Focus on the benefits of a workplace safety culture
Safety consultants share advice on the most effective ways to obtain commitment from employees to establish workplace safety cultures. Chuck Pettinger, a process change leader for Predictive Solutions, wrote an article in EHSToday sharing tips from his experience working with clients.
The advice boils down to emphasizing the benefits of being safe as opposed to imposing safety rules as orders.
Here’s a summary of Pettinger’s advice:
- Engage employees to collaborate on drawing up safety plans.
- Be proactive. Ask whether employees are sufficiently trained to avoid injuries. Don’t wait to discuss safety after totaling up past injuries.
- Employees are more motivated to be safe if they understand it will protect them and co-workers instead of it being a rule imposed from on high.
- Make it convenient to practice safety. Rather than requiring employees to walk to a bathroom to wash their hands to prevent a COVID-19 infection, provide hand sanitizer or washing stations on the way to the bathroom.
On another note, the same publication reported a 30% increase in the number of whistleblower complaints filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the height of the coronavirus pandemic from February and the end of May. Complaints related to social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment dominated the complaints.