It can be easy to cut corners to keep up with a hectic production schedule, especially if you have done so before with no repercussions. However, it only takes one unsafe misstep to result in significant injury, or loss of life.
While most workplaces have put better training, policies, and equipment in place, it's important to make sure these safety measures continue and do not stall. Ultimately, by reiterating the importance of safety, you will be creating a better overall workplace.
You may be wondering, as a leader, how can I reinforce safety, without making it feel like a burden or something else that needs to be done. By having crucial conversations with your employees and putting best practices in place, you can save time while keeping safety top of mind.
Below are five tips to help keep safety a top priority in your workplace
1) Blow the Whistle
Many issues are so common, that sometimes they are completely unseen by safety leaders. It is easy to get complacent and assume that employees understand and follow basic safety measures. This is a dangerous approach, as veteran employees may think they know it all and new employees may not fully understand the basic safety measures they need to follow.
As a safety leader, you should regularly reiterate basic safety measures and share best practices with your team. By bringing up the conversation with your employees and getting the discussion started, you may be able to identify potential unsafe methods that are in place and correct them.
2) Commit to Surveys
If you're serious about establishing accountability, you should regularly survey your employees, either online or during a meeting. Surveys will bring up crucial safety issues and how to work on resolving them. Ask employees how safe they feel and if there are areas in the facility that need to be addressed. Also ask employees how comfortable they are performing their job and if they need additional training. As a safety leader, you cannot be everywhere at all times. Gathering regular feedback provides insight into what is going on in your facility, and with your employees.
3) Make Training Available
Many employees lack the confidence needed to convey issues to their superiors because they aren't sure if they are correct with their notions of safety. They may be unsure whether something is wrong or if they are performing a task incorrectly. Provide proper training that includes both classroom and hands-on learning, so that employees understand the safe way to perform their work. Follow up and provide regular refreshers to ensure employees are retaining the information, and check in to see if additional training is needed. Proper training gives employees the confidence they need to raise a red flag when they identify an issue.
4) Reinforce Accountability
While employees should be held accountable to raise issues and perform their jobs safely, superiors must be held accountable as well. Managers need to make sure employees receive the proper training, and check-in regularly to ensure the material is understood. Managers should also make sure employees are wearing the proper protective equipment and following proper procedures. Holding managers accountable shows that your organization is committed to safety success and builds a culture of safety in your organization.
5) Praise Safety Success
Safety is something that should be celebrated. You should regularly highlight those who have succeeded in making safety a success. This can include employees who have identified a potential issue, departments who have maintained impeccable safety records, or managers who have implemented innovative new safety policies and procedures. Share these success stories with your entire organization to reinforce the positive affects safety can have. This will encourage workers to think about safety and shows that you genuinely appreciate their commitment.
By keeping these tips and practices in mind, you will be able to work towards a safer environment, while keeping safety a top priority.