The common denominator for a safe workplace is a great safety culture. But how do you define it?
According to OSHA, “Safety culture consists of shared beliefs, practices and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs and attitudes which shape our behavior.” But how do you measure values, attitudes and beliefs?
Below are 10 ways to tell whether or not you have an awesome safety culture. If you can answer yes to most of these, you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! If not, don’t be discouraged–building a strong safety culture is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and perseverance. There’s always something to improve.
1. There is strong leadership commitment at all levels of the organization.
Everyone in the company, especially leadership, is committed to safety policies and practices. What an organization’s leadership values is typically what gets done. In a great culture of safety, leadership proves their commitment to occupational safety through their actions and how they empower others to win with their safety initiatives.
2. There is visible evidence of financial investment in health and safety procedures.
Safety slogans are great, but creating a winning safety culture requires resources. Improvements need to be made. Problems need to be solved. If funding a safety project is a constant battle and there is no evidence of financial investment, you may run into issues.
3. All employees throughout the organization have a working knowledge of occupational safety and health topics.
In a great safety culture, all employees throughout the organization have invested in a working knowledge of health and safety topics. In other words, they’re competent in safety. They know their roles and responsibilities from top management to new hires.
4. Managers spend an adequate amount of time out on the shop floor.
Great safety leaders spend time out where the people are. It’s where the real work gets done–the shop floor. It’s where you can find problems. It’s where you can talk to operators and get their feedback. It’s where you’ll be seen (and respected) as a safety leader. Great leaders get out there and get their hands dirty.
5. Regular detailed safety audits are conducted by an external auditor.
Great safety leaders are confident enough to be audited by an external auditor. It’s one thing to do an internal audit (and pat yourself of the back). It’s another thing entirely to bring in an objective outsider to do an external audit and meet the challenge head on!
6. There is a concrete definition of what success looks like for your health and safety programs.
How will you know when you’ve achieved your goals? You establish a safety plan with a clear definition of what your desired safety culture looks like, along with goals to measure where you’re at. Then you’ll know exactly what success looks like.
7. Nothing is swept under the rug!
A high standard exists for accurate and detailed reporting of injuries and illnesses. In a great safety culture, transparency and integrity are the only ways to conduct business. This is about living in reality and confronting the challenges that exist in your workplace.
8. Safety comes in first every time!
Who wins the showdown between production and safety at your organization? Does safety win every time or only when it’s the easy and convenient option? Safety needs to win every time or you’ll develop a toxic culture. It’s that simple.
9. Participation rates are high, indicating that employees are highly motivated.
Success tends to breed more success. A strong safety culture is the vehicle that drives this phenomenon. When participation rates are at an all-time high, you’ve been able to build buzz and positive momentum for your future efforts. Keep it going!
10. Rewards and recognition of good behaviors are regularly given.
Positive behaviors that support safety in the workplace should be awarded, and these awards should motivate continued health and safety performance. If you recognize and reward positive behavior, the word will get out, reinforcing a continuous loop of positive experiences that help build your safety culture.
We Can Help
If you don’t have these 10 things nailed down in your company, we can help. We simplify the process of creating a safe work environment as we guide your organization to safety excellence!
To learn more about how to build a strong safety culture or inquire about our safety services, please feel free to call 763-417-9599. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our contact form and we’ll be in touch.