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What is a Culture of Safety and how can you enhance this culture once it has been established?

Organisation that don’t have a culture of safety are the ones that have recurring injuries, lots of down time, high insurance rates and possible legal issues. These are the organisations where workers don’t feel safe, they have a lack of PPE provided to them or are not comfortable with what has been issued to them. Management and workers sometimes ignore safety procedures and safety is not looked at as a top priority, nor is it discussed or properly invested in. Workers are not empowered to make a difference and in these cases, the culture of safety is broken or non-existent. In an organisation where safety has been nurtured, discussed and invested in, workers are empowered to take action. They feel a sense of responsibility for their safety and the safety of their coworkers and senior management understand the value of safety. In such an organisation there is total company buy in to changing the environment for the better and provision has been made to continually invest in the protective equipment, services and technology necessary to keep their workers and workplaces safe. What steps are necessary to establish a culture of safety?   1) Investment from Leadership. Building an effective culture of safety starts at the top. Leadership must look at safety as something intrinsic to the overall success of the organisation and must invest in the proper resources including quality PPE, expert training and technological developments to help predict and prevent injuries. This approach ensures safety is highlighted as a key component of its day-to-day operations.   2) Establish Safety Procedures and Policies. Safety procedures should be established and visibly posted throughout your premises. Make sure all policies and procedures are clearly outlined and understood by all staff. Provide clear written instructions and check that employees have the correct training before they begin using equipment or performing tasks for the first time.   3) Empower Employees to be Accountable for Safety. In organisations that have truly excelled in creating a culture of safety, it is obvious that safety is valued by all workers. Every worker feels responsible for not only being safe but making sure those around them are safe. Empower workers to “own” their safety by involving them in the safety planning process. Encourage and champion “safety leaders” who will be responsible for driving safety initiatives.   4) Focus on Training as a Regular Part of Your Safety Program. Proper safety training is an essential component of any safety program. Share best practices at weekly safety meetings and provide the correct safety resources to your employees. Investing in training can have a positive impact your bottom line with reduced insurance premiums, fewer compensation claims and less down time or days lost due to illness. Investing in training also shows that you care about your employees and are invested in their safety.   5) Having the correct Systems and Technology in Place to Prevent Safety Issues. Simply providing high quality PPE and training is not enough, it is also essential to ensure you are aware of potential hazards in your facility. A workplace safety site audit can help to identify potential safety gaps that may put workers at risk. Investing in innovative new technology that helps you take a proactive approach to preventing workplace injuries is another step you can take.   6) Commit to Continuous Improvement. Once the steps above have been taken it is important to continually make improvements. A series of continuous process improvement steps should be established and measured in your facility. It might be worthwhile to consider having frequent safety meeting. This will help ensure that your organisation is effectively committed to building a culture of safety and can report on the results.   When companies develop a culture of safety they tend to have lower incident rates, lower turn-over, lower absenteeism and higher productivity. Management understands the value of safety and helps employees work at the highest levels by helping them feel safe and supported.   For advise on your safety needs contact us today or phone 353 1 6301800.