It's no secret that having a strong safety culture is key to protecting your employees, your business, and the general public.
But what does it take to create and maintain a safety culture? And how can you ensure that it permeates every level of your organisation? Here are seven ways to improve safety culture in your organisation.
1. Senior leadership buy-in and commitment
One of the most important factors in creating a strong safety culture is ensuring that senior leaders are fully committed to safety.
This means more than just paying lip service to the importance of safety; it means making safety a priority in all decision-making and setting the tone for the organisation.
Studies have shown that when senior leaders are actively involved in workplace safety, it filters down through the organisation and results in better safety outcomes. Conversely, businesses with a poor safety culture often have senior leaders who are disengaged with safety initiatives.
Make it a priority to ensure that senior leaders are engaged with safety initiatives.
Show your employees that safety is a priority by involving senior leaders in safety meetings, audits, and reviews.
Encourage senior leaders to speak about safety at company-wide meetings.
Ensure you have the right reporting at the right level, including leading KPI's that are given at Board or the most senior level.
Have a corporate strategy that details your ambition for H&S and the actions you will take to achieve the strategy.
2. Employee engagement
Another vital element of strong safety cultures is employee engagement. Your employees need to be involved in the process of creating and maintaining a safe workplace.
This means providing them with the resources and information they need to stay safe, encouraging them to report any potential hazards, and involving them in the development of safety policies and procedures. Reward employees who go above and beyond to champion safety in your organisation, and make safety a central part of your performance review process.
If you don't already have a safety committee or employee safety program in place, now is the time to start one. Get employees involved in safety initiatives and make sure they know that their input is valued.
Provide employees with the resources and information they need to stay safe.
Encourage employees to report any potential hazards.
Involving employees in the development of safety policies and procedures.
3. Effective communication
Effective communication is essential to creating a strong safety culture.
Employees need to be kept informed of new safety initiatives and changes to existing policies. Safety messages need to be clear and concise and delivered in a way that employees can understand and relate to, rather than being seen as a top-down edict.
Improving safety culture requires active and ongoing communication from senior leaders, managers, and safety professionals. This can be achieved through a variety of channels, including face-to-face briefings, toolbox talks, safety alerts, memos, newsletters, intranet postings, and group meetings.
Having clear safety goals, objectives, and standards that are regularly communicated to employees will help create a shared understanding of what needs to be done to stay safe. Providing actionable tips, examples of safe behaviours, and case studies of how others have prevented accidents is a great way to get employees on board with safety initiatives.
Develop a communication plan to ensure that employees are kept informed of new safety initiatives and changes to existing policies.
Ensure that safety messages are clear and concise.
Use a variety of channels to communicate safety messages, including face-to-face briefings, toolbox talks, safety alerts, memos, newsletters, intranet postings, and group meetings.
4. Training and development
Providing Directors, Managers and employees with comprehensive safety training is another crucial component of maintaining a positive safety culture.
Employees need to be properly trained in how to safely perform their jobs and identify potential hazards. They also need to be updated on new safety procedures as they are implemented.
Safety performance should be included as part of an employee's annual review and development process. This will help to reinforce the importance of safety in the organisation and ensure that employees are continuously striving to improve their safety performance.
Understanding what unsafe behaviours look like is an important part of changing safety culture. Use your safety observations to not only identify safety hazards, but also unsafe behaviours and correct them through coaching, mentoring, and additional training as needed.
Provide Directors, Managers and employees with comprehensive safety training.
Include safety performance as part of an employee's annual review and development process.
Use safety observations to identify unsafe behaviours and correct them through coaching, mentoring, and additional training as needed.
5. Continuous improvement
Positive safety culture is not static; it is always evolving and responding to changing circumstances.
To maintain a strong safety culture, organisations need to continuously review their procedures and practices and identify opportunities for improvement.
This means constantly reviewing your safety policies and procedures and making changes where necessary. It also means investigating accidents and near-misses, and using the information learned to prevent future incidents. By continually striving to improve your organisation's safety culture, you can help ensure that your employees are protected, and your business is operating at its best.
Conduct a review of your organisation's safety policies and procedures.
Investigate accidents and near-misses, and use the information learned to prevent future incidents.
Regularly review your safety culture and make changes where necessary.
6. Recognition and rewards
Recognising and rewarding employees for their efforts in promoting and adhering to safety standards is a great way to show that you value safety in the organisation.
This can help to create a positive feedback loop, where employees feel motivated to follow safety procedures and are recognised for doing so.
There are a variety of ways to recognise and reward employees for their contributions to safety. You could offer financial incentives, such as bonuses or gift vouchers. You could also offer non-financial rewards, such as extra time off or tickets to events. Whatever form they take, recognition and rewards should be given out regularly to those who have made a positive impact on safety in the organisation.
Remember don't link financial rewards to reduced accidents, this could prevent accident reporting, link them to proactive measures that employees have taken.
Identify employees who have made a positive impact on safety in the organisation.
Develop a plan to recognise and reward these employees on a regular basis.
7. Employee Empowerment
Empowering employees to speak up about safety concerns is an essential part of maintaining a positive safety culture.
Employees should feel comfortable raising concerns and suggesting improvements, without fear of retribution.
This means creating an open and inclusive culture where employees feel like they are able to contribute to the discussion on safety. It also means having effective mechanisms in place for employees to raise concerns, such as anonymous reporting systems or suggestion boxes. By empowering employees to speak up about safety, you can help create a safer workplace for everyone.
Encourage employees to raise concerns and suggest improvements.
Create an open and inclusive culture where employees feel comfortable discussing safety.
Put effective mechanisms in place for employees to raise concerns, such as anonymous reporting systems.
These are just a few of the ways that you can improve the safety culture in your organisation. By implementing these strategies, you can help create a safe and healthy workplace for your employees and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
If you're looking for support with improving safety in your organisation, get in touch with us today. We offer a range of services, including safety audits, training, and consulting, to help you create a safe workplace for your employees.