Fostering a strong safety culture provides many benefits. In addition to reducing the risk of workplace accidents, such a culture can also help improve employee morale, enhance a business’s reputation and minimize related costs and liabilities. This article explains what it means to have a strong safety culture, outlines associated benefits and provides strategies companies can implement to establish this type of culture.
What Is a Strong Safety Culture?
A company’s safety culture encompasses how safety policies and protocols are carried out within the organization. According to OSHA, such a culture encompasses “the environment where the attitudes, behaviors and perceptions of all workers are reflected in the health and safety of the workplace.” Altogether, having a strong safety culture requires a mindset that involves common values shared throughout a company.
While this type of culture may be hard to precisely define, it can be easily recognized when there is a companywide commitment to safety responsibilities and all applicable parties (i.e., the employer and employees) are fully engaged and seeking to constantly adapt and improve.
Benefits of a Strong Safety Culture
Companies may experience a range of benefits from cultivating and maintaining a strong safety culture, including the following:
• Fewer accidents—A strong safety culture can reduce the likelihood of accidents and better protect employees on the job. This can, in turn, pose financial benefits, including lower insurance expenses, fewer medical bills and reduced equipment replacement costs. A strong safety culture may also limit the need for additional salary expenses that may follow an accident (e.g., overtime pay or additional employee salaries to cover an absence).
• Increased employee morale—When employees feel safe at work and are comfortable reporting or discussing safety concerns, they are generally happier and more engaged. This can improve job satisfaction and productivity and result in a lower turnover rate.
• Enhanced business reputation—An organization that is committed to employee safety and well-being typically has a solid reputation among workers, clients and the general public. This positive reputation can help attract customers and serve as a recruiting tool in the search for new talent.
• Fewer compliance concerns—With a strong safety culture, a business can minimize potential compliance concerns, particularly as it pertains to meeting OSHA requirements. This can lower the likelihood of having to pay noncompliance fines and penalties.
Creating a Strong Safety Culture
Here are some tips businesses should consider to foster a strong safety culture:
• Ensure leadership prioritizes safety and communicates the importance of a strong safety culture.
• Maintain comprehensive safety policies and procedures and hold all workers accountable for following them.
• Offer regular training to employees on safety-related matters.
• Conduct routine risk assessments and hazard identification activities.
• Provide safety equipment and protective gear and ensure proper use.
• Encourage incident reporting and promptly respond to all reported incidents.
• Recognize and reward employees who show a commitment to safety.
• Commit to ongoing safety improvements by continually monitoring and assessing on-site risks and adjusting policies and procedures as needed.
For more information on the importance of fostering a culture of workplace safety, or for additional small business risk management guidance, please contact us today.
Article Published By: Zywave, Inc.