How to get the best out of your workplace safety culture
No matter what industry you work in, it’s always important to have a robust workplace safety culture. It’s important enough in relatively stable environments such as offices and studios, but it becomes even more important in more unpredictable environments like warehouses, construction sites and similar settings with a wide variety of possible hazards.
We’ve made it our mission to mitigate some of these hazards with our vehicle safety products here at Vision Techniques, but establishing a firm safety culture is the key to protecting the health and safety of your employees. A safety culture is not about simply setting rules, but encouraging mindsets – arguably more difficult, but worth it in the long run! So how can you make sure that your safety culture is performing?
Communicate and provide regular training
Right away, these are undoubtedly two of the most important tenets of a healthy safety culture. Communication is key, right across the board, so it’s vital to instil it right from the off. That encompasses communication between individual employees on the shop or warehouse floor, as well as communication to and from management. Regular training, meanwhile, not only reinforces key skills and considerations for your staff, but also serves as an active demonstration of your commitment to ensuring everyone’s safety.
Set clear goals and define safety responsibilities
A solid safety plan is like any other – you need to set clear goals and objectives in order to properly achieve it. It needs to be more complex and considered than just ‘be safer’. You’ll need to think about particular risks in your industry or sector, and identify any current shortcomings in your organisation. Are employees aware of them? Could they be doing more to counteract them? Are there any purchases or investments you can make to ensure that it’s safer? For real-world examples, you need look no further than our own case studies here at Vision Techniques. A number of companies featured – for example, Coach House Antiques – were able to meet specific aims for their safety using products such as our VT TurnAlarm and VT TurnCamera.
You also need to define goals for everyone, not just the employees on the ground. Involving all staff is key, as it taps into the creativity and knowledge in your entire organisation. Employees on the ground, for example, may become aware of certain issues (whether organisational or mechanical) faster than upper management would be able to spot them.
Lead by example and enforce accountability
This follows on closely from our last point – in order to cultivate a successful workplace safety culture, employees need to see an active, open demonstration of commitment from the upper levels, as well (such as the training talks we mentioned above). That means positively leading from directors and managers, who must be subject to the same rules and regulations as other employees. If employees on the ground perceive managers as talking the talk but not walking the walk, the safety culture becomes nothing more than a formality to them, and effectively becomes redundant. In short; employee buy-in is vital to success.
Develop and implement a positive reporting process
Another key step – and likely a major point you’ll cover in your training talks – is to impress upon employees the importance of proper reporting, whether it concerns injuries, first aid scenarios or near misses. Part of this involves ensuring that there are multiple options for employees to present their concerns, and that they’re able to remain anonymous while doing so if they wish, to reduce the concern of peer pressure. Your investigation procedures also need to be robust, allowing investigators to get to the root of issues in a timely and effective manner.
And finally… celebrate success!
Obviously, an immaculate record of health and safety for employees is reward enough in itself. At the same time, though, part of showing your commitment to your workplace safety culture involves recognising the teamwork it takes to uphold it. You’re the best one to judge what form this reward takes – whether it’s a team outing every now and again, or allowing everyone to go home an hour early on a particular Friday. You set the milestones, so you set the rewards!
Throughout all these, one of the key aims of your workplace safety culture has to be to build trust – trust between employees, and trust in your systems and structure. Here at Vision Techniques, we have decades of experience in helping business to enhance their workplace safety and security, primarily with our extensive range of vehicle safety products. You can browse them right here on our site, or simply give our friendly sales team a call on 08452 872 240 if you have any questions or need any advice. Our experts are here to help!