How safe is your worksite? How focused are your team members on worksite safety? A recent American study of worksite injuries determined that 20 per cent of injuries were caused by unsafe working conditions while a whopping 80 per cent were caused by unsafe acts.
When asked, nearly 70 per cent of workers in the study thought a personal injury on the job was unlikely to happen to them because “we know what we’re doing.” Truth be known, many of the injured workers were long-term employees who knew better but disregarded safety protocols or acted without consideration of consequences.
Today, every company has a safety policy manual outlining specific programs and practices, but that’s only the first step in a multi-tiered process. And a safety policy that is seldom reviewed or enforced can lead to a pattern of complacency on the worksite.
A great way to increase safety awareness and compliance – while building a safety-focused culture – is to hold weekly and monthly safety talks. Supervisors must communicate safety expectations, best practices and consequences in the event of non-compliance. Talk about injuries and close calls. Discuss the lessons learned and changes needed. You can increase “buy-in” by having team members lead the occasional talk.
Providing ongoing training for team members demonstrates your commitment to worksite safety. Training around potential hazards raises awareness and shines a light on maintaining worksite safety. Key safety messages can be reviewed and reinforced to enhance learning and retention. Keep in mind; not everyone is a good trainer. Choose the right person for the job!
Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Role model acceptable safety practices and encourage team members to do the same. If your management team is committed to safety, your team members will follow their lead. Workers won’t buy into a safety culture if they don’t see practices and procedures being followed by supervisors. Remember, the truth can always be found in behaviour. Lead by example, wear your values, speak your truth, and demonstrate your intentions.
Put your safety plan into action. It will demonstrate your commitment, build a bridge between team members and management – a joint commitment to safe work and a positive safety culture.
Team members are arguably your greatest asset or detriment to worksite safety. Communication, training, role-modelling, and action planning (and accountability) will help build a safety policy and a safety culture that will be respected and adhered to by all.
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