When employees are engaged, they choose to work safely rather than being told to, and take care of each other too. here are three tips to help you on your journey towards achieving safety culture.
Go Beyond Training
The first step most organizations take is safety training. There is no doubt that this is a crucial first step and is an investment in your people and their safety. But is it enough?
The Forgetting Curve shows us that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 percent of the information presented to them. This makes it crucial to go beyond the training room and strive to embed the lessons learned into the daily behaviors of your employees. This means giving them the tools that remind them to do it, while making it easy to do.
For example, forklift operator training is usually a 4–5-hour class with multiple modules and a practical evaluation – and the forgetting curve tells us that a large portion of that is often not retained. In addition to this, forklift operators will be retrained every three years, which is why you may consider not relying solely on training to ensure safe behavior.
Make Safe Working a Choice
Having given employees the tools to help them embed safety training into their daily routines, what is your approach to making sure it happens?
Sure, a supervisor can manage safety procedures, however that doesn’t always foster engagement and build culture. In fact, most would say it comes with a feeling of mistrust and being ‘called out’ for doing the wrong thing.
Our customers tell us that a key to fostering positive engagement is visibility. At the most basic level, making safety visible demonstrates your organizations commitment to keeping everyone safe. Beyond that, it introduces accountability and creates an environment where people choose to work safely.
For example, SG World USA's Inspection Checklist Solution is the first thing operators see before they begin operating a piece of equipment. This introduces a feeling of ownership and prompts them to perform the often OSHA required inspection without being told.
Motivate People to Want to Work Safely
Instead of calling out mistakes or reprimanding employees, try acknowledging safe behavior instead – both one on one and publicly. The idea is to catch people doing the right thing.
For example, if you see an employee has made a trip hazard safe or reminded their colleague to wear their safety glasses, have a conversation with them to recongize that safety success. You can even enter their names into a raffle and give out prizes at the end of the month. Not only does this celebrate employees safe behavior, it develops a positive association with working safely and pushes others to do the same.