No matter the industry within which you operate or the size of your business, there are likely to be risks prevalent throughout the organisation.
Some will relate to personal injury through misuse of equipment, while others might be prominent fire hazards. Whatever they are, you need to ensure your staff remain vigilant at all times.
A great way to do this is to foster a workplace culture that thinks safety-first.
This is a lot easier than you might expect, which is why we’ve decided to put together our four favourite tips for ensuring your employees put their own and their colleagues’ safety before anything else.
Before working on your culture of safety, you need to know what you’re dealing with.
How dangerous is your workplace? More importantly, what inherent risks are being ignored or are yet to be discovered?
By performing an initial, baseline assessment you can highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your business and work out where you need to improve.
Involve every member of the team in the assessment and, if necessary, bring in an expert to help.
There’s nothing quite like leading from the top in order to encourage employees to think safety-first, but that task shouldn’t lie solely with the management team.
A safety champion can be someone from any area of the business, no matter their position on the company tree.
He or she should be knowledgeable about existing safety procedures and programs, have been fully involved in the baseline assessment and demonstrate a desire to promote the benefits of thinking safety-first.
Find that person and make them your safety champion.
Sure, you can sit your employees in a classroom for a day and expect them to learn all they’ll ever need to know about workplace safety, but will it stick?
Constant employee education on safety and what it means to be part of a safety-first culture is vital. Alongside the aforementioned classroom training, make other forms available, be it online content or one-to-one mentoring.
The use of safety visuals on staff notice boards and flyers or downloadable booklets via email will also work wonders.
Perhaps the most effective way to gain employee buy-in to your new safety-first culture is to involve them at every turn.
Beyond the training, look to implement programs where you reward people for identifying and making management aware of inherent risks.
You can also actively involve employees in improving workplace safety by seeking their advice and opinion on how the business could best mitigate risk.
Whenever an employee has a positive impact on the safety performance of the business – no matter how large or small – make a big deal of it. Promote how effective their contribution has been and ensure every other member of the team has the opportunity to see and be inspired by it.
This will take time – make no doubt about it – but it’s some of the best time you’ll spend as a business.
After all, a safe working environment is a happy, productive working environment!
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