National Safety Month gives another opportunity for putting the focus on safety, not just in the workplace, but throughout communities and even within our homes.
No doubt many resources and tips will be shared this month. We wanted to step back and look at 5 realities that can help you continue to have safety as a strategic priority and company value—not just this month, but every month.
Reality #1: Communication is key for bringing safety policies to life.
So much can be said about policies and procedures around safety. But what about how safety procedures and policies are communicated? Are they clearly defined? Are they even up to date? And are they specific and relevant to each worker based on her job site or job duties?
The last thing you want to do is have people “wing it” or hand someone a binder that’s irrelevant, outdated, or something that can’t be taken seriously or fully utilized. Generally speaking, the clearer you can get on policies and processes, the better off you’ll be!
Reality #2: Your incentive program isn’t helping your safety efforts.
Far too often, incentive systems are based on injuries alone. If that sounds similar or close to your program, you may have a problem. That’s because when incentives are solely focused on the number of injuries, you might be unintentionally discouraging people from reporting those near-misses, injuries, or illnesses.
Instead, continually identify and reward or reinforce the right, desired behaviors. Ideally, you want to reward people as individuals but you also want to reward teams. Behavior-based incentives are much more effective at reinforcing a proactive, positive safety culture, so move away from incentives based on injuries alone.
Reality #3: You must “give trust away” first to build mutual respect.
Are you implementing a new way of working, or maybe it’s a more clearly defined process? Or perhaps you are doing your best to improve how you handle safety?
Or…maybe you’re delivering some bad news to a team? Come from a place of empathy, show them you have compassion, and always “give away” trust and respect to your team.
That may be easier said than done, but it helps to build the relationship you’ll need no matter where your organization is at with safety today.
Reality #4: Be aware of your “ignore it for now” culture.
What are your employees’ expectations around enforcing safety policies? Can they expect the same kind of behavior each and every time something happens in the workplace?
Just think: if 49.9 percent of the time you enforce safety and the other 50.1 percent of the time you don’t, your employees will conflate your “ignore it for now” culture with your actual policies, and you will be in trouble when you decide to enforce your policies.
Take a hard, honest look at the realities of your culture and you can start really improving safety today.
Reality #5: Your safety program lacks the consistency it needs.
A factor that can be linked to the last reality: this concept of consistency.
One of the top factors that can contribute to or worsen complacency in a company is a lack of consistency. That lack of consistency can be in your processes, in policies, how you run safety meetings, how you fulfill compliance requirements, or just in everyday safety efforts in general. Sometimes a lack of consistency is rooted in a lack of organization.
If you feel projects, processes, or policies lack consistency, it’s time to create a predictable process for people to follow when it comes to all your safety-related activities.
This is also one of the most effective ways you can see a dramatic reduction in your number and cost of incidents, and—of course—your claims, too! Once you have consistency and this added “structure,” you will vastly improve your root cause analysis. Plus, your ability to see the “why” behind what’s happening in your company will also be improved.
Avoid Complacency & Improve Safety with iReportSource
Designed to help you lower costs and save time, iReportSource helps you avoid complacency and create consistent, organized ways to manage and improve safety. Plus, with iReport, you can reinforce behavior-based safety practices and stay OSHA compliant by providing an easy way to do safety audits, site inspections, and much more.