As surprisingly as it might sound, all manufacturing organizations have a safety culture in some form or another – the real question is whether the culture actually values safety or does it just talk about it?
Some safety cultures provide amazing lip service when discussing employee safety. Still, when it is time to take action and show support for those statements – most companies prioritize cutting costs, increasing production, and anything else other than safety.
Here is everything you need to know about the safety culture at the workplace:
Things that Make a Poor Workplace Safety Culture
Before we jump into the list of tips on improving safety and building a strong safety culture in a workplace, let us talk about the different aspects that stand for poor workplace safety culture.
Among the top indicators, you will find that the company has a reactive rather than proactive approach to accident prevention. In other words, management only thinks about safety issues after an accident has taken place and employees have been injured rather than trying to prevent accidents before they even occur.
A poor workplace safety culture also includes a lack of supervision of employees, or the supervisors are not held accountable for the safety of their employees. Safety training for employees is mostly non-existent or minimal – the company also has poor hiring practices.
For instance, a company might not utilize pre-employment drug testing.
The company’s emphasis might also be overly-focused on getting the job done; instead of safety.
Things That Make a Strong Workplace Safety Culture
In a strong workplace safety culture, you see an organization-wide approach to efficient safety management. The safety culture is inevitably the atmosphere created by the company personnel’s shared beliefs, practices, values, and attitudes.
Safety culture, the way safety is perceived, valued, and prioritized inside a company, has obvious effects on potential accident rates. Still, it also affects a company’s competitiveness, productivity, reliability, and employee morale.
The Significance of a Strong Safety Culture
Building a strong workplace safety culture is the most important thing your manufacturing company can do to eliminate or diminish accidents and injuries and their potential costs.
OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has assessed this issue in-depth, and in its findings, it has been observed that developing strong safety cultures has the single greatest impact on the incident reduction of any process.
To be able to improve your workspace safety culture, you must be able to define it. Culture is the atmosphere created by the shared beliefs and opinions which shape one’s behavior.
So, how are you to know the level of workplace safety culture that you have in your manufacturing organization? Surely, you are well-equipped with the latest machinery, including the best steel cutting machines, and have a highly-skilled workforce, but how do you determine what is successful and what is not?
To answer this question, you must assess your organization as a whole as successful safety cultures are not separate entities from the company – instead, they resonate within every aspect of the company’s operations – when something is valued, it is worth the time and energy it takes you to excel at it.
This is exemplified when every employee within the organization exhibits a working knowledge of health and safety – in other words, they know their stuff, and they apply it to their daily activities.
Healthy safety cultures are leaps beyond the objective of keeping employees safe at work. They positively impact everything from improved manufacturing processes and a boost in employee retention to a happier workforce and a more profiteering bottom line.
How to Incorporate a Safety Culture
Safety is one of the greatest concerns for manufacturing business owners. The prioritization of a safety culture doesn’t only curb injuries but also boosts employee productivity levels, establishes morale, and improves the overall work culture and the health of employees.
Here are some ways to create a safety culture in your manufacturing business:
Make Safety a Mindset
Organizational safety is only possible if a safety-oriented mindset exists at an individual level. Safety shouldn’t be treated as something different from the employees’ daily work tasks. In other words, safety shouldn’t be something to talk about during meetings – it is something that should permeate all aspects of the company.
Safety should be a priority and incorporated into the mindset of all employees, especially those who work in the manufacturing factor. If you run a warehouse that has different sections, such as inventory storage and packing, you can set up signage and labels in areas that might impose some sort of danger.
Strong Communication & Work Relationships
Open communication and strong work relationships between the different departments are mandatory to incorporate a safe work culture. Mutual trust should exist on all levels – without a basic trust level, it is impossible to incorporate a safety culture in your workspace.
When there is a good level of trust between the different hierarchies within a company, good communication exists on all levels, and employees are more likely to report mistakes and missteps along with telling what happened when it happened and what can be done to prevent them in the future.
Incorporate Incentives & Penalties Strategically
A reward and penalty setting are always fruitful as it provides a motivational push for employees to report incidents instead of underreporting accidents and workplace mishaps. However, you will have to be very strategic about incorporating incentives by implementing them to allow employees to feel confident about reporting issues and even celebrate the successful implementation of a safety program.
To establish a positive safety record, you might want to assess what each employee does every day while assigning incentives and penalties.
Companies that have incorporated a strong safety culture know that they can experience positive financial results throughout their organization by making safety a priority. In the case of your manufacturing company, your company’s mission statement should stress the commitment it has made to promote safety by placing safety as an essential priority for the company, equivalent to other business functions, such as profitability and productivity.