Stop searching for a safety culture, you already have one | The …

Whether you know it or not, you already have a safety culture. It is either strong or weak, helpful or harmful, but it is there underlying everything your organization does and stands for.

You may hear the term “safety culture” in different industries and companies. You may even be searching for ways to introduce safety culture into your organization. But hold on … you already have a safety culture. Every organization does. Just like your business culture, it’s present in everything you do. Safety culture exists whether you choose to guide it or not. Ignoring the state of your safety culture will result in it controlling your organization’s performance, instead of the other way around.

When you allow a weak safety culture to control your organization, you are exposing yourself to poor reputation, lost opportunities, high costs, poor productivity, loss of control, high staff turnover, negligence, potential fines and imprisonment, and worst of all, incidents and injuries.

In contrast, a strong safety culture is your most reliable defense against incidents. It can help create new business opportunities, improve your competitive position in supply chains, reduce real business costs, increase productivity, improve morale and, most of all, create a safe working environment.

How to ensure workplace health and safety stays strong:

1. Establish/Refresh Positive Beliefs

Ensure your entire workforce accepts the belief that everyone wants to go to work, do their job well, and get home safe.

2. Endorse Positive Attitudes

Every member of your organization must be fully invested in health and safety.

Be proactive – take action when a hazard threatens your health and safety, and that of others.

Be personally accountable – make it your responsibility to ensure things are done safely.

Protect others — safety isn’t just about your own health, but that of your colleagues as well.

3. Inform Workers of Their Basic Safety Rights

The right to know about potential and actual hazards in the workplace, the right to participate in the improvement of health and safety, and the right to refuse unsafe work – these are the basic safety rights of all workers under health and safety laws. Employers are legally obligated to inform employees of these rights, and document it.

4. Promptly Identify and Address Hazards

Always be on the lookout for potential workplace hazards.

Identify the types and locations of activities at your workplace.

Check if any activity has the potential to cause harm.

Reduce risks by removing the hazard or modifying the work.

Verify best practices are being followed.

Improve by evaluating what could be done more safely.

Report and investigate all incidents to prevent recurrence.

5. Train Your People

In order to build a solid team environment, you need to retain high-calibre individuals. The best way to keep people around is to continually develop their skillset. This makes for great and safe places to work.

6. Implement Best Practices and Procedures

When the workforce knows and understands the best practices that govern their work, they will make the right choices for the right reasons, and strive to do every task the right way every time.

7. Repeat Steps Above

We must continually elevate and enhance our safety culture to fend off the risk exposures that relentlessly chase after us, including the threat of complacency when things are going well.

No matter where you work or what you do, safety culture is relevant to you. Always remember — everyone wants to go to work, do their job well, and get home safe. This is the belief that a strong safety sulture is founded upon.

Stephen Sayle is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and CEO of SayleGroup Inc and SayleSafety Inc. SayleSafety is the authority in Safety Culture, having created a movement with the launch of their online Safety Culture training and the development of their safety management app.

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