Every year, June 1st marks the beginning of National Safety Month,
an important initiative from the National Safety Council to raise awareness of the causes of preventable injuries and fatalities. This year’s theme is Keep Each Other Safe, which drives home a key point: we all have a part to play in workplace safety. In this blog we’re going to expand a bit on this message and discuss how you can keep everyone in your company safe by creating a strong safety culture.
Safety Culture: What Is It?
A safety culture is part of an organization’s overall corporate culture and encompasses the collective attitudes, beliefs, values and perceptions employees share about safety in the workplace. Safety culture couldn’t be a hotter topic among EHS professionals right now and for good reason: according to OSHA, creating a safety culture has the greatest impact on reducing workplace incidents and injuries.
But when it comes to developing the safety culture at your company, EHS managers need to be strategic about the type of culture they want to build and promote. In our experience at eCompliance, we’ve seen hundreds of companies across construction, mining, manufacturing and other high-risk industries build strong safety cultures by boosting employee engagement and increasing company-wide participation in safety activities.
3 Steps to Build Your Safety Culture
So you’ve established that you want to build a strong safety culture in order to reduce risk, prevent incidents and achieve safety excellence. But, how do you do it? Where do you even start? Below are 3 steps to help get your participation-focused safety culture off the ground:
1. Secure Buy-In and Alignment
The first step to creating your safety culture is securing buy-in from both senior management and the field level employees who will be most active in day to day safety activities. To keep everyone safe, all employees from the top-down need to be on the same page, understand the value of safety and why it must be everyone’s top priority. One way to do this is to set company-wide safety goals and targets that are measurable and transparent. Employees will be more invested in participating in your safety culture if they know they are directly contributing to large-scale company goals. If everyone isn’t bought in and aligned on these goals, your safety culture won’t flourish.
Related: Why You Should Invest in a Strong Culture
2. Commit to Participate
After you’ve set your safety goals, it’s time to get everyone’s commitment to participate in your safety culture and EHS program every day. This includes making sure everyone in your company is a bona fide safety expert – trained to complete inspections, report hazards, communicate safety performance with management and speak up if they catch a colleague engaging in unsafe behavior or taking unnecessary risks.
3. Celebrate Success Regularly
Your employees want to feel valued at work and be recognized for doing a job well done. This is true no matter which department or industry you work in. Use your safety meetings and toolbox talks to not only discuss hazards and other safety parameters, but to also review your team’s win list and celebrate milestones. Your team has closed out 500 corrective actions or gone 400 days without a lost-time incident? Recognize and reward this positive safety behavior. Celebrate with a department-wide lunch or another fun activity your team would love. Acknowledging your team’s good work lets them know they’re appreciated and keeps them motivated to continue to work safely and look out for each other.
Learn More About Safety Culture
To learn more about how you can improve your safety culture, check out our recent webinar with safety expert Bryan McWhorter and the team at Safeopedia.