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Three Steps to Improve Employee Safety This Year

April 11th, 2017

Everyone agrees that employers have an obligation to keep employees safe. What isn’t as unanimous is how best to do this. “World Day for Health & Safety at Work” is April 28th, 2017, so now is a good time to consider what practical steps you can take to improve the safety of your employees. Consider what the experts suggest.

Change the Culture by Leading, Not Managing

The key to real change is to make safety part of your company culture. Tom Krause, who helped pioneer the application of behavioral science to safety, says, “If senior leadership gets it right, then the culture will change. If senior management doesn’t get it right, then everything else is like swimming upstream. It’s a struggle.” (source: EHS Today)

So what’s the difference between managing and leading? Essentially, according to Krause, it’s a difference of “Do as I say,” versus “Do as I do.” Taking the lead means showing your employees why safety matters and how to achieve it.

So the first step you can take right now is to assess your personal contribution to workplace safety. Have you let incidents go unreported? Turned a blind eye to an employee skirting safety regulations? If so, that must stop now.

Make Sure Everyone is Engaged

If you’re still trying to figure out what risks your company’s employees face, there’s an easy way to find out. Ask the employees! Encourage suggestions, and treat each one with careful consideration. The way you react to suggestions is important, because if employees see that you aren’t doing anything with their suggestions, they will quickly stop coming to you.

At your next staff meeting, save fifteen minutes to ask about potential safety hazards. Write down everything, and follow up. The next time your team meets, tell them what you’ve done about their suggestions.

Stop Segregating Safety Practices

Safety meetings, safety processes, safety leaders…stop making safety a special task outside of normal work processes! Integrate safety into your everyday routines, and the routines of your employees. Have staff meetings, work processes, and team leaders – and make sure that safety is a natural part of each. “When it’s treated separately, it tends to be subordinated,” says author Donald Eckenfelder.

Similarly, don’t make safety a “priority,” because priorities can change. Make safety a core value of the company. Core values are permanent, and even if it’s just a matter of semantics, the word change can affect the way employees think about safety.

So your next step is to turn Safety Practices into Standard Practices. Make safety the norm, not the exception.

These three steps aren’t going to fix every safety problem you face. But they are a great start towards creating a culture of safety that really makes a difference. Keep an eye on our blog for safety tips and more in future articles. One of the top temp agencies in Atlanta, Staffing Resources is your source for expert staffing advice for all types of business leaders.

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