Tips for Building a Safety Culture

Creating and cultivating a safety culture is one of the most effective ways to protect employees and ensure a safe workplace. But building a safety culture can be difficult. It takes time, effort, and commitment from everyone in the organization.

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A lot of times, safety is seen as an administrative task—filling out checklists and making sure all the right boxes are checked and the correct forms are filed. However, checklists and paperwork only go so far in preventing accidents. Building a safety culture means much more than optimizing work flow to complete Occupational Safety and Health Administration forms. It means including every employee in safety efforts, recognizing any negative attitudes around safety, making changes, and cultivating a more positive approach to safety. Also, building a safety culture means empowering employees to report safety issues, hazards, and near misses.

Establish Clear Safety Protocols and Expectations
The first step to building a safety culture is to make sure expectations and protocols are clear. This isn’t just about polishing up safety policies. Instead, it’s about making sure management, supervisors, and employees are all on the same page. Without this, employees may not know what is expected of them when it comes to safety. This is especially important if employees have production goals to meet. They need to know that the expectation is safety first, even if it comes at the cost of production. Establishing clear safety protocols and expectations can help reduce the risk of accidents. This is the foundation of building a safety culture in the workplace.

Foster a Positive Attitude Toward Safety
If a company hasn't been intentional with its culture or attitude around safety, it’s possible that it doesn’t have a positive one. Is the company culture built on trust, respect, and ethics? For example, a workplace with a lack of trust between employees and management typically ends up with a negative safety culture. This is because employees don’t trust safety officers, feel like safety is just enforcement of rules, and fear punishment. Furthermore, in some cases, this results in employees hiding incidents, near misses, or minor injuries. This is why a positive attitude towards safety is essential. Everyone should feel comfortable, confident, and included in safety endeavors. Then, safety officers are there to support and protect employees, not punish them.

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