Last year, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the United States. That’s three cases per 100 FTE workers! And if that alone isn’t enough to convince you, here are a few more reasons to cultivate a safety culture in your company:
- safety programs can result in an average of 52 percent fewer workers’ comp claims;
- a safety culture creates a better workplace morale and increases employee retention; and
- customers, suppliers and the community will respect a company that values safety.
There’s no doubt about it: Creating a culture of workplace safety is good for companies and their workers. Here are the top three ways to create (or improve) your culture of workplace safety.
Set Safety as a Top Priority
Make it clear to all employees and management that safety is a top priority for your company. One important way to do this is to lead by example. If executives and management take the lead, employees will recognize and appreciate the importance of safety measures.
You can also make safety a priority by spending the time and money needed for safety training. Every person in the company – from entry-level employees to executives – must understand why safety is important, and how they personally contribute to safety in the workplace.
Build a Reporting System
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know about it. Since no one can be everywhere at once, encourage workers to report problems as they come up. There are several ways to do this: an online submission process; passing reports on to a direct superior; or designating a particular email address for safety reporting.
When setting up a reporting system, be careful it does not become a basis for punishing mistakes. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 48 percent of hospital employees feel that “when an event is reported, it feels like the person is being written up, not the problem.” This results in fewer reported events and defeats the purpose of the system. Remember, you are trying to cultivate a culture of safety, not a culture of blame.
Create a Formal Safety Program
If you are already working on better safety in the workplace, do you have a structured, identifiable safety program? This will reinforce the idea in your employees that you value safety. It also makes it easier to implement new ideas and procedures. Review OSHA’s recommended practices for ideas on how to create a safety and health program in your company.
Need extra help during your safety and health training? Staffing Partners is a temp agency as well as a permanent staffing firm. Whatever your needs, you can find excellent staffing solutions by requesting an employee today.