Creating a Culture of SafetyOctober 05, 2016
Safety is something that should be front of mind in any workplace, but when work is being conducted in hazardous environments; like at heights or confined spaces, the consideration for safety increases even more. When workers’ decisions can make the difference between injury or not, or even life or death, creating a culture of safety amongst all involved is crucial.
“Safety culture” is best defined as proactively seeking risk management tactics that ensure the safety of both oneself and others as well as property and environment. In practice, this can be achieved in multiple ways. First, seeking out industry best practices to ensure that those standards are met or exceeded means that an organization is responsive to regulations that are designed specifically to reduce or eliminate dangers. Secondly, empowering workers to identify and voice any safety concerns that they may have, this allows for each individual on-site to remain actively engaged – regardless of their position – in creating that safety culture. Finally, putting in place a solid and proven system for acting upon those concerns (i.e., creating a safety plan and having a strong reporting system) provides the necessary framework within which to function.
Communication is the most important element when working to create a safety culture. Creating and communicating clearly defined expectations in regards to safety is crucial to maintaining that culture. This is especially important for those that are new employees so as to ensure that they are attuned to safety right from Day 1. This communication must come from all levels, but is particularly influential when coming from senior leaders within an organization, and sets the stage for a proper safety culture.
The ultimate goal in creating a safety culture is ensuring that no one gets hurt. Global Rope Access (GRA) is a company with a strong safety culture that conducts much of their work in potentially hazardous environments – exposed, challenging access, high angle, and confined spaces, is the norm on GRA sites. To attain their safety culture, GRA points to how all employees thrive on making such hazardous situations safe. This means asking questions like, what measures are in place to prevent injury and accidents to workers? What can be done to improve the overall safety ? How open is the client or company to seeking professional help for areas that are outside of their current knowledge base, particularly when it comes to safety? An immediate step that can be taken to help a company seeking to improve their safety culture is to recognize and acknowledge the lack of safety and/or identify those practices that are unsafe. Safety professionals can provide expertise and solutions such as mountain safety programs; implementing programs and creating a safety culture specific to a given job site is something that GRA specializes in.
Both from a personal and professional standpoint, no employee or employer wants to suffer lost time injuries or have other workplace incidents. Creating a safety culture prevents accidents and promotes a cohesive team approach towards keeping everyone out of harm’s way. Taking that step towards improved communication that is geared towards safety culture ultimately benefits everyone in an organization, both on site and off.