Improving safety is a company-wide mission. When an employee experiences a work-related injury, the effects spread far beyond that one person. It affects your surrounding network everyone from coworkers and companies hiring you to your own family members and even your profit.
When it comes to safety, how do you change the ‘I have to’ attitude into an ‘I want to’ lifestyle?
For safety procedures to work at their optimal potential, they must be practiced at every second on every level. Safety should not only be viewed as a core value but also adopted as a lifestyle of its own, becoming a part of how every person works on a daily basis. By implementing an around-the-clock focus on safety at all levels of employment, the company as a whole will actively work together towards a zero-injury workplace.
Start Safe, Stay Safe
There is no better place than the first day to begin emphasizing safety as a top priority. New employees are like sponges, absorbing their new surroundings, being trained in new tasks, and learning how to work with their new team members.
Safety training programs are one of the first stepping stones to ensuring safety procedures are explained and communicated to the new employees properly. It’s just as important to ensure that the high standards of safety learned in the classroom are demonstrated by the more experienced workers in the field, to avoid bad habits being passed on or putting peer pressure on the new guy to do things unsafely in order to fit in with the crew.
Additionally, employees at all levels should be encouraged to address any unsafe working conditions they see from day one of their training. This will help to make employees, whether brand-new or seasoned, feel included in helping to create a culture of safety in which every single person is actively working to improve for the better of the company, not to mention their own future.
A solid foundation for keeping all employees safe will begin with the initial training methods, but it will become less of a task and more of a way of life if everyone is on the same safety-focused page at every level on every job.
Keeping employees focused on safety from day one to the last days before retirement can be a difficult task. Safety procedures and standards change and evolve just like any other component of doing business.
Holding individuals accountable for their own safety is essential to maintaining the high level of safety you envision for your team, and that must come from all levels of the company:
- Steadfast management commitment
- Mid-management follow-through
- Employee involvement
Each and every level has an important role in making sure safety procedures are followed at all times. Even the most minor of mishaps cannot go ignored, because this fosters a culture of picking and choosing when to be safe as it suits the individual.
When it comes to motivating, positive reinforcement will play a hugely beneficial role and make employees motivated to provide helpful feedback. Corrections to unsafe practices must be addressed and resolved, but they will be more advantageous to both the teacher and the student if used as an educational opportunity.
Let’s take ladder safety as an example. Falls remain the leading cause of U.S. unintentional injury mortality, and between 2004 and 2014, 43% of them involved ladders. If an employee is using a ladder unsafely, the one who notices whether new to the job or with 20 years of experience should effectively stop the mishap, and remind them of the correct method and how it makes a difference in providing a safe working environment and ultimately the success of the company and its workers.
By turning an issue into a learning opportunity, employees will be much more likely to avoid making the mistake again and to feel the weight of how choosing the safe option will affect them and their coworkers in a positive way.
Own Your Safety
Teams are only as strong as their weakest link. Make that link the best it can be, achieve the highest safety standards, and you have yourself the strongest team possible. When every individual is properly trained, held accountable, and surrounded by an entire team that does the same, they will take ownership of their own level of safety.
This means great things for the team as a whole: safer work environments, less downtime, and lower costs associated with work-force injuries. All of that equates to more productivity (and money) for the company and its employees. This is true for every company, but it helps to fully realize the impact of each individual’s decisions on your bottom line when you’re an employee-owned company like we are at Custom Aire.
As employee-owners, our team members have a unique, transparent look at how every job, timeline, lost tool, or work-related injury directly affects the bottom line of the company and, ultimately, each individual owner. Owning your own level of safety means owning everything, down to your own profit.
Interested in learning more about how our company can provide your job site with the highest level of safety? Or maybe you’re interested in working for an employee-owned company with a focus on safety and employee-ownership opportunities? We’d be happy to chat contact us for more information today.