How to Improve Your Health & Safety Culture in the New Year
Establish Senior Executive Support
Your organizational safety and the effectiveness of your program will drastically improve with support top down. That high-level focus will ensure the right attention and resources needed to create, facilitate and sustain any safety program.
Collect Data to Drive Improvement
An honest, objective assessment of where your current safety program stands needs to be observed to create a plan for improvement. Perception surveys and quantitative measurements including incidence rates, severity rates, OSHA records and employee safety training hours are all great tools to tap into to create a starting point for your programs.
Use our ‘Checklist for Safety Culture’ below to check your safety programs.
Establish a Team and Set Goals
Every ‘program’ needs a leadership team and all Safety Culture needs direction. A team can work together to provide that direction, set goals and ensure an ongoing commitment from all parties involved.
One of the best goals to strive for in your safety programs is ‘The Goal of Zero’.
Identify Safety as a Core Value and Create a Supportive Environment
Policies and procedures need to be implemented to create a supportive environment for your safety culture. Every employee must be willing to make safety a top priority every minute of every day – no exceptions. In some cases, if one person lacks this mentality – it could mean the difference between life and death. It truly must become a core value and the BIGGEST priority in every situation and at the start of every day.
Communicate and Empower
Keep safety top of mind and over communicate. This constant communication reinforces management’s commitment to a health and safety culture as a strategic business objective and core value. Managers should empower employees to communicate with the proper resources and tools necessary to be effective at finding and fixing safety issues.
Evaluate Your Progress
Create processes and procedures to keep track of your progress. Allocate teammates to spearhead constant evaluation of old, new and prospective safety programs. Track both leading and lagging indicators to decide where to focus available resources.
Be sure to use your successes as a catalyst for change and create a reward program for employees who exhibit the desired safety behaviors.
Stay Proactive & Drive Continuous Improvement
Once you perfect your safety programs and you hit that zero mark, remember to continue to keep safety as a priority – it’s important not to become complacent. Always stay proactive! Challenge your employees to look out for near-miss possibilities even when some might not exist.
Setting a monthly goal/incentive that encourages employees to report more potential near-miss risk factors is a way to raise the bar to create a more proactive safety culture.
Checklist for Safety Culture
- There is visible leadership commitment at all levels of the organization
- All employees throughout the organization exhibit a working knowledge of health and safety topics
- There is a clear definition of the desired culture the organization wishes to achieve
- There is a lack of competing priorities – safety comes in first EVERY TIME
- There is visible evidence of a financial investment in health and safety
- Opportunities for improvement are identified and resolved before a problem occurs
- There is a regular, facility-wide communication on health and safety topics
- A fair and just discipline system is in place for ALL employees
- There is meaningful involvement in health and safety from everyone in the organization
- Managers spend an adequate amount of time out on the shop floor
- Participation rates are at an all-time high, indicating that employees are highly motivated and your marketing of health and safety initiatives is effective
- Employees are actively engaged in health and safety initiatives, producing tangible results for your company
- Your employees report high job satisfaction due to the company’s commitment to their health and well-being
- Safety is the first item on the agenda of every meeting
- Employees feel comfortable reporting safety issues to their supervisors
- Regular, detailed audits of the company’s health and safety program are conducted by an external auditor
- Rewards and recognition of good behaviors are regularly given and serve to motivate continued health and safety performance
- Safety is a condition of employment
- Managers and supervisors respond positively to safety issues that are raised
- Safety is viewed as an investment, not a cost
- A high standard exists for accurate and detailed reporting of injuries and illnesses – nothing is swept under the rug
- There is a concrete definition of what success looks like for your health and safety program
- The organization has the willpower to make major changes when necessary
- Safety issues are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner
- All employees throughout the organization are empowered with the necessary resources and authority to find and fix problems as they see them