Author, Jeremy Hoolihan, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
Safety awareness is one of the most important factors in reducing workplace injuries. There are approximately three million workplace injuries, every year. This amounts to roughly 8,000 injuries per day, 350 per hour, or 6 injuries per minute. Many of these injuries are preventable. Unsafe behaviors or decisions are usually the most common contributing factors. If employees are unaware of hazards or not motivated to follow safety protocol, their behavior will expose them even more.
Promoting safe behavior in the workplace can be one of the most impactful ways of reducing injuries. I encourage business owners to go above and beyond the required controls and measures such as engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment (PPE) and promote safe behaviors and a safe work environment. Below are examples of ways ownership and management can promote safe behaviors.
Conduct frequent safety meetings with employees and encourage participation. Discuss previous injuries or near misses with your employees to identify the root cause and any corrective actions that are necessary. Be aware that not all corrective actions are readily accepted by employees, especially those seasoned employees that are set in their ways. It is important to listen to their concerns, analyze and modify the procedure or task so that the employee will buy into the changes and not be tempted to break the rules and work unsafely.
Give recognition to employees who are performing tasks safely and demonstrate proper behaviors. A little bit of recognition amongst your peers can be extremely influential and can further promote safety in the workplace.
Involve the employees in identifying and correcting hazards in the workplace. This can promote self-worth in an employee. Your employees are your eyes and ears in the field and they may identify an overlooked workplace hazard. It is especially impactful when the corrective action was a hazard they identified on their own.
Perform safety observations to encourage safe behaviors. While supervisory observations are important, business owners should also consider peer to peer safety observations. By collaborating with employees and involving them in the safety program, it will help them buy into any changes that are necessary further promoting workplace safety.
Having ownership and management consistently express their concerns for their employees well-being and safety is another way to promote safe behaviors. As a business owner, communicating to your employees that your main concern is their safety can drastically change the culture of a business. Reminding your employees that you want them to go home safely each day, goes a long way.
Promoting safe behaviors in the workplace starts with ownership and management, but is executed daily by the workforce. Providing sound policies and procedures relating to safety, along with a strong collaboration between ownership, management, and staff can drastically improve safety in the workplace and promote a safety culture.
Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc. is a strong advocate for workplace safety. We like to take a risk management approach with our clients and prospects to develop a program that fits their needs. Please feel free to reach out to me, Jeremy Hoolihan, at (619) 937-0174 to see how Rancho Mesa can improve your risk profile.