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What is safety culture in the workplace?

Safety culture is the broad concept that encompasses the promotion of safety values, procedures and beliefs in the workplace. It also contributes to the wider organisational culture, where individuals are working collaboratively to reach goals. 

 

To develop and maintain a positive safety culture in the workplace, organisations need safety leaders who embody the right skills and knowledge to nurture the safety culture across the organisation. Prioritising safety in the workplace is very important whether or not your organisation is in a high risk industry. Employees who know how to work safely can prevent and minimise the effect of workplace incidents.

Characteristics of positive safety culture in the workplace

Employees should never feel pressured to take shortcuts, work faster or skip safety practices in order to deliver work. This is why it is important to enforce safety values formally through training and inductions company-wide as a part of the overall culture. Safety culture values should be stored on an online source or printed so that employees can refer to it when needed. Every once in a while, employees should receive refresher training to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the safety policies and are aware of any new changes.

While employers can be great leaders and enforcers of standards and procedures, it is always recommended to get the input of those who have to abide by the system. Feedback from employees helps to create more effective safety systems that can be easily understood and accommodates their needs. Employees are also more willing to follow rules that they have had a say in.

As operations change or new safety preventative measures are discovered, employers should stay on top of these trends to see how they can improve their own safety standards. This can be from safety committees, work health, the industry standards, national legislation, and policies. 

Managers and leaders need to do more than just educating and informing employees about safety. To lead a good example, they must believe in and follow the safety culture values so employees can trust them. Employees will also trust a leader who takes interest in the actual environment and job, and listens to their concerns. 

Similar to the first point, employees should never feel scared about getting punished if an accident has happened or be reprimanded if they’re trying to follow safety measures. If accidents have occurred, employees should feel safe enough to communicate to their managers without being blamed or punished. Corrective actions can then be taken to improve safety in the future. 

Safety procedures should be frequently reviewed by organisations to ensure they are doing the job of protecting their employees and suiting their specific business risks. This is when it’s important for organisations to refer to incident reports and employee feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of the safety protocols. 

Learn more by speaking to our team

Want to improve culture in your workplace? Get in touch with the team at Performance by Design. Our specialised team provides tools and resources to help you perform better and support your organisation. Grow a more positive company culture and drive results by partnering with us. 

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