Safety is important to every workplace, yet it is near-impossible to have proper workplace safety without employee engagement. Increasing safety engagement has shown to have a positive impact at both the individual and company level, according to BLR Safety, such as creating a more positive work environment, decreasing turnover, boosting productivity and quality of work, and other benefits.
As LinkedIn states, there are three main methods to improving safety in the workplace: providing everyone with the knowledge of how to be safe, providing proper safety equipment, and motivating everyone to adhere to safety guidelines. The first two are simple enough; with proper training and leadership you can ensure that everyone understands safety, and equipment is fairly self-explanatory. The third point is the most important, and the one that many struggle with – empowering their employees to embrace safety culture.
Understand what engagement looks like.
Engagement is a rather subjective topic, and it can be very difficult to determine if and when progress is being made. In order to properly improve safety engagement, it is worth establishing some concrete ideas of what exactly engagement is, especially to be implemented across different departments. Safety + Health magazine stresses, “Finding the right engagement activities means considering both the practical restraints of a person’s role as well as the motivations that would make an activity meaningful.”
Engagement is not something that can easily be measured. In order to ensure that you are making positive progress towards increasing safety engagement, it is best that you tailor your engagement efforts to specific individuals or groups. In addition, it is recommended that you establish clear guidelines and goals in order to help your employees understand what they must do.
Implement strong leadership.
While all employees are extremely important assets to workplace safety, establishing strong leaders who will set a high standard will encourage others to act accordingly. In EHS Today, Tom Krause, CEO of Behavioral Science Technology Inc., emphasizes the difference between management and leadership, stating, “By managing, organizations make things happen…by leading, organizations show employees why safety matters, why they should be motivated to get behind it and want to do it.” Management is important; you want to have an organized plan be carried out effectively, but before anyone will embrace the vision they must respond well to the leadership.
Allow your employees to have a voice.
In addition to providing a vision and setting an example for their teams, effective leaders will ensure that their team’s concerns and opinions are addressed. It’s only logical – engagement will increase if people are made to feel as though they matter. You should create outlets for which employees can voice their opinions both anonymously and in a group setting. In addition, establishing dependable lines of communication will encourage your employees to speak out if necessary. Finally, you should treat all opinions and ideas with respect and provide positive reinforcement when needed, as this will prevent tension and disengagement.
About Compass RMS
The risk management firm Risk Management, Inc. has specialized in workers’ compensation since 1996, creating the CWCP (Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional) program in 1999 and the P4 process in 2000. We launched our Compass Risk Management platform in 2008 and recently released version 4.0. For more information about our services, give us a call at (888) 519-6690 to speak with one of our consultants.
Please rate your organization’s engagement towards safety.