Safety culture is the overall attitude and values that employees and those working in management share when regarding safety in the workplace. Some argue that this particular atmosphere can be created by the nature of the business. However, more often than not, this is something that the company creates for itself and continues to grow throughout its existence. A company must care about the safety of its workers to produce a code compliant and safe work environment.
Safety culture can’t be created by one person, it’s a group effort throughout the company. It usually starts in upper management and trickles down the ranks to its employees through example. This is primarily done by managers who are there to show off positive behavior when regarding the safety of the workers. Managers essentially create a habit within the company as the bar for which standards are set. The employees will meet and or exceed that bar if given the right opportunities for training as well as positive incentives.
There are plenty of opportunities to increase the productivity of workplace safety culture, some of which are listed here:
- Define who has what responsibilities: Oftentimes there is one person in each department that is assigned to know how to build a safety culture effectively. This should be done within each level of the company.
- Build trust with every department: Things will be changing left and right as more things are exposed. Everyone must be reassured that this is good for documentation and improvement purposes.
- Accountability enforcement: The employees can’t be the only ones responsible for mistakes. There are outside factors that must be held accountable as well as training processes, and the like, given by supervisors/managers.
- Report injuries and near misses: If there is a problem with under-reporting then there will be an influx of near miss, accident, and first aid reports. Be prepared, this is good as it helps improve the understanding of what needs to happen to minimize these occurrences.
- Give options for conversing about issues: People may not feel comfortable reporting issues as it may result in unnecessary negative repercussions put on them by others. There must be a chain of command where anyone who is involved is accountable as well as encouragement to report something that isn’t right.
- Conduct safety audits: Evaluating any processes to make them more streamlined and efficient (and safe) is necessary for the growth of the safety culture.
- Share your ideas: Everyone should come together to discuss goals for safety.
- Celebrate successes: To keep everyone motivated, there can be rewards for doing something that helps safety culture and positivity in the workplace. This means rewarding people for being proactive about incident reporting, not to be confused with keeping the “days without accidents” bar low for the month as this encourages under-reporting.
If these few things are taken into account, there is a better chance of the company adopting a more acceptable safety culture regarding the fair treatment of employees and an overall more positive and productive environment.
Similar Glossary Terms
- Behavior-Based Safety (BBS)
- Safety Audits
- The Toyota Way
- Safety Management Plan
- 6S – Safety
- Near Miss
- Chemical Safety
- Toolbox Talks
- Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPP)