4 Safety Engagement Strategies
We always like to check the Tip of the Week from OSHA. They always serve as excellent reminders, keeping safety and its importance in the workplace top of mind. This week’s tip is: “Ensure workers know their roles in a safety and health program.” Safety engagement is critical to the success of any safety program.
All Aboard the Safety Engagement Train
Getting workers active and involved in safety at your facility or job site comes down to one thing: training. If workers aren’t adequately trained to know their role in an organization’s program, they won’t participate in it. Promoting the understanding that safety is everyone’s job is key.
Education and training bring safety programs to life, laying out roles and responsibilities from the top down. When everyone plays a part, there are fewer accidents, injuries, and violations.
#1. Awareness Training
Empower workers to take an active role. General awareness training should happen upon hire and at regular intervals to ensure comprehension and encourage discussion. Here are some topics to consider touching on in these meetings and sessions:
Program Structure, Plans, and Procedures
Don’t just plunk a book down and expect comprehension. Take the time to break down how your program is organized and what it means to them and their job. Any procedure or plan that to applies to all employees should be addressed in adequate detail.
Safety and Health Hazards
Awareness can save life and limb. Provide information on any persistent hazards in the workplace as well as the controls for those hazards.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 (OSH Act) spells out the rights workers have in the workplace and the responsibilities of employers to keep workers safe. Even a basic knowledge of these rights and responsibilities can empower workers to report unsafe conditions and practices.
Expecting the unexpected is an unreasonable goal, but you can train workers on what to do when the unexpected occurs. Make sure employees know what to do when injuries, accidents, and other emergencies occur.
Questions and Concerns
A safety program is only as good as its continuous improvements. Providing employees with a process for submitting questions and concerns will help ensure they do so. Be sure to include contact information.
Organizations can’t address issues they don’t know about. Make sure employees understand that they have a right to report hazards, incidents, and injuries as well as concerns without the fear of retaliation.
Throughout awareness training, keep your safety engagement goals in mind. Find ways to make everyone feel motivated and involved in your safety program.
#2. Management Training
Safety has to come from the top down. Employers, supervisors, and managers need to understand their pivotal roles in workplace safety. Those in leadership roles should not only comprehend all relevant policies and procedures, but they should also know how to enact and enforce them effectively. Management safety training topics to consider include:
Delve further into the OSH Act as it pertains to the company’s responsibilities. This training should reinforce and expand on the information covered in the awareness materials.
Employees look to leadership to lead the way when accidents and emergencies happen. Give employers, supervisors, and managers procedures for dealing with incidents, illnesses, and injuries in the moment as well as how to respond to employee reports.
Recognizing hazards is the key to controlling and/or eliminating them. Train leadership personnel on concepts and techniques for identifying workplace hazards.
Getting to the root of any incident is key to understanding what happened and preventing repeat problems. The organization’s leadership should be equipped with investigation techniques.
Training that helps employers, supervisors, and managers understand their leadership role in the organization’s safety program will help them lead by example, supporting safety engagement across the company.
#3. Role-Specific Training
Safety isn’t one size fits all, so your safety training can’t be either. In many organizations, there are a wide variety of roles that face vastly different challenges and safety situations. Role-specific training ensures workers understand safety and health responsibilities that are related to their job.
Additionally, workers should receive training on their responsibilities in the organization’s safety program. This will emphasize each employee’s role in the program, allowing them to incorporate safety into their daily routines and activities. Some ways to boost safety engagement include:
Program Evaluation and Improvement
Enlist employees to review policies and procedures that impact their work. They are in the best position to judge the effectiveness of the program and identify gaps.
Incident Investigation Participation
When incidents and accidents happen, it’s important to involve the workers who are closest to the situation. Their insight improves the quality of your findings, and they will feel invested in the process and any resulting improvements.
In addition to offering reporting mechanisms, providing regular feedback opportunities can produce new ideas and uncover necessary adjustments. An excellent place to start is scheduling time within the initial training.
#4. Hazard Identification and Controls Training
The goal of any safety program should be to prevent incidents and accidents that can cause illness, injuries, and death. To meet that goal, you need to be aware of the hazards at your facilities and work sites. Hazard identification is the critical first step to protecting workers from harm. And the first step to identification is recognition, which requires education to facilitate safety engagement. Training topics you may want to cover include:
OSHA’s Job Hazard Analysis is a great tool to review with employees to help them identify and eliminate workplace hazards. This comprehensive guide can help you develop actionable training.
Teach workers about the types of controls available, including the hierarchy of controls. Understanding how hazards can be mitigated and eliminated will help employees identify them.
People are the most important control for preventing incidents. Provide training on both work practice and administrative controls to ensure they are effective, including the proper use of PPE.
Ready to Boost Safety Engagement?
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