Answer me quickly: workplace safety is whose responsibility? The correct answer is "everyone's", right? While that may be true, not everyone has "workplace health and safety" listed in their job description. Often, only a handful of people is officially in charge of employee safety. And sometimes, it's only one person. You.
In 1987, as aluminum giant Alcoa's new CEO, Paul O'Neill knew he needed to change company culture from the ground up. The place was rife with labor disputes and losing money. In his 2012 book, The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg explains how O'Neill addressed these issues and steered the company to success by honing in on one seemingly isolated aspect of Alcoa's operations: safety culture.
Slice has been bringing joy to safety geeks since 2008. One of the ways we do that is with helpful workplace safety articles in our blog. We're always researching new ideas for blog posts that will help safety professionals reach employee safety goals. To that end, we recently sent out a survey to learn more about your workplace safety challenges. Here's a roundup of interesting things we learned:
Earlier this month, we discussed safety plan templates: their role in a workplace safety culture and what to look for in a template. This overarching document communicates the vision for employee safety at your company. It provides guidance and oversight. But once an overall safety plan is developed, it's time to roll up your sleeves to put the plan into place. At this stage, you must craft more detailed documents like workplace safety checklists and introduce them as integral parts of your company's maintenance and production routines.
You do your best. You make sure you've identified hazards, reduced hazards and trained workers in the proper technique for their jobs. But at some point each worker needs to step up and be responsible for his own safety. You just can't be there sitting on a worker's shoulder like a cartoon angel, whispering sweet safety nothings such as, "Make sure you're wearing your protective gear." The goal is to create a culture where safety concerns are integrated into everything your workers do because you can't personally prevent every accident. What you can do, to help with this goal, is to take advantage of how the human brain works. When giving safety presentations, introduce safety tips in the workplace with this trick to keep your message top of mind.
It's true what they say: change is the only constant, but humans have a strange relationship with change. Even as we push to improve quality, safety and profit, we resist any move away from the familiar. As a safety officer, one of your top goals is reducing injuries. That means keeping on top of safe work practices and introducing new procedures and equipment to mitigate workplace hazards. As you guide employee safety, you will introduce change that staff members are likely to resist. How can you implement safe work practices –from procedures to new safety equipment – successfully?
Workplace safety plans go by many names: emergency action plans, job hazard analyses and fire safety plans, to mention a few. These documents are crucial to safety at work for good reason. In many industries and jurisdictions, companies can't legally do business without safety plan documentation. But even when safety plans aren't required, they provide a helpful blueprint for all employees to understand the company's safe work practices.
Just by having a safety plan, you make it clear that employee safety is a priority for your organization. That's good for morale and the bottom line.
Workplace safety is everyone's responsibility, from the CEO down to the warehouse floor, but creating a culture of employee safety is easier said than done. While there's no magic formula to change existing attitudes towards safe work practices, the best (and perhaps easiest) place to start is with new trainees.
We've all been there. Sitting at a mandatory meeting counting the minutes until we can go for a lunch break, or at least get back to some "real work". However, as a safety manager, you know that employee safety is real work. If anything, your safety presentations and meetings could save lives. But public speaking, especially to an audience who'd rather be anywhere else, isn't the easiest part of your job. Follow these tips to engage your employees and put safe work practices front and center in their minds.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 1.5 million non-fatal occupational injuries in the private industrial sector last year. All of these required days away from work, job restrictions or transfers. Ouch. In addition, there were more than 4,400 fatal occupational injuries. Safer work practices help employee safety and the bottom line. It pays to be informed. The Internet is a vast ocean of knowledge, but helpful, well-researched workplace safety articles can be elusive. We’ve rounded up 16 top internet resources for safety in the workplace; enjoy, and keep safe.