Some of the key aspects of an effective safety culture:
- Management commitment: this commitment produces higher levels of motivation and concern for health and safety throughout the organisation. It is indicated by the proportion of resources (time, money, people) and support allocated to health and safety management and by the status given to health and safety versus production, cost etc. The active involvement of senior management in the health and safety system is very important.
- Visible management: Managers must lead by example when it comes to health and safety. Good managers appear regularly on the ‘shop floor’, talk about health and safety and visibly demonstrate their commitment by their actions – such as wearing the correct PPE, or stopping production to resolve issues. Management must be perceived as sincerely committed to safety.
- Good communication at all levels. Organisations with a positive safety culture are characterised by communications founded on mutual trust, shared perceptions of the importance of safety, and confidence in preventive measures effectiveness. In a positive safety culture, the topic of health and safety should be part of everyday work conversations. Management should listen actively to what employees are telling them and act on their suggestions/comments.
- Employee engagement. Meaningful employee engagement in safety is essential to build ownership of safety at all levels and utilize the unique knowledge that employees have of their own work. This includes active involvement in inspections, safety observations, workshops, risk assessments, plant design etc. Safety success tends to produce more success. Safety culture is the catalyst that drives this phenomenon.
- Recognition and reward: Positive safety behaviours should be recognized and rewarded. These awards should motivate continued health and safety performance. Employees value “Recognition of a job well done” – do they get enough?
- Opportunities for improvement: are identified and resolved before a problem occurs. Proactive organizations identify issues before they become costly problems and injuries. Are you proactively finding risk factors and putting control measures in place?
Remember, safety is a condition of employment and is not negotiable. Every employee deserves to feel safe every day, and by encouraging safety in the workplace, you are contributing to the overall safety of employees! Reduce negative impact and keep workers safe by initiating and supporting Safety Culture Excellence today!