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Creating a Safety-Aware Environment in the Workplace


Safety slogan in the workplace is experiencing change: evolving from an optional added to a compliance requirement, companies are now increasingly recognizing the many benefits of developing committing, a strong security culture. These range from increased staff morale and improved productivity, to reduced injury-related expenses, competitive insurance premiums and improved turnover gains and reputation.

But, encouraging a culture of safety involves more than simply lip service. Safety-orientated values, long-term obligations to firm-wide safety, and constant concrete actions will determine which businesses will reap the benefits of producing and maintaining an effective safety culture.

Safety at work saves lives; it also saves money. According to this 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, US businesses lose more than a billion dollars per week in compensation costs arising from the 10 most common workplace accidents and illnesses - incidents that could be avoided with appropriate safety measures in place. These figures don't account for the associated productivity losses and administrative expenses, which are estimated to amount to a further $120 billion, annually.

Too often, safety at work is considered an expensive alternative, and the cost of implementing an effective and comprehensive safety policy becomes your company's overriding concern. A bad safety record will result in the following knock-on effects:

• Higher insurance premiums

Furthermore, not only will an organization's profits/turnover suffer, but also its own reputation - the cost of which can be largely unquantifiable.

So what's meant by a"Safety Culture"?

A culture of safety in an organization is one where security at work is inherent in the values and standards of their company. However, it's not enough for your own organization to hold specific values; these must manifest themselves in the words that the organization uses, as well as from the actions it takes.

The fundamentals held have to be correctly and consistently conveyed to staff. Staff members will constantly take their cue from the managerial communication they receive, overt or if these are always positive and supportive, the foundations of a positive safety culture are going to be laid.

Any actions, however small, which decision-makers or managers take to promote, promote or encourage safety in the workplace is going to have a positive knock-on impact on all employees. (As a corollary, positive verbal communication will have little impact if it isn't backed up by equally favorable actions.) The most effective actions which senior staff members can take are those which overtly reward safety-oriented behavior in others.

Altogether, a firm's safety culture is a combination of its own worth, communications and, most importantly, its own actions.

Developing your Firm's Safety Culture

All companies have a safety culture - but not have a favorable one. Before you can take action to come up with your firms, you have to determine what type of security culture is already set up.

Identify Your Own Culture

The first step is to communicate with the personnel tasked with the organization's safety - the proper manager or consultant. This will provide comments on what the firm would ideally want its values to be. The reality, however, may be rather different, and may only be evaluated from the ground up: by communication with all staff members, and identifying their perceptions of their organization's safety culture.

Among the most efficient and comprehensive means of communicating with a team about its safety culture would be to create and circulate questionnaires. To guarantee honesty and candidness, any such questionnaire should be stated to be anonymous, free from negative consequences, and be aiming to act favorably on the information gathered.

Such categories are worth contemplating as a guide when creating or reviewing surveys.

Having determined how powerful - or otherwise - your organization's safety culture is, it is possible to take stock and design a plan for moving forward. If your company has a weak civilization, then the very first steps to take are to liaise with senior management to identify the company's policy. As a safety officer, you will initially be met with resistance, typically in relation to the perceived cost of execution. A few of the effects and costs of a failure to develop a strong security culture are set out previously and need to be communicated as required.

Develop and Boost Your Firm's Culture

Regardless of your business's existing position, there are various measures that may be taken to enhance a business's culture. Evidently, all actions taken should consider the organization's business, structure, and size, but here are some examples of actions which can apply irrespective of such confines:

• Involve Your Staff

The best approach to develop a strong security culture is to involve all personnel. Empowering staff transmits the message that their part in the success of the firm is essential, plays a significant role in encouraging staff morale and pride. Staff can participate in a myriad of ways, from providing opinions on company policies, acquiring a security liaison officer, developing a safety committee, or creating plans applicable to certain sections.

The best method to ensure safe behavior in the workplace would be to have it mirrored from the direction. Any security policy implemented has to be shown by senior administration and decision-makers.

• Publish a Mentor Programme

A security mentor program is an effective method of introducing new staff members into the safety culture. In addition to producing positive expectations from existing workers, it generates role models for incoming staff to follow.

• Implement Successful Training

Training itself isn't sufficient: it must be effective. To this end it should be:

Comprehensive enough - too much information at one time is more likely to be forgotten;

Ongoing - one-off training isn't enough. To demonstrate a real commitment to safety, training has to be regular and periodic;

Flexible - effective training ought to be in a position to accommodate all levels of the audience;

Relevant - tailor every training session according to the proper department; and

Organic - it ought to"grow" together with all the team members.

• Diarise Safety Reviews

To be completely effective, a safety program should also incorporate regular reviews. It's worth, therefore, contemplating regular meetings to discuss and examine security, looking not only at internal issues and events but also to discuss any relevant matters which have occurred within the industry that could have an impact on safety in your firm.

• Display Your Safety Message

Visibility is critical in making culture. Publicizing your values informs your staff that you're serious about, and committed to, your safety culture.

• Recognize and Encourage Positive Action

Ways of doing this include developing a periodic Safety Worker award, strengthening positive security actions throughout the firm or even the market, or even implementing a smaller, less formal methods to highlight within the organization steps taken by people.

• Communicate Effectively

Finally, it is not enough for an organization's management to convey its values and thoughts; effective communication needs to be a two-way event. To guarantee a strong security culture, an organization should listen to its own staff, and make the channels for effective two-way communicating. Safety requires the input of all workers, and a safety culture must explicitly embrace and include all members of their organization.

Safety Management Systems are, deservedly, rising in popularity, as businesses realize that security in the workplace is not simply a compliance problem, but also a matter of effective hazard management.

When married with positive safety-based values, effective communication, and progressive activities, an SMS is a vital safety tool, essential for quantifying security and assessing the organization's progress. It enables staff members to efficiently communicate actions and policies and to execute and achieve security objectives. Moreover, a wide system will highlight safety hazards and risks, facilitating preventative measures, and encouraging risk management.

Additionally, the execution of an SMS is a tangible means for an organization to show both its investment in, and commitment to, a positive, strong safety culture.

Our modules include Incident and event management; risk management; compliance management and licenses and approvals. Finally, they've been made to complement current safety policies and programs, resulting in decreased accidents, statutory and regulatory compliance, and safer workplaces.

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