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WorkPlace Safety . . . . Just How Important Is It?

Establishing a workplace where employees work to and embrace a robust safety-driven culture through demonstration at times can be a difficult issue for organizations to deal with and establish. There can be many reasons why it continues to elude some, and for others the rewards continue to be seen in employee morale, trust and in their accident and near miss reporting numbers. Understanding and supporting five key areas are critical to most any organization's WorkPlace safety success.

Training. . . . what your employees don't know is hard to enforce. If a rule or standard can't be enforced, it's hard to hold employees accountable. This fundamental issue is compounded by the fact that if individuals cannot be held accountable, then neither can the organization. With regard to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement, well that's another story!

Establishing Safety Culture. . . . once training has occurred and employees understand the OSHA requirements, an organization can move toward the goal of establishing a Safety Culture. To determine the current state of safety health in your organization, an assessment could be conducted. The assessment can provide your organization the information needed to identify strengths and weaknesses. The leadership team then has empirical basis to establish goals to meet the needs of the organization with the appropriate levels of focus and priority.

Management Involvement/Commitment. . . . change efforts need the involvement and support of the management team to reach the intended outcome. Senior level commitment is paramount to establishing a strong safety culture and communicating it. By sponsoring the resources needed, a sense of importance will begin to grow within the organization.

Often employees will question whether their management is committed, or just involved, especially when trying to meet production goals. This situation is so incredibly transparent to employees, and often undermines the success of change and transition efforts, employee motivation, and even daily operations.

Employee Involvement. . . . is quite important to the success of eliminating workplace injuries. This takes more then just handing out a safety manual. By involving your people in the design and implementation of safety goals, your employees become more committed to developing a firsthand appreciation for safety. Their involvement in establishing goals that will keep them safe will likely mean more to them. By jointly working with your people, your organization as a whole will grow from the experience. This growth will likely lead to better decisions in the field and a sense of governorship that means that they will look out for each other.

Establishing a Safety Program. . . . A successful safety program should be accessible to the workforce. As part of your program, it's important for Safety Department personnel to be available and seen in the workplace. Their involvement during pre- and post-job briefs can go a long way to help guide the organization in addressing safety issues prior to work commencing.

Clear safety rules and guidelines provide direction that errs on the side of conservatism. Issues brought to your safety department for resolution need just that . . . . resolution. Decisions need to be made that provide employees a safe work environment, supported by management, and embraced by the organization.

These areas make up the necessary components that support and maintain your company's workplace safety culture. At the WorkPlace Cornerstone Group we have focused experience in evaluating and establishing, with our clients, a roadmap to implement and successfully achieve high performance in each critical area of workplace safety.
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