Safety is just as important as customer service, marketing, and maintenance. Each contributes to profitability, and each is every employee’s concern. Safety is an integral responsibility in every position. Developing a culture of safety in the workplace starts by defining safety as a value of the company. A value does not change with business trends. A value is an essential component of every job and should be clearly communicated on a regular basis. If safety is a value, you know it. You see it in Company literature, read about safety responsibilities in your job descriptions, see managers demonstrate and reward safe behavior, and hear the safety message daily. You know it is expected, measured, and enforced.
Safety habits are vitally important for several reasons. You work to support your family or to maintain a quality of life. If your teenage son were about to use the weed-eater in the yard, you’d ask him to wear protective glasses. If you were about to handle sharp objects on a home project over the weekend, you would probably wear gloves. Why do we sometimes disregard concern for our own safety when we are at work? The most dangerous thought you can have is that someone else is responsible for your safety. We must all be responsible for our own safe work habits, because safe work habits prevent injuries.
If you are taught and held accountable for safe working habits, you can worry less about OSHA officers popping in for a surprise visit. It’s like being honest. If you are honest, you do not have to worry about being caught in a lie. If you have written policies, deliver appropriate training, and reinforce safe habits daily, the OSHA officer will recognize your efforts. Limiting liability protects your job.
The goal of every safety initiative is to prevent injuries. Make sure that safety is a value in your location and that co-workers understand the reasons why they are being asked to develop and maintain safe working habits. A culture of safety contributes greatly to a positive work experience.
Scott Mastley, SPHR, MBA, is the Vice President of Human Resources for Resource Alliance. Scott is a consultant, not an attorney, so he shares his opinions, not legal advice, about increasing performance and limiting liability.