2015.09 Safety Culture 6

Culture is an all-encompassing concept that has broad reach and impact throughout the organization. Safety leaders sometimes make the mistake of delegating the care and nurturing of a safety culture to human resources.

Research suggests that there are a handful of factors that have substantial impact on creating a safe work environment, and all of them relate to the overall culture of the company. The number of safety incidents you’ll experience this year will likely be based on how your employees feel about those factors which create a safe environment.

Eye protection, hard hats, steel-toe shoes and other personal protection equipment are tools of the trade which are understood and accepted by both leaders and employees. Maintenance of equipment, testing the effectiveness of alarms and control points are examples of process safety issues.

The savvy safety leader understands there is a strong correlation between employees’ opinions about workplace culture and actual safety outcomes – the number of accidents, days away from work, recorded safety incidents and workday interruptions.

Cultural Workplace Imperatives:

Communication

Companies whose employees appreciate the quality and quantity of communication have approximately 25% of the safety incidents experienced by companies without healthy communication. Factors that employees value:

The company keeps me informed about matters affecting me.

The information I need to do my job is readily available.

I have a clear idea of what’s expected of me at work.

I’m sufficiently informed about company values.

I receive adequate information about company plans.

I understand how my division’s objectives fit into corporate plans.

Management

When employees have confidence in decisions made by management and believe leaders are providing a clear sense of direction, safety issues are reduced by more than three and a half times the rate of organizations where leaders don’t inspire confidence.

Teamwork

Safety outcomes are more than three times better amongst groups, divisions and companies where there is cooperation between employees. Teamwork provides mutual monitoring to support employees and ensure safety protocol is being followed.

Workload

Heavy workloads can hinder safety performance, but this effect is eased when strong teamwork takes hold. Safety leaders should regularly monitor workload levels and seek employees’ opinion on the capacity.

Involvement

Trusting employees and encouraging them to solve problems will heighten their sense of accountability and their motivation to take ownership of projects which will reduce the likelihood of safety incidents. Employees want to know:

I will be supported should I choose to shut down an unsafe work condition.

Corrective action is taken when unsafe conditions are reported.

My supervisor demonstrates concern for my personal safety.

Leaders trust the judgment of people at my level.

Effort is made to gain my thoughts and opinions.

I’m treated with dignity and respect and my company cares about my health.

Contact Three Sixty Safety to schedule a time for us to visit. Our goal: Everyone goes home safe…every day!