If you’re like most business owners or managers, you spend your days (and probably nights, too) working on and thinking about ways to reduce risk in your workplace. Unfortunately, all of it can come to naught without one thing your workers need to develop: A sense of safety awareness.
Without it, workers won’t wear their personal protective equipment (PPE), or won’t wear it properly. They won’t make full use of the safety features built into their equipment. And they won’t observe basic rules, such as those of good housekeeping, that can prevent accidents. Without safety awareness, workers might be thinking about production, their compensation, or tonight’s softball game — but not about safety on the job.
Here are four ways to instill safety awareness in your workplace.
- Develop a Safety Manual. This book given to new workers on day one, says NIFB, should “pool safety information from department managers, equipment and tool manufacturers, and workplace safety experts,” and should include “startup and lockdown procedures, types of activity to avoid at work, and proper attire for operating equipment.”
- Name a Safety Champion. Appoint one employee in each department or work area to research and report on safety at regular safety or department meetings. It’s often amazing how workers take to this responsibility. In one organization the safety coordinator, as he’s called, subscribes to safety magazines and continually contacts safety organizations to bring his co-workers the best and latest information. The gratitude he receives from colleagues is his only payment for this work.
- Hold a Safety Event. Encourage employees to plan and carry out safety demonstrations or create exhibits for these events, which can be either freestanding or part of larger company gatherings. This as an ideal time to hold contests or distribute safety awards. You can also invite guest speakers from vendors or safety or trade associations.
- Build Safety into Employee Communications. Every employee contact, from daily e-mails to paycheck stuffers to newsletters, should stress workplace safety. In fact, the more you focus on safety, the more it will become a core value for your organization. Don’t forget posters, and how to display them properly. This means locating safety messages so they’re not lost in a sea of EEOC and Wage and Hour announcements. Make sure that these messages get priority placement in work areas and aren’t covered by other postings as time passes.
For guidelines on creating and nurturing a sense of safety awareness in your workforce that can reduce the risk of accident or injury (and keep your insurance premiums under control), feel free to get in touch with one of our risk management professionals.