You probably don’t want managers settling for “good enough” when it comes to workplace safety.
Good enough in safety means a willingness to settle for injuries. And that’s not good at all.
Instead, safety programs should strive for clearly defined behaviors that workers can be held accountable for; behaviors that will prevent people from being injured — and cut your workers-comp costs. These types of programs get the best results using the least amount of time, energy and resources.
Implementing safety change takes leadership. Five steps to help achieve better safety goals are:
Expectations: Most employees expect to have a safe workplace. Beyond that, worker expectations vary on such things as autonomy, work/life balance, career advancement, stability, structure, teamwork, etc. The key is to learn what expectations people have, then either try to meet those expectations, or at least address satisfactorily why they can’t be met.
Communication: Managers who deal directly with safety and its administration should be strong communicators. Those managers who are not having positive impacts on people around them should be encouraged to improve face-to-face skills.
Innovation: Change is difficult whether anticipated or not. To change or grow a safety culture requires people who see the big picture, a leader who won’t stop until the changes become standard-operating-procedure.
Organization: Safety innovation lags without well-led teams dedicated to the goal. If the goal is zero injury, that means nothing short of everyone leading one another.
Appreciation: Strong leaders know to appreciate the efforts of those people around them who make things happen.
In the end, when leaders commit to providing a rigorous safety program, employees respond by being better motivated and behaving in a manner that lets them go home safe and injury free – every day.