How to build a safety culture
Safety culture refers to the way that safety issues are addressed in the workplace. It often reflects “the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety.”
Good safety culture is promoted by management’s commitment to safety, realistic practices for handling hazards, continuous organizational learning, and care and concern for hazards shared across the workforce.
Studies have found that workplace-related disasters are a result of a breakdown in an organization’s policies and procedures that were established to deal with safety. The breakdown flows from inadequate attention being paid to safety issues by management.
Here are some tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get you started on building a strong safety culture within your organization:
- Define safety responsibilities. Do this for each level within your organization. This should include policies, goals, and plans for the safety culture.
- Share your safety vision. Everyone should be in the same boat when establishing goals and objectives for their safety culture.
- Enforce accountability. Create a process that holds everyone accountable for being visibly involved especially managers and supervisors. They are the leaders for a positive change.
- Provide multiple options. Provide different options for employees to bring their concerns or issues upfront. There should be a chain of command to make sure supervisors are held accountable for being responsive.
- File reports. Educate employees on the importance of reporting injuries, first aids and near hits. Prepare for an increase in incidents if currently there is under-reporting. It will level off eventually.
- Rebuild the investigation system. Evaluating the incident investigation system is critical to making sure investigations are conducted in an effective manner. This should help get to the root cause of accidents and incidents.
- Build trust. When things start to change in the workplace, it is important to keep the waters calm. Building trust will help everyone work together to see improvements.
- Celebrate success. Make your efforts public to keep everyone motivated and updated throughout the process.
RASI SAFETY TV has videos on Safety Culture that you can use to develop your safety culture.
WR Safety Specialist Rick Means is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or [email protected]
Portions of this article are from https://ishm.org/organizational-safety-culture/