When we look at improving safety, we may tend to focus on all the activities and outcomes we don’t want. After all, no company wants near misses, injuries, accidents, or fatalities.

But a strong safety culture isn’t just about removing what’s wrong, assigning blame, or merely meeting compliance, either. 

Rather, a strong, proactive safety culture does much more than that, and as a result, everyone sees safety—in a positive sense—as their personal responsibility. We see these cultures and we describe them as places where people take “ownership” of safety.

With this perspective, let’s take a closer look at 4 key areas a safety management system ought to help strengthen and support:

1. A safety management system must reinforce the right behaviors

In order to encourage and support the right values and the right behaviors in an organization, you need visibility into what behaviors are happening today. In other words, in order to support, reinforce, or reward those positive behaviors, you have to have the ability to even identify them to start.

A safety management system should help bring you that visibility. It can help you document what’s been done right, and how that’s changed over time. When that happens, a mentality shift can occur because people can be accountable to the data. That helps them to be accountable to themselves, and to their team. That combination of positive reinforcement and accountability is a formula for employees who are engaged and involved in safety.   

When positive behaviors are accounted for and celebrated with the help of a safety management system, people won’t shy away from responsibility. Instead, people with access to the data will embrace it—and they’ll embrace continuous improvement because they see “what’s in it for them” and how it benefits the team, too.

safety responsibility and accountability

2. A safety management system must help you show worker appreciation

Close related to reinforcement is ensuring you show how much you value and care for each team member. An effective safety management system helps you to do just that. 

Not only should a safety management system show and highlight all the safety activities, but it can help others in the organization know just how much is being done in terms of safety. Through that process, people are much more likely to appreciate the safety program as a whole, as well as team members’ contributions to the program. Plus, when a goal is met, leaders have the opportunity to once again celebrate and show their appreciation, all made much more simple thanks to your safety technology.

3. A safety management system must drive day-to-day involvement in safety   

A safety management system should provide a way to showcase how all the effort you are putting in safety is progressing, and it should show goals or milestones you’ve accomplished, too.

People want to know the changes and the effort they are making is making a positive difference, and an effective safety management system should make that visible. Even small wins are important in any culture because they keep people motivated and energized while working on the larger, long-term objectives.

That means your safety management system should show ROI and improvements that have been made, and even metrics like costs avoided. When people see the process and they see the positive results and accomplishments, it can be extremely powerful in keeping them involved in the effort.

4. A safety management system must encourage personal responsibility for everyday safety

One of the top signs of a strong, proactive safety culture is that every single person wants to take responsibility, themselves, for being safe. Although simplified here, a safety management system supports that in three key ways: 

  • It gives team members the ability to identify, track, and monitor the right safety behaviors and actions;
  • It gives team members the necessary structure and guidance to help them consistently apply safety processes in their role;
  • It gives team members a way to create and drive meaningful change in the organization if and when needed to improve the culture. After all, frontline workers are the ones who can identify (and correct) the issues…and move the numbers. They want to know what the issues are. They want to get better and address the unsafe practices. They want to celebrate the wins as well. Top performers, injury trends, reporting and training compliance, all of it. Safety management technology has to give them a way to do just that.safety management system

Reinforcing What’s Right to Improve Your Safety Culture

A safety management system isn’t just about minimizing or reducing your risks and hazards. And it’s certainly not about assigning blame when mistakes are made.

Rather, a safety management system provides structure, systems, and strategy to help you: reinforce positive beliefs and behaviors that have been expressed in your culture; show worker appreciation; drive deep involvement and engagement in safety; and it should encourage personal responsibility and ownership for everyday safety.

All in all, a safety management system provides a way to showcase the return on investment you are getting from safety. It’s not about documenting to point blame, in the contrary, it’s typically about all the consistent actions and behaviors that are being done right.

Tired of not having your safety data organized or accessible? Looking for a way to empower and equip workers to own everyday safety? Learn more about iReportSource’s safety management system today.