Workplace health and safety proficiency is something we strive to achieve in our organizations, but sometimes its importance can be lost behind trying to hit revenue goals and/or please customers. However, it’s absolutely critical to pay attention to our health and safety practices because this is one way we can ensure that our workplaces run more efficiently, our staff are happier, and ultimately the product or service we offer is of superior quality.
Having a solid workplace safety and health culture in place not only protects our staff but ensures we offer a safe environment for customers and visitors too. When we’re viewed by outsiders as a company who takes pride in the health and safety of their staff, this reflects positively on our other practices too.
So, how do you ensure that your company not only meets the occupational health and safety requirements set down by law but exceed them? Some of the safest companies in America have revealed their top tips for how they earned the title, and they’re a lot easier than you might think.
There’s no need to try and tick all of these boxes off in a day, though, and being one of the safest companies in America isn’t a title earned overnight. However, with a few ideas on how you can make safety an integral part of your organization you can begin to make small changes needed to have a huge impact.
When we integrate safety into our everyday work culture, it becomes a lot easier to make it stick. Showing that we follow health and safety requirements in our work, as leaders, can create a consistent and thorough approach to creating this culture in the entire company. If we lead by example and encourage all levels of management to do the same, our employees will see this and follow suit.
Organizations that place a huge emphasis on their employee’s well-being will often see better results from occupational health and safety training, as it shows that you truly care about them.
When your employees feel that you truly value them as an employee, they’re likely to reward you with a more focused attitude to the workplace and upholding these values.
For an added interest from employees, you might like to introduce a rewards based or incentive program for reporting incidents and near misses.
Right from the first moment a new employee steps foot into your organization, they should be shown exactly how important occupational health and safety is to you. The best way to do this is incorporate in-depth training on the issue beginning with their new employee induction, and continuing on throughout their employment.
An employee who is well educated on the safest practices will not only be more likely to use this knowledge for themselves but be happy to share it with others.
By indicating just how important it is to be a safe company, you’ll leave this lasting impression on them throughout their employment.
Make training enjoyable and interactive too, so it’s more likely to be retained by your employees, and ensure that it’s always specific and relevant to your industry and work environment. This makes the teachings more relatable for staff, and they’ll better understand how it impacts them.
Many people think that to be a safe workplace you should meet the requirements handed down by governing bodies such as National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but to have a truly safe workplace you should try to exceed these instead.
According to OSHA, just under 5,000 workers were killed in 2015 alone due to workplace accidents, which is a staggering amount when you consider how many that equals per day.
Imagine now that most of these workplaces followed the minimum requirements handed down by the governing bodies and you’ll see just how important it is to go above and beyond for the safety of your organization.
It’s all well and good to have senior management and executives handing out orders about safety and health requirements in the company, but this won’t always have the trickle-down effect you might hope for.
The best way to ensure all staff is on board with the workplace culture of safety is to elect an official on all levels of employment, from managers down. The elected officers can be chosen by their fellow workmates to guarantee it’s someone whose opinion is respected among colleagues, ensuring it has a greater effect still.
By appointing one person for each sector, you can ensure that workplace safety procedures are being met in all areas and that workers are able to have a say on anything that might affect them. According to EHS, the safest companies in America follow this shared responsibility model and have seen great success with it. In doing this, the onus of creating a safe workplace is shared among everyone and not simply an order passed down from the top.
There’s no need to complicate things when it comes to making your company safe, and if you start small and work on each of these tips one at a time you’ll eventually find your organization among the safest in America.
The best place to start is by looking at the training offered in your new employee induction, as this is where employees will get the first impression of their new workplace.
Workplace safety and health can’t be made perfect overnight, and it’s a continual work in progress to ensure you not only meet new requirements and recommendations but that you keep your employees engaged in the process.