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Expert Advice


Promoting Safety at Work

Wed 2011-03-09 1:11:00

Today I’d like to talk to you about ways to promote safety in your place of business. Safety is always on our minds but we can all take it one step further by following the tips below.

1. Be a Hazard Detective
Workplace conditions are always changing, so if you let your guard down and take things for granted, a hazard might develop where you least expect it. Don’t assume everything's safe because team members don't bring hazards to your attention or complain of safety problems. See for yourself. Conduct a walk-through of work areas. Create a checklist of potential hazards and carry it with you. As you walk around, make sure team members are wearing PPE and following safety procedures.

2. Analyze Jobs for Safety's Sake
Every job should be formally analyzed to identify hazards at least once a year. If a different method will eliminate an identified hazard, introduce it. If PPE is required, make sure it's available.

3. Emphasize Safety Training
Stress hazards and accident prevention during new employee orientation and follow through in weekly safety meetings, informal toolbox talks, and required training sessions. Make sure team members have the skills and information they need to work safely. And don't forget to explain all rules and regulations thoroughly.

4. Team Up for Problem Solving
Set up teams to solve safety problems. Let team members gather information, analyze possible causes of safety problems, develop and test solutions, and implement and monitor results. Being part of a safety team makes members feel that they share responsibility for workplace safety. And when other employees see their co-workers getting involved and making the job safer for everyone, they'll want to get in on the action, too.

5. Watch for Changing Attitudes
If you notice team members getting sloppy, careless, or taking risks, put a stop to it right away. Hold safety meetings to review policies and procedures. Use the situation as a training opportunity to provide additional information or improve skills. Do whatever it takes to change unsafe attitudes and behavior into positive safety performance.

6. Play It Straight
Enforce safety standards uniformly and consistently. Don't allow some team members to get away with bending rules—and expect to enforce them with the rest of your staff. And don't just tell workers that they did something wrong. Explain why it's wrong and how to do it right.

7. Reward Safe Behavior
Everyone wants approval and recognition. When team members follow safe work practices or make safety suggestions, let them know you're pleased and grateful. When you're busy and under a lot of pressure, it's easy to focus only on the negative things employees do. Make sure they get credit for the good stuff, too.

8. Create a "Want-To" Safety Culture
Create a safety culture in your organization in which employees do the safe thing not because they have to, but because they want to—because they want to avoid injuries so that they can go home to their families in one piece at the end of the workday. Help employees see the value in making the safe decisions. Remind them how many safety-related decisions they make every day and how one bad decision is all it takes to get hurt.

A safe and healthful workplace that embodies a "want-to" safety culture is based on skilled, knowledgeable employees. And one of the best ways to make sure that your employees have the skills and knowledge they need to work safely is to train them.
Stay Safe!



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