Why is building a safety culture so important?
In light of the worldwide pandemic caused by Covid-19, health and safety standards have changed. In the workplace, protocols have become a lot more intensified and enforced. Occupational health and safety culture have become a growing trend as demand surges post-pandemic. The question now lies in how effectively organizations can adapt to this change and how does it benefit the workers?
Managing Safety Culture
What is safety culture? Safety culture refers to an organization’s shared values and actions that determine the effectiveness of its health and safety management. This all begins with upper management as they are responsible to demonstrate and convey the importance of integrating a positive safety culture in the workplace. With workplace safety culture being influenced by management, the best way to ensure occupational health and safety is a top priority for the workers, is to lead by example.
What does a strong safety culture look like?
This includes things such as announcing daily hazard assessments at pre-work safety meetings, reporting any safety violations, and ensuring the appropriate PPE is always being used. If management deals with all safety infractions seriously and appropriately, this accountability will consequently transfer over to the workers that look up to them. To create positive employee attitudes around this means to deploy sympathy and understanding in how your team thinks and communicate the importance of occupational health and safety accordingly. It is imperative to communicate in a way that encapsulates an enthusiastic and positive approach to build engagement while conveying a very thorough and serious tone to ensure your employees understand the significance of a positive workplace safety culture. As said by WorksafeBC, “Building a strong health and safety culture will have a positive impact on your workers, your bottom line, and public perception.
In essence, it is crucial that management
- Leads by example
- Holds their team accountable
- Communicates to their team in an authentic way
- Deploys understanding in how their team learns and processes information
The Bottom Line
“Research from Bravely reported that 97% of employees and executives believe that lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of every single project the team works on,” according to Range. A strong safety culture that shares a collective mindset about the standard of an organization’s safety program can be very cost-effective. For example, a positive safety culture assures a safe work environment, meaning that the chances of a safety incident occurring are minimized. As a result, the opportunity costs are immensely minimized as lost time, paperwork and money are too. We all know the headache that any kind of safety incident carries with it and with a strong safety culture ensuring safety protocols are being followed, much of this can be avoided. Not to mention the increase in productivity; increasing the overall operational efficiency and cost-savings of the project. With strong safety compliance in place, the overall culture of the organization will improve along with the efficiency and job satisfaction rate of your workers.
Who Benefits from a Positive Safety Culture?
With safety culture being fundamental to occupational health and safety management, how exactly do employees and safety professionals benefit from a positive safety culture as well? Let’s start with the obvious. An effective safety culture limits the possibilities of any work-related injuries or risks from occurring. By abiding by the proper safety standards in place, workplace health and safety will improve and employees will feel safe working in any workplace environment. Ensuring your workers feel a sense of safety and security in the workplace or on the Jobsite is imperative to building a strong safety culture. In doing so, employees will begin to respect and comply with the safety processes in place, leading to a stronger collective belief pertaining to an organization’s occupational health and safety. In essence, improving an organization’s attitude in regards to their health and safety management is exactly what builds an effective, strong safety culture. As stated by POWER Magazine: “Companies can reduce losses and improve their overall ‘safety, compliance, and then production’ goals by adopting key programs that have been shown to enhance a positive safety culture without sacrificing production or the bottom line.”
Generally, safety professionals are responsible for inspecting the workplace for any health and safety risks, dangers or red flags that may come up. They use their extensive knowledge and skills pertaining to health and safety in order to promote a strong safety culture. Ultimately, they oversee the safety management program within a company is adopted and complied with. In some cases, it is their duty to provide the framework for the safety legislation within an organization and ensure that it reaches the industry safety standards. Safety professionals are the ones who offer the most optimal compliance and consulting as they are professionals – similar to what we offer here at Workforce! In essence, it’s the safety professionals who often lay out the framework for safety management and are responsible for ensuring it is adhered to by all employees. This way, once a safety program is in place, management can ensure it is being adhered to and create a strong safety culture in doing so.
Understanding the Importance of a Strong Safety Culture
You now have a good understanding that a strong safety culture is hugely important for a company and is derived from several different factors. Most importantly, highly specialized safety professionals must be prevalent in ensuring the safety program that a safety culture is built around, both exists and meets occupational health and safety standards. In doing so, the management carries a massive responsibility in uniting a strong collective safety culture in the workplace. All employees must share the same views,values and enthusiasm in regards to the safety system put in place. Once a positive safety culture is developed, this is where the entire company benefits. All the way from upper management as the bottom line is improved through increased productivity and risk management, to the employees who feel safe, comfortable and looked after on the jobsite.
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Interested in teaching your workers on strong safety culture? We serve a long list of courses about Safety culture.