Every organization can benefit from a better safety culture. Aside from all the rules and regulations formulated to protect workers, how workers implement such rules matters more. This “how” is referred to as a safety culture. Safety cultures may not be written in paper, but they matter, perhaps even more than the actual written policies, says US Standard Products, a leading provider of workplace products. So, how can an organization implement safer policies? By deepening its safety culture in the following ways:
1. Communicate Everywhere
Communication lies at the heart of safer work safety policies. When workers know what is expected of them, and have an easy way to access written policies, it slowly sinks in and becomes second nature — a corporate culture. To enhance communication of policies, says US Standard, consider holding weekly or monthly safety talks. These should not be voluntary but mandatory. Also consider making safety policies available across all communication channels, including email, intranet, notice boards, mobile apps, and website.
2. Train Workers
When it comes to workplace safety policies, informing people is not enough. You must train them, so they internalize the concepts you are trying to push. Training also has a secondary benefit; it shows your commitment as an organization to safety. As training typically cost money and working hours, putting aside resources to train workers can help boost morale and create a better workplace safety culture among them.
3. Lead from the Front
From floor supervisors to C-suite executives, everyone must toe the safety line. This top-down approach to safety almost always creates more buy-in from workers. When workers see superiors following safety procedures to the letter, they are more inclined to do so as well. As such, when formulating safety policies, make sure everyone is on board and make it clear that there will be no exceptions when it comes to implementing the safety policies.
4. Roll Out a Positive Reporting Process
Report, report, report — that is the clarion call of all successful safety policies. When workers report safety issues, safety policies can be updated, leading to an even safer work environment. But for workers to report, there must be a positive reporting system in place. Such a system should not only encourage reporting but also reward it. US Standard Products notes that it should also tie reporting instances to policy improvements, so workers see the benefit of reporting.
5. Involve Workers
Workers are best placed to identify and report safety issues. As such, all safety policies must be formulated from the ground up. Involving workers means letting them know their voices matter and that they are the reason the policies exist. Ask them everything about the safety policies — from how they should be formulated, to how they should be communicated and even how reporting should be done. With this feedback, you should have enough information to create effective safety policies.
Bonus: Cultivate Habits
Everything workers do is from habit — whether good or bad. The best safety policies, says US Standard Products, are those that become habits. When workers fall into the habit of following safety policies, it becomes second to nature. When workplaces achieve this, such habits engulf the entire organization, transforming it to the very core into a safety-embracing organization.