Creating a positive safety culture is one of the most important things you can do for your employees. The benefits of a strong safety culture go beyond reduction in insurance premiums, limiting exposure to fines and lawsuits and reducing time lost to an accident. A safe and healthy workplace shows that you care about the well-being of your employees. Employees are happiest and most productive in a workplace where they have a high degree of trust in management. A positive safety culture is an important factor in confirming management’s commitment to employees.
Notice I said creating a positive safety culture is important for employee well-being not just creating safety programs. Safety programs provide the structure required to manage safety in your organization and are a key component in developing a rewarding safety culture, but a good safety culture also emphasizes a shared vision between management and employees, strong employee involvement, and behavioral based safety training.
There are several key elements to creating a positive safety culture:
- Management, at all levels, must be involved and participate in the safety program to show they genuinely care about the well-being and safety of every employee.
- Management and employees must participate together in collaborative problem solving to identify safe and unsafe behavior.
- All employees should receive high quality safety training (consider hiring an expert third party) and follow training with ongoing coaching and on the job training from all levels in the organization.
- Operational processes and policies must be established that ensure that safety is always at the forefront of any action or activity.
- All employees must be empowered to report and when necessary act on unsafe behavior, and identified issues must be quickly addressed by management.