During my many years as a safety administrator, I’ve seen and heard things that made me wonder why people take short cuts when it comes to their safety. I used to hear supervisors tell their employees, “We want you to go home in the same shape you came to work”. Then I heard employees answer, “If that’s the truth why isn’t our safety your priority”. Sometimes our words have no meaning especially when we don’t back them up with action.
Let me ask the hard questions. How is your company’s safety record? Do your employees trust your commitment to their safety? Are you using empty words and phrases just so you can hear yourself say them? Have you taken a good look at the condition of your company’s safety culture? Do you have one?
Today’s economy demands that you make every dollar count. Your company can’t afford accidents.
Improving the safety culture of your organization can be accomplished by following a few basic steps:
Evaluate job hazards. You may call this a Job Safety Analysis(JSA) or Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). Determine the hazards your employees could encounter and provide them with engineering controls, administrative controls, and as a last resort personal protective equipment to keep them safe.
Establish written environmental, health, and safety plans. Identify federal, state, and local regulations that apply to your business. For example, Confined Space, Lockout/Tagout, Respiratory Protection.
Plan the work and follow the plan. Make sure everyone understands what they need to do.
Safety talks. Conduct relevant safety talks often and allow employees to ask questions.
Train your employees. They must understand the regulations and how your plan will protect them. Don’t forget to document all training.
Create a safety committee. Employees will take ownership of a program if they are invited to contribute.
Investigate accidents and also your close calls or near misses.
Reward safe performance. Keep the rewards simple. A few good examples would be some type of recognition, a breakfast or small gift certificate, something that shows your appreciation for their practicing safety. Unfortunately, we must also recognize unsafe acts. Before you exercise sever disciplinary action try to find the reason for the action. If necessary, remember the unpleasant part of your job is to enforce the rules.
Lead by example. Probably the most effective step is to lead by example. Management must comply with the rules. No exceptions. Wear hard hats (properly), eye protection, and hearing protection in designated areas.
Improving your company’s safety culture is a slow process but worth your time and effort. United Alliance Services provides OSHA consulting services in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Let our professionals assist you in assuring your operations are in full compliance with occupational heath and safety regulations. To request more information on how we can help click here.