4 Ways to Encourage Safety in the Workplace
Updated: May 4
Having a strong safety program in place at work is essential. This program will inform your employees that you are properly able to ensure their safety while they're going through their daily work activities. It will also provide information on specific responsibilities and step-to-step work processes for certain jobs in your workplace.
Your workplace safety program should be a constantly updated and easily accessible series of documents that can be referred to by anyone, at any time, in the event of an accident and it's subsequent investigation.
You and your employees own the right to work in a safe environment, but you both are also required to aid in ensuring that safety. I've written 4 tips to help you encourage safety in your workplace, whether you are an employee or the employer.
First and most important is training!
Safety training is far and away the most effective route to ensuring the safety of all of your people. Given the proper training your employees learn the safest way to do their jobs and understand how to identify hazards and react in the correct way to avoid incidents.
Just like your full workplace safety program, your training should also be constantly reviewed and updated when necessary. Businesses often need to upgrade their tools and machinery to meet expectations and it's equally important to update the training so your employees are able to learn the safest way to do their job on an upgraded machine.
This means not only giving your employees the initial hire training but continuing to nurture their safety training throughout their whole time with your business.
Try to make safety accessible and rewarding
Everyone in your workplace, from the machine workers to the office staff to the management should feel comfortable speaking their thoughts on safety.
Your employees are up close and personal with their work process on a daily basis. They are quick to spot new hazards and are a great source of ideas for further controlling hazards on their specific jobs.
Encourage them to come forward and explain their ideas to you. People who see their ideas come into being and actually improve the work process is often the best way to further encourage loyalty to safety in your workplace.
This is rewarding in itself but to further encourage the rest of your employees to also come forward you could consider implementing an incentive program. Giving out a free lunch or a voucher every now and then costs almost nothing and will make your employees feel appreciated for their work and dedication to safety.
Tell everyone they are accountable; even (or especially) the boss
Every person in a workplace is responsible for the safety of themselves and everyone they come into contact with when working.
This means they need to be trained in what is expected of them when it comes to safety and what will happen if they fail to comply with those expectations.
What is important to note here (as in some workplaces it's not obvious) is that everyone and anyone can be held accountable; this includes supervisors and management if they fail to do their part in upholding workplace safety.
This means everyone should also be trained to 'point the finger' if they spot somebody doing something they shouldn't be and creating a hazard.
Personally, I would rather earn the name 'tattle tale' then let a serious accident happen where someone could be irreversibly injured.
Make sure your employees feel the same.
Be the safety person you want everyone else to be
Don't cut corners yourself and your employees will be less likely to take shortcuts or 'forget' to use their protective equipment. Likewise, you can be sure that your employees will never take their workplace safety as serious as you if your supervisors set a poor example that isn't corrected.
Lead by example, take an active role in your safety meetings and encourage everyone else to do the same. Ensure that every person on your site knows that they can speak to you about safety at any time and that your safety program is accessible at all times, by anyone.
If you would like to learn more about safety in the workplace and the processes that go into creating a strong workplace safety program you can take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™.