Having a strong culture of safety is important for all workplaces, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A shared vision that is implemented through behavior, policy and enforcement can reduce workplace accidents and promote a safer work environment for everyone. A successful safety culture consists of many components, including leader and employee engagement.
It is important for those in leadership positions to set a good example. By showing that they take safety seriously, other individuals in the organization are more likely to do so as well. Upper management must make their commitment to workplace safety known so that other workers are encouraged to take a more active role in creating a safer work environment. Company leaders can show their commitment by taking the time to walk the floor, hold safety meetings and give feedback to workers.
The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that employee engagement is equally important to leadership commitment in creating a safety culture in the workplace. When each member of the organization takes an active role in their own safety, it helps to create a strong and effective safety culture. Employees have valuable first-hand knowledge of the risks associated with the job and how work practices can best be improved. They will be more likely to communicate such ideas if they are included in the process and encouraged to participate.
However, it is important to give the proper incentives when encouraging behavior-based safety. For example, employees should not be rewarded for going a certain period of time without any injuries or incidents because they may then avoid reporting incidents in order to receive the reward. Employees should also be able to report safety issues free from the fear of negative consequences; they should never be discouraged from reporting incidents or otherwise taking an active role in workplace safety. Instead, OSHA recommends building a culture of safety by:
The NSC also suggests encouraging employees to take an active role in their safety and the safety of others in the workplace. Some recommendations include: