Increasing Personal Safety in the Workplace
The goal in safety is to prevent injury and illness and this can be done by encouraging Personal Safety awareness.
Injuries result from at-risk behaviours. If you decrease these behaviours, and increase safe behaviours you will prevent injuries. Two decades of a variety of behaviour based research has verified this premise.
What you need is people who want to be safe – and to be accountable for their actions.
A simple idea that is not so easy to implement. How do you encourage people to take personal responsibility for their own safety?
You can help people come to the understanding that they should change their behaviours by selling the benefits of their own safety. Look at “why” people take shortcuts, typically “it was quicker” or “it was easier” will be the resulting answer.
Safety in the workplace is also influenced by a number of factors such as the organisational environment, management attitude and commitment, the nature of the job or task, as well as personal attributes of the individual. By addressing these major influences you can create a safer working environment.
The following steps are methods you can use to encourage greater personal responsibility from your workers in the workplace:
Talk about the issues openly.
Create an environment where everybody can opening discuss and debate safety issues and make decisions from a group input rather than having to make decisions on their own.
Start talking about:
- being responsible for one’s actions
- values like trust, family, respect, integrity instead of giving a list of rules to follow
- what it means to come home in one piece
- concepts of accountability and responsibility
When people care about their health and well-being they are engaged and focused on what they are doing and rarely have accidents.
Find out what their greatest concerns are, and what needs to be done about them. Ask for their ideas on how fix things. Challenge any outdated assumptions, and give your employees the context, as the more context they understand the better they will perform, and the greater the reinforcement of positive safety habits.
Encourage them to think more on the job – you’ll improve autonomy and job satisfaction. The best way to create personal responsibility is to let them discover it for themselves.
Set realistic goals.
Goal-setting is a great way to get employees on board. You can inspire the whole team by setting a common challenge. As any self-help guru will tell you, goal setting is important for both individuals and teams. Goal-setting brings your team together and allows them to grow and motivate one another.
Commit to following up regularly.
Left to their own devices and without the proper motivation people will naturally slip back into old habits. You don’t want to lose any ground or motivation that you may have established.
Schedule a set time to catch up with everybody. Review progress toward the goals you have set and open conversation around any challenges people might be facing. Create discussion around ways to solve the problems. This is a great way to keep safety conversations open and to generate great ideas and energy.
Reinforce the small victories.
Let everybody know when positive safety behaviour happens. Make a fuss over the little things and that they’re getting closer to reaching the goals. Keep reinforcing progress and that success is almost theirs.
Chart progress publicly.
Make a point of charting the teams progress in public. We’re herd animals and this is a great way to motivate everyone and get them on board.
Celebrate, Rinse, and Repeat.
When the goal has been achieved make sure to celebrate the win. Then start over again with another goal to strive for. Keep the momentum going and encourage people to look after themselves and act safely at all times.
By creating an environment where everybody can openly discuss safety issues, and how to solve them, you create a workplace where safety is at the forefront of all conversations and processes on a daily basis. The more you can integrate safety in the workplace day-to-day, and encourage your staff to take responsibility for their safety as well, the more productive your workplace will be longer-term