Creating a positive safety culture is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your workplace. For starters, you can begin to proactively reduce injuries rather than reactively handling incidents. Establishing an entire culture isn’t an easy task, though. And we all know that it’s generally far easier for something to be destroyed than to be created. That’s why you need to make sure you’re making a serious effort to do things the right way and guarantee that your safety culture is getting off to a great start.
A fatal accident occurs on a construction site roughly once every ten minutes (source). A culture of safety on each of those construction sites can help to drastically reduce that number. You don’t just want a safety culture, though; you want an awesome, effective safety culture, right? So what are some of the key elements that you need to keep in mind when establishing a successful and positive safety culture in your workplace?
1. Shared Values
The very foundation of every successful safety culture is a set of shared values at every level. This includes clearly defined safety standards as well as the attitudes related to safety procedures. From the newest employee to the CEO, every single person must be aligned with these values in order to maintain an impactful safety culture.
2. Leadership Involvement
Lower-level employees may be the ones out on the work floor dealing with the occupational hazards and the associated safety requirements, but without the involvement of your company’s leadership, there really can’t be a company-wide safety culture. Leadership should be involved in decision-making, training, and communications that relate to safety. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page, that lower-level management has the support they need, to boost morale, and many other important benefits.
3. Continuous Learning
Safety training isn’t the only component of a great safety culture, but it is a vital one. And safety training isn’t a “one and done” type of thing. Employees and management alike should be constantly learning and growing on the job, both to improve themselves and to advance the workplace with the most effective safety procedures. Offer additional training or educational materials for interested employees, and consider promoting learning opportunities with incentives or some type of recognition.
You can’t expect to establish a culture in your workplace with strong values and goals without including some way of holding everyone accountable for the success of the culture. It’s a team effort, and every member makes a difference. With that in mind, you need to decide how you’re going to recognize success and improve in the areas that need it. Employees who don’t bring a positive attitude and a sincere effort to your safety culture are like poison in a well.
5. Constant Support
One of the absolute best tools you can give your team is support. Your company’s culture depends on the commitment of every single team member, so you need to support every single team member in their efforts. Supporting your employees means recognizing their efforts, assisting with problems, listening to concerns, setting a positive example, and just being a constant advocate for a culture of safety.