The risk management firm PMA Companies recently released a report, Six Steps to a Safer Workforce: Building Accountability as an Essential Element for Injury Prevention in the Healthcare Industry. According to the report, a safety program that includes top-management commitment, as well as accountability for safety at every level of the business, will help optimize productivity, keep employees safe and healthy, and reduce costs
Although PMA wrote the report for healthcare firms, these guidelines apply to any industry and any workplace.
- Create a safety environment that begins with top management and focuses on actions.
- Demonstrate your commitment. Implement a zero-tolerance policy for violations, as well as a strong safety program led by mid-level supervisors. Create a system of accountability for safety that includes effective documentation, thorough training and communication, and follow-through on safety rules Make sure that all parties involved hold each other accountable. Accountability goes beyond performing the tasks assigned to given roles, and involves ensuring that everyone performs their roles safely. This approach will make employees and managers more vigilant in seeking opportunities to improve processes that increase safety.
- Focus on unit leaders. Your program should include buy-in and participation by mid-level managers and supervisors, who are largely responsible maintaining a culture of safety in the workplace. Address not only unsafe employee behavior, but also the consequences failures by managers and supervisors to enforce policies
- Give managers authority to take actions to improve safety, whether that involves using safer materials or equipment or changing work practices or schedules.
- Measure safety. Use reliable loss trend data to set unit-based safety goals.
- Encourage safety-minded decisions. To integrate effective decision-making into the regular performance of employees, train them to identify the safest solution and hold them accountable for doing so asks.
The report concludes by saying: “The benefits of greater employee safety can be profound. Studies show that employee satisfaction increases and employee turnover decreases when organizations are committed to providing a safe work environment.” Amen.