A safety culture impacts all industries, whether you are a manufacturer or a service-oriented business. We are all unique, yet these tools will help you create a world-class safety culture.
What is a safety culture?
Culture is a way of thinking, behaving, and working as a group. A safety culture embodies the values and processes of creating a safe environment for all. People want to be safe at work, so engaging employees and management to work together to build a safety culture benefit everyone.
Why is it essential to have a safety culture?
Statistically, an unsafe work environment can cost a company billions of dollars and, more importantly, loss of life. According to OSHA:
- 24,000 workers are injured in every 8-hour workday.
- Seventeen workers will die each day.
- According to the National Safety Council, job site injuries cost society $128 billion in 1997, increasing to $291 billion in 2006.
These are direct costs, including medical expenses and lost time.
Indirect costs include loss of productivity, negative community press, litigation, and damage to the company brand. The impact on morale when a coworker dies or is seriously injured is somewhat immeasurable.
What are the phases of safety?
Intel Corporation created the Phases of Safety engagement model. It gauges where commitment and level of safety lie within a company’s environment. It measures safety on a scale of 0-5. The image is self-explanatory, with the first three phases somewhat ambivalent towards safety with a minimum focus on safety culture. The remaining three phases engage the entire organization and create a culture and environment of safety-minded employees and management. If safety is a value to the organization, it will not change if the leadership changes or the business experiences turnover. The difference can be the impact from a reactionary to a proactive mindset towards safety. The organization will move from a reactionary to a positive and proactive attitude toward safety.
Why create a safety committee?
A safety committee can be created to shepherd initiatives, programs, and employee engagement to be successful. The benefit of a safety committee ensures consistency, the process is documented and ‘written in stone,’ and a baseline for your safety culture has been established. In addition, the safety committee can react as situations arise, such as the impact of the Delta Variant and COVID-19.
What is the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)?
The tools provided in the program can be very effective in creating a safety culture at your facility. According to OSHA,
The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a system focused on: hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; training; and management commitment and worker involvement.
To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
Osha’s Program Management Technical Requirements create a world-class safety culture, primarily when all aspects are implemented.
Management commitment + Employee involvement = Success!
What can your organization do to promote safety?
Management commitment provides the motivating force and resources for organizing and controlling activities within an organization. Employee involvement builds the commitment to building a safety culture.
- Supervisors should walk the walk and talk the talk. What is your outward presentation and commitment to safety to employees?
- Be visible. Walk the floor, stop by stations on your way to your office and engage one on one with workers.
- Engage with remote workers and afford them access to express concerns about their work-life and safety.
- Close the loop when safety work orders or violations appear. The employees want to see management’s commitment to change if need be and return the workplace to a safety standard.
- Behavior influences attitude. Be mindful.
Catamount Consulting- Create a world-class safety culture
Catamount Consulting provides experienced, high-quality construction and mining safety professionals for short or long-term onsite safety service assignments. Contact us to schedule a time to talk about your organization and how Catamount Consulting can help you create a world-class safety culture.
To view the webinar,click here for the meeting recording:
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Special thanks to our presenter, Joe Keenan, MBA, CSP from Catamount Consulting.