SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Creating a safety culture

construction worker looking off in the distance

(Part three of three)

In the first segment of this blog, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focused on ideas to strengthen your safety program and encourage employees to take part in the process.  This final segment addresses the importance of creating a safety culture within your organization.

Involving all employees in the pursuit of safe practices and holding regular training sessions are part of a comprehensive mind-set that some call a safety culture. This culture takes into account more than just having a safety program; it calls into play goals that each company should set and strive to maintain. These goals should be specific and measurable, such as increasing the number (set a goal number) of man-hours worked without a lost-time accident.

Goal setting photo of sticky note

 

Once safety goals are determined:

  • Make sure all employees understand them and work to achieve these goals every day, every shift.
  • Document the progress of each goal.
  • Inform everyone in the company of how well they are meeting the stated goals. When a goal is met, reward employees in some meaningful way.

Employee leadership

While each employee should be trained in and held accountable for safety procedures, it’s still the company’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. In addition to an overall safety expert, each jobsite should have someone who is responsible for consistently checking potentially hazardous conditions. This means before, during and after each shift. This person is generally referred to as a “competent person” by OSHA standards. In addition to checking the site conditions, this designee should also inspect workers’ gear, such as hard hats, safety glasses and clothing, for potential defects that could contribute to an incident.

The future will likely bring more safety rules and potential legislation aimed at stiffening penalties for businesses that fail to put safety ahead of productivity. If you incorporate good safety practices now, you can ready your organization for any potential incidents as well as stricter legal guidelines.

By implementing proven safety practices, you cut the risk of lost time and costly accidents significantly. Spending the resources to provide a safe work environment will lead to higher quality, better production, less turnover as well as lower insurance and workers’ compensation rates. All of which will put more money in your pocket in the long run.

If you missed previous posts in this series, check them out:

Part one: SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Proactive safety approach boosts productivity and provides a competitive edge

Part two: SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Safety is a team effort

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