What is your organization’s safety culture? Do you have one? If so, how do you make the most of it in promoting a safe work environment? In Alaska, we see the nation’s highest rate of workers’ compensation cases. Simply put, we live in a risky state with risky industries, which means that a workplace culture oriented around safety is an important asset for Alaskan companies.
Keep in mind, creating or reinvigorating your company’s safety culture takes an active commitment from management and employees alike. While this is not a comprehensive guide, we’ve compiled a quick list of 4 things to consider when thinking about your safety culture at work:
- Buy-in is key.
If you want to have a successful set of safety protocol and have employees follow them, it’s important to create buy-in. Employees and management should be on the same page and feel they have context and reasoning behind safety culture and protocol. Make sure you’re articulating expectations and, as much as possible, the reason behind them. This is one step to encouraging people to follow and promote your company’s safety culture.
- Use tangible reminders.
When it comes to promoting any sort of company culture, visual symbols and reminders are an important piece of instilling values. Consider posting lists of words, phrases, or acronyms that are short and memorable. These reminders and symbols should be placed in easily visible or high-traffic areas around your company. Consider also distributing nametags or badges stating your safety standards. Either of these options provides quick, accessible reminders for employees and guests.
- Use drug testing.
Healthy, safe employees are clean employees. According to drugabuse.gov, 67.9 % of drug users are employed, increasing the likelihood of drug use on the job. If you have employees operating heavy machinery or other equipment, drug use creates substantially more risk for a workplace incident. So, to mitigate this risk you’ll want to make sure you’re drug testing your current or potential employees.
- Provide resources.
If you expect compliance from employees, then you’ll need to allocate considerable time and money toward creating and maintaining your safety culture. While this may be a more challenging task to accomplish, both your employees and your company will reap the benefits.
Creating a culture of workplace safety is not done overnight. It takes time, a well-thought out strategy, and a commitment from management to promote it. By working hard to instill the safety culture you want to see, you can help mitigate workplace hazards. Ultimately, you’ll have greater assurance your employees are committed to keeping themselves and their co-workers safe on the job. For a more comprehensive look at Safety Culture, visit OSHA’s website.