One Friday afternoon, Dan and Bob, two workers in a factory, are catching up about their weekend plans. Dan shares with Bob that he’s taking a vacation with the family that weekend and in order to do so needs to leave work early. That’s no problem, he says, because he’s finished early. Bob thinks about that for a second before realizing that Dan is almost always done before him, and his production numbers are comparable. Bob asks for advice from Dan on speeding up his efficiency. Dan then explains that he “Doesn’t really bother” with some of the safety procedures, stating that he’s never had a problem not using gloves and that vacuuming down a workstation after every single use is a waste of time. Bob is concerned about both Dan and other workers’ safety, and brings his concerns to you.
The Importance of a Safety Culture
The above situation illustrates that you have an issue with your “safety culture.” Safety culture is the overall attitude taken on by managers, workers, and your business as a whole with regards to the importance of safety. Usually, this importance is weighed against the importance of production and efficiency, and those two factors win out over safety. In actuality, studies have shown that workplaces with a strong safety culture are usually the more efficient in the long run because A) managers and employees juggling two goals are more likely to find innovative solutions that accommodate for both safety and production and B) the lack of incidents, injuries, and subsequent investigations due to unsafe practices don’t hold you up down the road when something goes wrong.
How can I Improve our Safety Culture?
So, you’ve clearly got a leak in your safety culture, but how can you make employees like Dan value safety as much as they need to? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Tony, Good Advice!
A safety culture is the reflection of all individuals and groups within an organization with the same attitudes, norms, and behaviors, giving priority of and commitment to safety as their number one objective.
When you have a strong safety culture, the following benefits have been seen time and time again including increased productivity, efficiency, improved employee performance, the company’s image, and moral. These benefits don’t happen over night, but when you have a workforce that’s willing to adopt the proper beliefs, the sky is the limit.
Kyle Holland, fellow blogger at Creative Safety Supply
- How To Improve Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry
- Four ways to Make Workplace Safety Your New Year’s Resolution
- How to Keep Your Safety Operations Positive
- Becoming the Creator of Your Workplace Safety
- A Conversation on How to be an Effective Safety Professional
- The Side Effects of Safety: Why Being Safe Is Worth So Much More