One of the biggest challenges for safety professionals and supervisors is getting employees to “buy into” the value of workplace safety and respect your worker safety plan.
It’s easy to stand in front of a group of employees and tell workers what the company and project expect of them regarding safe work practices. Still, it is far more challenging to have employees adopt those practices. It is a rare occurrence that employees take independent initiative with safety practices.
As a result, it becomes the Health and Safety teams’ responsibility to become actively involved in workplace safety day in and day out.
Why get employees behind the company’s worker safety plan?
Organizations with a strong worker safety culture often have a high level of employee involvement in both the development and implementation of their safe work practices. Because of this, it’s critical involve employees and workers in the development of any safety plan.
Getting your employees involved in your worker safety plan is essential because:
- Employees are most directly affected by safety issues; they are the ones who encounter potential safety and health hazards daily.
- They have a vested interest in effective protection programs; their innate sense of self-preservation should guide them to safer approaches to their tasks.
- Group decisions have the advantage of the group’s more comprehensive range of experience.
- Employees are more likely to support and use programs in which they have input.
- Workers encouraged to offer their ideas and whose contributions are taken seriously by leadership are more satisfied and productive.
The 3 most effective ways to get employees behind your safety plan
In a safe and healthy workplace, employees have a stake in the program’s success as safety and health is everyone’s responsibility. So, to get employees on board with safety, actively encourage employee involvement, and hold employees accountable.
This can be achieved using the following strategies:
1. Involve employees
- Establish an active workplace health and safety committee
- Make daily safety inspections a part of employees’ jobs
- Keep employees informed about safety inspections, injury
- and illness statistics and other safety-related issues
- Value employee input and feedback as employees often know more about safety problems first hand
- Make sure employees help review and improve the program
- Include safety and health responsibilities in job descriptions
- Ensure safe work practices are part of performance evaluation
- Set safety goals
- Discipline employees who behave in ways that could harm themselves or others
- Establish a transparent system for reporting hazards, injuries, illnesses, and close calls
- Recognize and reward employees who contribute to keeping the workplace safe and healthy
2. Train employees
- Give general safety orientation for new employees and employees starting new jobs, including company safety regulations and emergency procedures
- Provide specific training on the hazards of the jobs and how to do their jobs safely
- Support retraining as required by the standards, when jobs change, when employees return from a long absence, and as needed to ensure employees know how to do their jobs safely
3. Support a culture of safety
- Establishing effective two-way communication
- Respond to the needs and concerns of workers
- Make sure management goes beyond the regulations to ensure a safe workplace
- Encourage workers to go “beyond the call of duty” to ensure a safe workplace
- Support a work environment that fosters trust, creativity, and general well-being.
The benefits of getting employees and management behind your worker safety plan
Addressing health and safety provides opportunities to improve business efficiency, as well as safeguard workers. Therefore, the benefits of getting employees and management behind your safety plan can include:
- Reduced costs and reduced risks
- Lower employee absence
- Lower turnover rates
- Fewer incidents, accidents, breakdowns, and process failures
- Better business continuity
- Increased productivity
- Improved standing thereby a better reputation among suppliers, clients, and other partners