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