As safety professionals or people who have safety responsibilities we are often tasked with not only writing and implementing programs and policies, but enforcing and adhering to what we wrote. This can be a huge challenge in even the most successful organizations. So how does a person work to enforce and hold employees accountable to the written company program? Creating a culture of safety is the key to successfully implementing a safety program.
You may be saying to yourself, good observation, but how do I create a culture of safety within my own organization? The answer is simple, but it will not happen overnight. In my experience as a safety professional, the easiest way to implement a safety program and to create that “elusive” culture of safety is to GET YOUR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED. Below are just a few ideas for getting employees to be a part of the safety process and to take ownership of the safety programs within the organization.
- ASK! Ask employees for their input. It is human nature to want to be involved in the process. Many employees get easily discouraged, with corporate safety efforts, because they feel that they are being forced to adhere to rules and regulations without a clear understanding of why or how the work should be performed. Simply asking the employees for their input on best practices or practical applications of safety requirements can aid in lowering or removing those obstacles that we are often faced with when attempting to implement safety requirements.
- Make them part of the process. Get your employees involved in the training and ask them to assist you in building your photo or video library. One of my greatest successes came from asking a few of my employees to help me with a ladder training I was going to be conducting at a future date. I was on a construction jobsite and needed to get some new photos of workers on ladders for my training. I went up to a couple of my employees and explained to them what I was doing and what photos I was looking for. I asked if they would be willing to assist me in my endeavor and they said yes. As we got into the process, my employees came up with some additional photo shots and angles that I did not think of; all of which made the training more realistic and applicable in the end. As I was conducting the training, the employees who had assisted me jumped up and stated that they had helped me with that section of the class and were proud to be a part of it. From then on, anytime I pulled up on a jobsite I had employees giving me suggestions for future training and ideas for addressing pending safety issues or concerns.
This was just a brief glimpse into creating a culture of safety, stay tuned for further posts regarding these processes of creating a culture of safety. I will look into some of these items in more detail and offer additional observations and/or solutions to removing barriers to compliance and resistance to implementation. Feel free to post comments or ask questions of items being discussed or details you topics you would like to see expanded.