Creating a Safety-Conscious Culture

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By Lee Hurley

When my son was 15 and learning to drive I would sit in the passenger seat nervous as a cat while he drove around. Perhaps the thing I stressed the most was, even if you are doing the right thing you always prepare for someone else not to do the right thing. Even if you have checked and turned your blinker on and it’s absolutely okay to turn right at the green light, it’s still very important to see if someone else is going to stop. The same holds true with safety in the workplace. You are only as safe as your weakest link in the chain. Consider these four points as you challenge your team to create a safety-conscious work environment.

Make safety a priority for everyone

Creating a safety-conscious culture is just as much as about what you do as what signs you post. Paul Simpson keeps a red filing cabinet in his J.R. Simplot’s office in Fresno, California so that everyone in his sphere will know exactly where to go when someone needs a regulation or safety procedure. And he stresses that fact regularly.

Revisit your incentive program

Have you ever had your car serviced when at the very end the service manager begs you for 5 stars and you give it to him to avoid embarrassment? Sometimes rewards can hide the truth. As one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, Derek Irvine says, most good companies  offer some sort of reward or incentive for safe behavior to encourage less accidents  but his advice is to work harder to create a transparent atmosphere to “reinforce desired behaviors.”   Irvine suggests a strategic safety program to encourage co-recognition when employees show proper behavior which is in line with the company’s values.

K.I.S.S. We all know the acronym “Keep It Simple Stupid”

Never has it been more applicable than here. Your plan can surpass War and Peace in brilliant prose and length but if no one has time to slog through it then it has no meaning. Keep your plan practical, usable and rational. Keep in mind those reading it don’t have your experience or training in regulations and safety. Make it something everyone can use.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice

Creating a safety-conscious is about repetition and practice. Determine a few core principles and state them, then restate them, then state them again. Repeat, rinse, wash, repeat. And share stories of failures in other companies while sharing success in your own. And by all means, just like an airline flight, put the mask on your own face before putting it on the person next to you.


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Tags: Employers, Automation Personnel Services, Improve Workplace Safety, Recruiting, Safety, Safety At Work