10 Steps to Build a Positive Safety Culture: Part I
10 Steps to build a Positive Safety Culture.
Building a positive safety culture is no mean feat. It requires real commitment from all levels of a company, as well as a plan and someone to drive success. The benefits of a positive safety culture have been well documented and explored. Dr. Agwu performed a study that focused on the impact of safety culture on organisational performance and found that a positive safety culture was shown to lead to “better productivity, profitability, efficiency, quality, corporate image and innovative capacity”. If that’s not a good enough reason to invest time and resources into safety culture, I don’t know what is.
It’s hard to know where to start, so we’ve outlined 10 steps that can help you build a more positive safety culture within your company. This is an important issue and we want to make sure we can deliver all the relevant information. So we have made this a two part blog. Read on for the first five steps, and sign up to our blog to be notified of the next post.
1. Set Goals
It might sound a bit obvious but it’s important. What’s most important about this is how the process is done. It doesn’t help the overall safety culture if the process is completely top down. To build a positive safety culture it needs to start from the beginning, which means making sure that everyone is involved in setting goals, from senior managers down to the newest employee. When goals are collectively set it encourages engagement.
2. Talk & Listen
It is also extremely important that everyone is on the same page with the safety practices, which is why it is equally as important to talk as it is to listen. You need to talk to set out what the initial goals are. But you also need to listen to make sure that all ideas are heard and incorporated.
Every single member of the team needs to be held accountable for their involvement. This means managers as well. It’s well documented that safety and leadership go hand in hand. So when it comes to setting out procedures every team member or employee should be created equal. If the senior members of staff can’t get away with something, then the junior members are far less likely to try.
4. Be Responsive
This doesn’t mean you should wait for an accident to occur then respond to it. It means there should be varied and open channels of communication for all employees to voice their concerns or have their ideas heard. Managers need to be held accountable for inaction, otherwise feel like speaking up is a waste of time.
5. Report Near Misses
If near misses are not properly reported you will never be able to assess where you went right, and maybe more importantly, where you got lucky. Near misses can be a great way to build on existing safety measures because they lack the “blame” that comes with more serious safety actions. Michael Tooma wrote a great article on LinkedIn recently about this: Investigating your Serious Near Misses the Positive Way. He states that “the problem with focusing on what went wrong is that we never get the full story.”
There are also times where a near miss could be a safety success, due to procedures put in place or training provided. It’s important to celebrate, or praise these wins as it reinforces that the process is working. It also helps employees such as lone workers engage with the company safety procedures, knowing that they will be recognised, or rewarded, even though there was no one there to witness the event.
Sometimes even a car cutting it a bit close can be a workplace safety hazard, and it’s important to report these kinds of events as well.
Stay up-to-date with important information by signing up to our blog, that way you won’t miss out on the next 5 steps to finish building a positive safety culture within your company.