How to Promote Safety Culture in Your Workplace
In a recent survey, 82% of employees said their workplace safety is more important than ever. This means companies should be looking for ways to improve safety management in the workplace. It’s vital that your employees feel comfortable in their working environment. This is important if you want to increase productivity and encourage new people to work for your company.
But what is safety culture?
As more people are prioritizing well-being at work, the need for safe spaces is increasing. If this is your first time learning about safety culture, you’re not alone. Lots of companies are struggling to introduce zero-harm policies. Plus, following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards is difficult.
This article will guide you through the different aspects of safety culture. Starting with the best strategies for workplaces. Then, you’ll discover how to use online tools to create safe workspaces for employees.
What Is Safety Culture?
The term “safety culture” is well-known amongst businesses, from small to large organizations. Many people assume that safety culture is limited to workplace injuries and unsafe acts. But, it goes beyond the physical environment.
For example, mental health is a huge part of safety culture. If an employee is suffering from stress that’s work-related, the employer has a responsibility to limit excessive pressure. Otherwise, stress can lead to unexpected injuries, absences, and a decline in staff productivity.
In the past, businesses did not make mental health a part of their safety culture. Now, studies show that 91% of people believe that organizations should support mental health.
Besides mental health, other areas of safety culture include hazards and training. If a business hires staff members without the correct training, this is considered a safety risk. For instance, this is particularly important if you work in industries that use heavy machinery. Or if you are exposed to harsh weather conditions at work.
But, defining safety culture is not straightforward. So, it’s important to learn about the key components of safety culture to help you maintain a welcoming space for employees.
The Key Elements to Safety Culture
Communication can either make or break your business. If you have a great channel of communication with your employees, you can share regular feedback. And you can address concerns. This keeps staff members happy at work. But, if your communication methods aren’t effective, you can face unexpected complaints and safety issues.
Clear Communication With Employees
In general, communication should be a regular part of your interaction with employees. Whether that means hosting weekly check-in sessions or sending a company email. It’s essential that all members of a business are in communication. New employees should always feel comfortable talking to management about their safety concerns.
Depending on the size of your company, you can hire a communications officer who can assess your company and suggest changes for the future. This will ensure that you have the best methods of communication and open culture for discussion.
Provide the Best Training
You can’t expect a new employee to know everything about safety standards, which is why you need to provide the best training to your staff. Even if you have employees who have worked for your business for years, regular training will ensure that they are up-to-date with current policies.
And it will provide the opportunity to learn new skills and challenge their knowledge of safety in the workplace. After training sessions, you should also follow up with surveys to observe if the training has been successful.
Management Needs to Be Involved
In any organization, there’s also a risk that people feel intimidated by management staff. If employees don’t see management having an active role in safety culture, they will be less motivated to follow guidelines. It’s crucial that management make suggestions and take part in meetings with employees.
When people see that management takes safety culture seriously, it shows that the business is committed to making the workplace comfortable for all levels of the company. It also encourages people to report issues or give feedback in the future.
Reporting Hazards Regularly
Reporting hazards is key to ensuring that workplaces are free from injury risks. The only way to keep your work environment secure is to regularly check for hazards and report them to the right staff. You should remind your employees about the policies for reporting hazards and demonstrate how to fill in the relevant paperwork.
Then, it’s the responsibility of management to read and act on these hazards.
Tips for Promoting Safety Culture
Now that we’ve covered the basic components of safety culture, how do you implement these values in a workplace?
First, you need to set the right tone with your employees. The secret to ensuring that you have a great working culture is to lead by example and show employees that you stand by the company values. You need to be transparent about your process and follow through on policies.
Keep To Your Safety Promises
When you initiate a new safety policy, it’s important that you keep to your word and implement it into the business. But, many businesses don’t delegate this task to one employee, and they can forget about it. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a health and safety employee to be in charge of recording and updating policies.
This will ensure that you don’t overlook important details about safety culture. So you can continue to provide clear guidelines to your staff.
Hiring one or two people to take over this role will also give staff members direct contact with someone in the department. So they can go straight to them if they run into problems at work.
You can also develop company videos or other materials to give employees that cover the main elements of your safety culture. This provides reference material for new staff to remember and keeps current workers up-to-date with your policies.
Actively Involve Workers
There’s nothing worse than going to work and feeling like you’re not being listened to by your manager. It can leave employees feeling unmotivated and undervalued, so that they might look elsewhere for a job.
Even though having a health and safety officer is beneficial, it’s equally important to create a safety culture committee amongst your employees. This is a great way to involve your staff members and listen to their ideas for new safety procedures. Plus, you can use this committee as an opportunity to talk with all levels of the organization.
For instance, you can plan monthly meetings where management, employees, and other staff members come together to discuss the latest plans for safety culture. This creates a strong foundation for the future of your business if you can show that you want to involve your employees at every stage.
Some employees might feel more comfortable discussing worries with other colleagues. Therefore, having both an officer and a committee will give everyone a space to talk about safety culture.
Hire Staff Members That Want to Contribute
Creating an effective safety culture starts with every member of the business, so during the hiring process, you should ask new candidates about their workplace practices. You want to ensure that employees reflect your company goals of inclusion, safety, and encouragement.
So, you need to have employees that will help your business grow and find new ways to make work safe for everyone.
Provide the Right Equipment
For people working in industries that require special equipment, it’s vital that you give all staff members the right personal protective equipment when they show up for their work day. You should plan your annual budget carefully, so equipment is included in your expenses.
This will give employees a safe environment to complete their job without worrying about their health.
Here are some examples of the most common safety equipment on work premises:
- Fire extinguishers
- PPE clothing
- Fire alarms
- Smoke detectors
- Eye protective goggles
- Face masks
But, you should always look at government guidelines for your organization before making any purchases of equipment.
What Are the Hurdles of Safety Culture?
If you’ve already followed these tips for implementing good safety culture practices in the workplace, but your employees still have concerns. Or you’ve seen an increase in work-related accidents; you need to reflect on your policies.
One main obstacle to having a good safety culture at work is if your leadership is not fulfilling their role to their best ability. As mentioned earlier, all levels of your business should be involved in making your workplace a safe and welcoming space. So, if leadership is absent and not active in safety procedures, it will reduce employee satisfaction.
This is when you should consider hiring a new manager. But you can also promote a staff member that has been involved with safety culture. You must look out for people who have built good relationships with other colleagues, hosted events, and expressed interest in leading new policies.
You need to stay relevant to your safety culture policies. This means replacing management if it’s no longer working for your current procedures.
Self-Accountability Is Lacking
It’s up to your employees to learn from training, follow procedures, and reflect on their own behavior at work. But, if you have a group of staff that aren’t taking ownership over mistakes such as leaving hazards on the work floor, then it’s time to have a meeting.
Discussing with individual employees who have struggled with safety culture will help you identify issues and determine if it’s a company-wide problem. Letting workers talk with you and express their concerns will ensure that they feel heard at work. Then, it’s more likely that they will follow guidelines if they feel valued in their roles.
If people don’t feel comfortable talking, you can also offer written surveys or place a forum on an online work portal for people to leave comments. The most important thing is that you make communication accessible to all your employees.
Not Monitoring Safety Policies
Initiating new safety policies is the easiest part of transforming your company culture, but for your new guidelines to work, you need to monitor the progress. If you don’t track how training is going for new staff or have regular catch-up meetings, you won’t be able to notice issues when they arise.
Then, you’ll have to deal with sudden problems in the middle of a work week. Thankfully, online software and management tools can help you keep on top of your safety culture strategies without losing quality. There are many options available online that can help you with inventory, hazard reporting, and employee management.
So, you need to make the most of your resources!
Combine Mental and Physical Safety
Ultimately, you must foster a healthy environment that blends both the practical and mental health aspects of workplace safety. You can organize events outside of work, like company lunches or day trips, to give employees a break from their work routine.
You can also provide incentives for training that inspires people to take new courses and develop their skills for career growth. Showing your employees that you care about their overall health will create a holistic environment where everyone can work productively and happily.
But you need to keep to your promises and lead by example if you want to see real change. To begin with, gather feedback and start brainstorming ways to improve the safety culture for your staff. As long as you stick with a strategy, you’ll see happier faces arriving at work.
Put Safety First With Online Tools
Safety culture involves all aspects of your employee’s well-being. From their mental health to their protective personal equipment. It’s useful to find ways to organize the practical aspects without losing time. Technology helps us manage teams and track inventory, which is why our platform is designed with safety culture components at its core.
You can use our platform to plan inventory, check government safety guidelines, and report hazards in the workplace.
It has everything you need to improve your business. Check it out here and get in touch if you have any questions!