“Making a living shouldn’t have to cost you your life. Workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are preventable. Safe jobs happen because employers make the choice to fulfill their responsibilities and protect their workers.” — Dr. David Michaels Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
At last count, 14 American workers are killed on the job every day and over 4 million workers sustain workplace injuries and illnesses every year. Dr. Michaels stated that it is the employers’ responsibility to protect their workers. This is true, with the understanding that the workers themselves have a responsibility to help prevent accidents. Companies that are able to establish a strong safety culture, where all employees feel responsible for safety, often have fewer accidents, lower turnover rates and higher productivity.
Here are some tips to improve the safety culture in your company:
- Include employees in safety planning. Ask for, and be open to their input about unsafe work conditions or behavior.
- Maintain up-to-date Job Hazard Analyses (JHA). Once hazards are identified they can be reduced or eliminated. A JHA can also be used as a training tool for new workers.
- Provide required training that encourages student/instructor interaction and gives the employee an appreciation for safety.
- Encourage supervisors to initiate informal training on subjects that pertain to your workers; these are often referred to as Toolbox Talks or Safety Chats.
- Point out possible distractions and their dangers. Did you know that during a Michigan State University study, participants who were distracted for only four-and-a-half seconds tripled the number of errors they made performing a given task? Ask employees what distractions pull their attention away from the job and help them find ways to eliminate them.
- Routinely walk the facility to find areas in need of improvement and encourage safe behavior by acknowledging best practices.
- Have a written safety and health program that identifies the hazards that could harm workers, procedures to prevent accidents, and steps to take when accidents occur.
- An emergency is bound to happen, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Be prepared with an Emergency Action Plan.
If you see value in this list, but aren’t sure where to start, ETC can help you! Contact us about Training, Job Hazard Analyses, Site Audits and Inspections, Safety Manuals, Emergency Plans or any other safety issue. If we can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.