Every business owner knows that a safe work environment is the best defense against workplace injuries, costly workers’ compensation claims and higher insurance premiums. But creating a culture of safety in your organization is about more than eliminating hazards and implementing policies and procedures. It’s about changing attitudes.
According to an article in Occupational Health & Safety, your employees’ attitudes toward safety are directly linked to their attitudes about your overall company culture, and there’s a definite relationship between those attitudes and actual safety outcomes. So your first step toward creating a safe work environment should be to focus on the cultural drivers of workplace safety that pay the biggest rewards.
Eight cultural drivers that change attitudes:
- Communication. Employees want to be informed, know what’s expected of them and understand how their job fits into the bigger picture. When they’re happy with the quality and quantity of communication within a company, they’re more engaged and have a better attitude toward safety.
- Senior management. When company leaders visibly demonstrate their commitment to safety, employees take notice and are more confident in their leadership, leading to fewer safety issues.
- Teamwork. Cooperation breeds safety, and teamwork provides mutual monitoring and support to make sure safety procedures are followed.
- Workload. The heavier the workload for your employees, the more it hinders their attitude and safety performance.
- Supervision. How employees feel about their direct supervisors not only influences their general enthusiasm for the job, but affects their safe work practices.
- Involvement. Encouraging your employees to take ownership of their work and help solve problems increases their motivation and engagement, reducing the likelihood of safety issues.
- Individual impact. When employees clearly understand the connection between their individual jobs and the company’s overall strategy, they feel more empowered and part of a team, leading to safer work practices.
- Respect and well-being. When your company culture emphasizes employee well-being, your employees are more likely to make safety a priority.
When was the last time you really paid attention to these eight factors at your workplace?
While they seem simple, these eight cultural drivers are crucial for building company morale and motivating employees to own the safety process. That means fewer workplace injuries, enhanced productivity and lower costs. In fact, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process. Incidentally, these same engagement factors also impact employee retention and productivity. So, they deserve your focus for many reasons.