Both employers and employees agree that ensuring a safe and healthy workplace is a must, which is why most business owners treat safety as a priority. But although their intentions are honorable, this might not be the right approach. Not because safety is not important, but because labeling it as a priority might not be appropriate.
A priority is an element that occupies a higher level than others in the hierarchy of importance. However, in a business setting, there’s not one single priority that takes center stage. There are multiple priorities that fight for attention, and their order changes depending on a wide range of variables. From this perspective, safety becomes just one of the many important tasks on a never-ending to-do list.
Therefore, it would be better to treat workplace safety as a core value instead. Seen in this light, safety becomes embedded into your company’s DNA, turning from a mutable factor into a foundational principle that guides your every action and paves the path to success. So, here’s how you can build a culture of safety in the workplace and reap all the benefits stemming from it.
Identify and evaluate risks and hazards
If you’re not aware of the potential risks and hazards in your organization, trying to keep everyone safe will feel like fighting an invisible enemy. That’s why the first step in building a positive safety culture is to conduct a risk assessment. This involves identifying, evaluating, and classifying all the potential risks and hazards associated with every piece of equipment, task, operation, and action within your organization, so you’ll know exactly what you’re up against.
Keep in mind that workplace safety hazards differ from one company to another. Having a general idea of the threats that businesses in your industry or sector usually face will not give you a very accurate picture of the problems you might encounter in your company. So, you need to be thorough about this assessment, think of every possible scenario, and take into account every factor that may cause harm to employees and everyone that comes into contact with your organization.
Develop a solid health and safety policy
Once you have conducted the evaluation and identified the potential risks and hazards in your company, you need to figure out how you’re going to address these issues. This takes us to the second stage of the process – developing a health and safety policy. A good health and safety policy sets out the rules and guidelines for reducing risks and hazards as much as possible or eliminating them entirely.
It’s important to make sure that the safety practices you set in place match your company’s needs and comply with health and safety standards within your industry. You’ll have to perform regular inspections in order to evaluate the efficiency of your methods, which can easily be done by employing an EHS app software. And if there are changes in your company, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, you need to take into account their impact in terms of safety and adapt your policy accordingly.
Get everyone onboard
A health and safety policy won’t make any difference if it doesn’t lead to action. So, if you want to keep risk hazards in check, you have to put theory into practice, and that means you need to get everyone involved. There’s a reason why the statement safety is everyone’s responsibility is so popular in the business environment. You can’t create a safety culture if only one person follows the rules while everyone else ignores them.
Workplace safety, like all other business endeavors, requires a team effort. From the lowest level employees to managers and those occupying senior positions, each and every member of your team needs to be aware of the safety risks they might deal with and the measures and behaviors they need to adopt in order to keep themselves and others safe.
It’s also worth mentioning that you need to keep all communication lines open and encourage employees to offer feedback on the strategies that you employ and any relevant health and safety-related matters. Providing safety training programs and using smart tools like Capptions can also make it easier for your workforce to take a more proactive stance on health and safety and play their part in building a safety culture that will benefit everyone.
Create an emergency response plan
Even a robust health and safety policy can’t possibly foresee or prevent every single thing that can go wrong in your company. Although the purpose is to eliminate workplace dangers, it’s not very realistic to think that you can create a hazard-free environment. Since you can’t control all the variables, especially when the human factor comes into play, there’s always a probability that you might have left something out, or that a new element might suddenly appear and disrupt your carefully constructed safety strategy.
But that’s what emergency response plans are for. When things don’t happen the way you expected and you’re suddenly faced with a dangerous situation that causes chaos and confusion, an emergency response plan can guide your actions and help you make rational decisions. The risk assessment mentioned in the first section of the article should help you devise such a plan.
Refine and improve your safety practices
It takes an ongoing effort to ensure and maintain health and safety in the workplace. You can’t just set some health and safety goals, decide on a few strategies that can help you minimize risks and hazards, and then call it a day.
Things change fast in the business environment, so you can’t lower your guard and assume your current safety plan will work like a well-oiled machine forever. There’s always room for improvement in every business area, and health and safety make no exception. You need to evaluate risks and hazards within your company on a regular basis and always try to come up with smarter and more efficient solutions to tackle these challenges.
Making sure that everyone is safe and protected is not just another task that needs to be checked. It’s a way of thinking that can help both employees and the organization thrive, so any action you take in this respect is worth the effort.