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15 Tips to Help You Build a Positive Workplace Safety Culture

15 Tips to Help You Build a Positive Workplace Safety Culture

Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by Construction Digest

A positive workplace safety culture is one where employees take responsibilities for their safety as well as the safety of those around them.  

They are committed to finding and fixing hazards, recognizing unsafe conditions and taking measures to prevent injury or illness.  

This type of culture must be formed over a period of time through positive reinforcement by leadership regarding the importance of workplace safety.

Outlined below are 15 ways you can build a positive workplace safety culture in your organization:

1.  Build an Effective Team with Shared Goals

Select individuals who share your vision and approach to cultural change, then support them on their journey with clear direction, adequate resources, coaching when needed and recognition when earned.  

2. Provide Ongoing Training

Train workers to recognize hazards and to take action when they see one.  

Provide training on how to protect themselves in the event of an emergency so they feel confident that their efforts will make a difference.

3. Implement Effective Supervision Tools

Use tools like Stop Work Authority, Job Safety Analysis, Job Hazard Analysis and safety meetings with employee representation to empower workers and identify problems early on before they become catastrophic events.  

Ensure workers understand their importance in creating a safe environment for themselves and others with effective communication of expectations about performance and behavior from management, as well as peer pressure within the group because everyone is using these tool together.

4.Routinely Communicate Your Commitment

Communicating your commitment to workplace safety means talking about it repeatedly, at all levels of the organization and from many different angles. 

5. Celebrate Success

Build into your organization’s culture a way to recognize and reward progress toward achieving your workplace safety goals so that workers feel good about the work they are doing to support the group goal.

6.  Provide Recognition for Safe Behavior

While saving lives with first aid is important, it can be just as powerful to spot and correct unsafe behavior before it leads to an incident or injury.  

Find innovative ways within your company to recognize safe behavior so there is an incentive in place for everyone on your team to perform this way consistently.

7.  Eliminate Barriers

Get rid of policies, processes, actions and attitudes that lead to unsafe behavior and cause missed opportunities for the development of safe work habits.  

Such barriers include, failure to eliminate fatigue from job performance, work schedules which impact employee health and wellness, a lack of accountability for making decisions that impact everyone’s safety.

An overall negative attitude among workers towards identifying and fixing hazards in their own workplaces and a lack of personal responsibility on behalf of employees who fail to take action when they see unsafe conditions in others or themselves.

8. Require all Employees to Participate

Everyone should have a role utilizing the tools necessary to achieve goals related to injury prevention including eliminating policies which create barriers that prevent them from doing so.  

This means each employee has the responsibility to complete safety training along with any other mandatory training or other job tasks that are assigned to them.

9.  Communicate the Benefits

Establish a safety culture in your organization by communicating why you value workplace safety and what you want workers to know about how it benefits not only them, but everyone else as well to help set the tone for their actions within your organization’s culture.  

The more clearly they understand this, the better able they will be in taking action when they encounter unsafe conditions whether personally or when working beside others where they can positively impact their peers’ response to important safety messages as well.  

Besides saving lives with first aid through recognition and early intervention strategies like Stop Work Authority, injury prevention also helps maintain a safe environment for employees and customers alike through health promotion activities such as physical fitness and disease prevention recognition programs like anti-smoking policies.  

It also helps create a safe workplace environment through the initiatives of recognize and reward workers who embrace safety behavior like performing effective job hazard analysis or stop work authority, which are important skills to learn in order for employees to contribute towards achieving your organization’s safety goals.

10.  Eliminate Any Supervisors Who Do Not Support Your Safety Culture

Getting rid of supervisors who do not support your safety culture means holding them accountable if they fail to provide adequate leadership in creating an atmosphere where it is easier for their employees to take action with Stop Work Authority or any other tool that positively impacts your organization’s overall safety record.  

You should be aware enough about what goes on within every department in your organization to notice how each individual supervisor is doing in terms of her ability to do the job properly without putting other employees at risk.  

Supervisors who don’t provide leadership and are not making sure staff have all the tools they need to accomplish their jobs safely, should be replaced with a new leader who will help everybody in that department succeed by maintaining an environment where it’s easier for them to stay away from safety risks.

11 . Encourage Employees to Report Incidents, Near Misses or Injuries Immediately

Always encourage employees to report near misses in the workplace.

This means workers are encouraged to take action as soon as possible and at the first sign that a hazard exists.

Or even when unsafe behavior has just occurred but was corrected quickly by coworkers before it led to an incident.    

This is done by creating a culture where employees hold each other accountable for their actions and take action to resolve problems without hesitation.  

In this atmosphere, all members of your organization’s work team are encouraged to speak up when they see others engaging in behavior that creates safety risks or might create them in the future so it can be addressed immediately before any serious incident occurs.  

The sooner you discover issues, the easier it is for you to correct them to meet or exceed regulatory standards as well as industry best practices.

12 . Teach Safe Behavior through Training

It takes more than formal training sessions, instead, you must maintain constant communication with workers through ongoing coaching sessions.

And a system of performance management which rewards employees who embrace safety culture behaviors such as Stop Work Authority.

Or when workers personally take action to prevent accidents by changing their behavior to protect others from harm.  

Think about how you would have responded in the past to a situation that occurred in one of your organization’s work teams if you were on the ground level doing actual hands-on tasks like everyone else; then, teach these response behaviors and insist they are followed every time such situations occur so that employees really adopt them into their normal way of operating during each day at work.

13. Create a Culture That Encourages Workers to Take Action

You can’t just expect unreinforced safety messages to automatically be listened to and acted upon by your workforce as though there is no other alternative but compliance with your organization’s safety goals, rules and regulations.  

For example, if you hear someone in your organization tell another worker to stop performing his job because it is too dangerous and he could get hurt or cause harm to others if he continues doing it that way, don’t ignore them but instead turn this positive behavior into a reinforced one by immediately going over there and thanking the employee who took action for protecting other workers from safety risks.  

You may even want to use this situation as an example in future meetings with everyone else so they realize they need to take similar actions when they see others engaging in behaviors that create hazards for themselves and/or their coworkers.

14. Create Consequences When Workers Don’t Take Action

It can be very frustrating when employees at all levels of your organization continue to engage in behaviors that create safety risks even after you’ve provided training, information and other resources explaining the importance of doing things differently.  

It doesn’t mean you should just give up trying to educate them; instead, take action by creating consequences for workers who don’t change their ways or have not adopted those changes into their normal work behavior despite your best efforts at making this happen.  

Perhaps one way to do this is when a worker refuses to stop performing his job duties or behaves in other unsafe ways, send him home until he can get himself under control and act like the mature adult you expect everyone on your work team to be.

15. Hold All Workers Responsible for Creating a Positive Safety Culture

This strategy involves talking with everyone in your organization about what it means to be part of a positive safety culture and how they are expected to behave every day on the job.  

Make sure everyone knows that if they see another worker violating safety rules or best practices by engaging in behaviors that create harm for themselves, others or property, then they need to tell them immediately it is unacceptable behavior and take action against those who don’t stop doing it.

By following all tips discussed above so your organization can build a positive workplace safety culture, your workers will begin taking more responsibility for their actions while developing an enhanced sense of wanting to do their best in supporting the organization’s safety goals, rules and regulations.  

If everyone in your organization takes personal responsibility for creating a positive workplace safety culture, it will become a thriving part of who you are as an employer because it will be evident in everything you do or say.

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