacation. How hard would those activities be with a sore back, a broken arm or, even worse, a fatality? Workplace safety has real applications in everyone’s life. By reminding employees how safety at work can keep them healthy and able to do the things they love at home, training becomes less abstract and more impactful.
Safety training is the number-one way to reduce workplace injuries and promote a safe work culture. When you empower employees to stay safe, not only by providing the training and safety tools they need but also by encouraging them to manage their own safety, you can create a culture of safety throughout your workplace. By implementing a comprehensive training program, you can ensure your employees are empowered to further the safe work culture that will make your company and its employees successful.