Fifteen U.S. workers die on the job every day, leaving behind family, friends and co-workers, and an employer who has to explain why. The single most common cause of the problem — complacency.
In the realm of workplace safety, practitioners define complacency as the attitude that “nothing will happen to me.”
And the No. 1 cause of that attitude is managers who are satisfied with mediocre safety performance. They fail to raise safety awareness, which helps to eliminate the potential for injury and improve the overall work environment.
What happens next is inevitable: Employees lose sight of safety’s importance because to them it appears management isn’t terribly concerned, either. They start to think they are not even responsible for their own personal safety at work, which is truly a remarkable transformation.
It happens every day. Overtime, as this situation is allowed to run its course, employees blame management and management blames the employees. In the meantime, people might be getting hurt and the bottom line is taking a beating with higher workers’ comp costs, fines, turnover, morale, etc.
So what can C-level managers do? Double-check that your own team hasn’t fallen into the safety complacency trap.
Managers are susceptible to complacency when other pressing issues such as increased productivity, improved quality and higher profits push safety concerns too far to the rear.
The only remedy that really works is re-commitment to safety that begins at the top.
Leadership must require managers to renew their own commitment to the safety process, while at the same time engage employees to get involved in meaningful safety activities.
Any attempt to reinvigorate a company-wide safety effort should include these 4 “musts for managers:
1. Take time to walk around and talk with employees
2. Make it a point to review all near-miss and injury reports.
3. Integrate safety into all aspects of management planning.
4. Enable employees to get involved in the safety process.
To get employees involved, require or encourage them to:
1. Report all unsafe conditions.
2. Attend safety meetings
3. Serve on safety committees
4. Participate in accident/incident investigations.
5. Share safety improvement ideas with managers.
Source: Safety Compliance Alert.