7 ways to build a positive safety culture

A positive safety culture protects teams, increases profitability and skyrockets productivity.
Michael Radley
Sep 2023
4 min read

Safety processes can often become something teams are wary of.

Teams fear doing something wrong. And worry about communicating problems to management.

This can result in more accidents, injuries and sick days. Plus it can have a negative impact on the bottom line and productivity.

So how can you get your teams to feel comfortable and confident about safety?

Keep reading… in this guide we explore what a safety culture is, how to spot signs of a negative safety culture, and how you can develop a positive safety culture in your business.

What is a safety culture?

A safety culture is the way safety is perceived, valued, prioritised and integrated in a workplace. It's the set of core values and behaviours that make safety a priority.

Signs of a negative safety culture

While safety culture is difficult to measure. It’s often clear at first glance when safety is not a priority. The tell-tale signs:

  • Blame culture: Individuals are blamed when something goes wrong. There is a culture of fear—team members don’t feel comfortable talking about safety issues..
  • Profitability > safety: Health and safety is seen as an unnecessary cost. There’s little investment in training and safety equipment.
  • Poor communication: There’s little to no communication about safety between management and team members. And people don’t feel comfortable giving feedback.
  • Under-reporting: Incidents often go unreported. Investigations only take place after serious accidents.

How to develop a positive safety culture

1. Review processes

The key to protecting your employees is to first understand why accidents or injuries happen. Start by examining your processes. Do you have an effective reporting system in place? How do your team communicate about safety?

When you understand your why, you can implement systems to boost efficiency and start rebuilding safer team habits.

2. Involve the team

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. So involve all team members in the planning and implementation of new safety procedures.

Ask teams what they want the reporting process to look like, or get their feedback on current health and safety procedures.

This will help you tap into the knowledge in your organisation, and create a shared sense of responsibility.

3. Train teams

Regular health and safety training sessions will not only provide teams with the skills they need, but it will also help people feel more confident about safety.

And teams will be more engaged because they will better understand why certain safety measures have been put in place.

4. Report issues

Encourage and reward employees when they report safety issues. And implement an effective reporting system, so teams feel confident that they have reported an accident in the right way and corrective action has been taken.

A reporting system also gives management more visibility and control—they can see exactly what’s happening on site and prevent issues before they arise.

“Trail gives me control. I can be certain that stores are doing the right checks and that they are up to date - this has been more important than ever as we have adapted our processes during COVID-19.” Safety & Risk Manager Sioned Hatcher

5. Communicate with your team

Opening up lines of communication between operational and safety teams will ensure everyone is comfortable talking about safety.

Implementing a communication system—where head office can cascade information to teams on the ground—will help teams stay on top of changing safety guidelines.

"By opening the lines of communication between our Health & Safety and Operational teams we have been able to embed our positive safety culture and influence habitual behaviour.” Safety & Risk Manager Sioned Hatcher

McManus Pubs customer testimonial

6. Help your team communicate with you

Good communication works both ways. And having a system in place will allow teams to alert management about any issues—creating a positive feedback loop between people on the ground and head office.

7. Reward good behaviour

All too often when it comes to safety, we focus on the negatives and only report accidents or days lost through sickness.

Reward positive health and safety efforts too. Praise team members who wear PPE or who carried out all their health and safety checks. Give your teams plenty of high fives, and make them feel good about safety.

How Trail can help

  • Clear communication: head office can cascade information to teams on the ground quickly. And teams on the ground can flag issues to management, creating a feedback loop.
  • Create tasks that work: teams collaborate to create tasks. New procedures work in practice. And teams on the ground are motivated to carry out tasks
  • Make safety a habit: health and safety checklists are woven into your team’s working day alongside their daily tasks.
  • Built in training: Add training videos to tasks so teams know exactly what to do. Help new and returning teams get up to speed quickly by guiding them through their day.
  • Improve visibility: notifications and daily reports highlight issues as they happen. Managers can see what’s happening in real-time, resolving issues quickly with less site visits.
  • Everything an EHO needs to see in one place: Trail is a complete historical record of task completion, time and date stamped for accountability.
  • Free digital checklists: use our best-practice task templates to stay on top of changing Covid guidelines.

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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