We often talk about the importance and benefits of Building a Culture of Safety in the workplace. When you have achieved this objective, it implies that your employees have taken ownership of their actions and care enough to protect themselves and their coworkers by being safe and following safety guidelines. It also implies that safety is valued, practiced and encouraged at the leadership level, which has an important impact on employees, as well as your bottom line.
So why should your leadership team embrace the importance of safety in the workplace?
Profitability: In addition to their social costs, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on your bottom line. It has been estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct worker’s compensation costs alone.
Compliance: The law requires employers to provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. It is important that you ensure compliance with regulations, as the costs of the penalty for serious OSHA violations has risen 78%.
Human Compassion: The belief that preservation and protection of human life supersedes other goods. Don’t underestimate the importance of the human factor when making decisions that protect your employees.
Building an Ethical and Safe Culture
It is widely believed that the predominant motive driving safety leaders is a deep sense that it is the right thing to do. It is viewed that a Culture of Safety offers a natural starting point for building an ethical organization.
Dr. Thomas R. Krause, PhD has identified the following five key cultural factors predictive of positive ethical and safety outcomes:
Procedural justice – If leaders seem to be making decisions in fair ways, workers assume they can follow instructions without fear of mistreatment.
Open and candid upward communications – In an environment where supervisors and other leaders respond well to communications from lower down in the organization – even to bad news – ethical issues are more likely to surface before they become a crisis.
Inclination of workers to approach peers on sensitive issues – A leader can foster a culture where it is acceptable and expected that employees approach each other about difficult issues surrounding safety, ethics and other critical areas.
Perceived organizational support for espoused values – When employees see their leaders demonstrate a commitment to stated values, they are more likely to respond in kind.
Management credibility – Employees who see their managers as credible are more likely to take personal responsibility for their performance and support new initiatives.
Leading With Safety
A safety culture needs strong top-down support, good communication, established processes and built-in accountability. OSHA recommends defining safety responsibilities throughout the organization, developing measures, teaming management with supervisors and employees through shared safety and health vision and goals, and making everyone accountable for involvement in safety.
Safety responsibilities can be written into job descriptions and performance evaluations and accident rates should be recorded and communicated. A safety mission and goal statement should be developed and published where everyone can view it. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and working together toward a common goal.
Creating a Culture of Safety within your organization begins as the right thing to do and ends with tangible proof (less accidents) that doing the right thing every time is ALWAYS the right thing to do.
Arbill protects nearly 400,000 employees every day and we can help you build a Culture of Safety in your organization. To take the first step, contact an Arbill Safety Expert today, and learn the ways we can help you.
Have a safe day!