No matter what field or industry you work in, workplace safety should be at the forefront of importance. This begins by fostering a “safety culture,” or a designed set of shared attitudes, beliefs, and practices demonstrated by workers at all levels of the company.
Many companies have safety policies and programs in place, but a health and safety culture is one where the employees’ mindsets, attitudes, and workplace behaviors all reflect safety. A positive safety culture connects everyone in the company around a common goal, such as reducing incidents and injuries.
It goes beyond just following safety procedures and rules—a great health and safety culture means that there is safety buy-in from all employees, starting from the top-down.
Safety cultures endure when they are part of an overall successful organizational culture.David Paoletta — Occupational Health & Safety Consultant
The Attributes of a Successful Safety Culture
When it comes to a strong health and safety culture in the workplace, everyone, starting with the leadership team, buys into what needs to be done to keep everyone safe. Some of the most common attributes include:
Sharing core health and safety values.
Contributing from all levels of the organization.
Encouraging open and honest communication.
Facilitating continual health and safety training.
Providing active versus reactive solutions.
So, how do you know if you have an “awesome safety culture” and what steps should you take to form one? It all starts with visible leadership commitment at all levels of the organization.
“Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shapes our behavior.” — OSHA, Creating a Culture of Consequences
6 Tips to Creating a Positive Health and Safety Culture
The following 6 workplace safety tips will help you to begin establishing and maintaining a strong and positive health & safety culture in your workplace.
Workplace safety communication is of the utmost importance when building a positive culture. Consider hosting weekly or monthly safety talks, and increase worker buy-in by having employees facilitate those talks. This can be done remotely or in person. Be sure to make safety policies that communicate your organization’s best practices readily available.
2. Provide Training
Training your employees is paramount because it demonstrates your commitment to safety. When employees receive the necessary health and safety training, they are more likely to embrace a safety culture. This is because they are aware of the potential hazards and the effect they can have on workplace safety. Reviewing the key messages from training sessions will also reinforce learning.
3. Lead by Example
When you lead by example by following all safety policies, employees will be encouraged and more apt to do the same. Employee buy-in is a must-have for a positive safety culture. When leadership follows protocol and procedures, employees will follow suit.
4. Recognize Employees
When you recognize and reward employees who report safety hazards or concerns, it will be much easier to build and maintain a safety culture. Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting any concerns. OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Tool is one way to reward employees for their participation. The tool features interactive, online, game-based training for those interested in learning the core concepts of hazard identification.
5. Involve Employees
Building and maintaining a strong safety culture starts from the ground up. By involving your employees in the process, you are more likely to get their buy-in.
Pro tip: Consider issuing a company-wide survey or poll asking employees what they would like the safety reporting process to look like. Ask for feedback on the best communication methods.
6. Hire a Health & Safety Manager
This individual is a large part of the puzzle and can greatly affect change when it comes to advising leadership on all health and safety matters. They may be responsible for creating health and safety policies, ensuring safe working procedures are implemented, assessing training requirements, and more. The main purpose of this manager is to prevent accidents and injuries on the job.
The Benefits of a Safety Culture
Safety should be a pillar of a company’s values. It should drive health & safety decisions that permeate all areas of the organization. Making an investment in a safety culture will:
Ensure Your Longevity
When an organization places a high value on safety, it will see prosperity in all other areas of the business. The fewer accidents you have, the more money you add to your bottom line.
Build Employee Morale
Employees notice when a company is built around safety, and when they feel valued, they will have a more positive outlook towards the organization. That may be more desirable—hence attracting the best talent in the industry.
Increase Consumer Confidence
In addition to employees, consumers also want to know that the product they are purchasing is safe.
At the end of the day, having a strong safety culture promotes more than just safety within an organization—it also increases worker confidence, boosts retention, and benefits productivity.
Get in Touch
At Workrise, quality and safety are our top priorities. We offer more than 200 flexible safety, compliance, and HSE training courses online and in person. Together, we will find the right courses to ensure the workers on your job site meet your requirements.
Let us help you with training, staffing, technology, and professional services so you can get back to focusing on what you do best. Visit our website at workrise.com.
For more information, reach out to our Health, Safety, and Environment team at HSE@workrise.com.