6 Key Components of a Safety Culture
Safety is a vital tool for business owners to protect their employees. It’s also necessary to safeguard the company’s bottom line, reduce losses, and achieve and maintain compliance. To ensure this safety is achieved companywide, a culture of safety must be established.
However, a true and effective culture of safety is present only if and when each and every employee, no matter the level, is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe work environment.
The following is an overview of the six key components of a safety culture.
- Leadership Commitment & Investment
The executive team must set the tone by making safety a top priority, factoring it into bottom-line goals, and ensuring their own commitment is clearly visible. They should provide the resources – time, money and personnel – to achieve results, and be actively involved in safety program activities alongside employees. Supervisors and managers must lead by example and ensure that workers are trained or certified, as appropriate.
- Empowered Employees
All employees must be personally responsible and accountable for workplace safety. For this to happen, they must feel empowered and comfortable reporting unsafe conditions and providing suggestions for improvement without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment or discrimination.
Interested in more detail on each of these components? Check out our complete Safety Culture Toolkit here.
Methods to Identify & Control Hazards
A concrete and proactive process to find and fix workplace hazards is essential to a culture of safety. An excellent place to start is by conducting a comprehensive safety assessment. Additionally, and more specific to individual tasks and rolls, is completing a Job Safety Analysis (JSA). These inspections should be completed periodically or every time there is a change in equipment or processes that could impact safety.
- Safety Policies & Procedures
In addition to stating the purpose and goals of your safety program, your policies and procedures should reflect the particular needs of your workplace. They must be stated in clearly understandable terms, and the reason for them should be explained. Ensure they are reviewed at least annually and updated as necessary.
Creating the many documents that go along with your policies and procedures can be overwhelming. Here are some sample forms and checklists that you may find useful.
- Ongoing Communication, Education & Training
To ensure the sustainability of a safety culture, leadership must remain informed and revise policies and procedures accordingly. Therefore, an efficient and effective communication system must be developed to ensure all employees receive timely updates in a language that is easy to understand. Hand in hand with dissemination of information is ongoing education and training. Even seasoned employees should go through general and job-specific training as new procedures, equipment, etc. are introduced as well as refresher training.
- Continuous Improvement
An organization with a true safety culture will review the safety program’s strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. An inspection by a qualified safety professional should be completed at least annually, while internal, ongoing monitoring and measurement should be conducted to identify areas in need of improvements. If implemented correctly, continuous improvement is self-sustaining. When employees drive and achieve gains on a regular basis, it is motivating, builds teamwork and results in organic improvements.
While developing and maintaining a culture of safety may seem daunting, it will be well worth the effort. Once ingrained in your organization, it will help you reduce losses, remain compliant, and protect your employees and your bottom line.