Knowledge Center / Blog
Creating a Culture of Safety
Under federal law, employers are required to provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. Safety should be a vital part of your workplace culture, and businesses should be moving away from safety culture towards a “culture of safety”. There are two elements in providing a culture of safety: the corporate element and the human element.
Programs, Policies, and Procedures: Programs, policies, and procedures are put in place to help guide and direct employees to work safely. They should be clear and specific and written in a way that is easy for all employees to understand and follow. The programs, policies, and procedures should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
Examples: Hazard Communication Programs, Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Policies
Training: Reading the programs, policies, and procedures is not enough. All employees should be going through training that is easy to understand. If there are changes in the policies, procedures, or programs, properly communicate those changes to employees and provide updated training.
Personal Protective Equipment: Certain employers are required to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) to comply with OSHA standards. Even if a worker provides her own PPE, employers are required to inspect and ensure the equipment is adequate to protect the employee. There should also be guidelines and training in place showing workers how to properly use and store the PPE. Employers should also be periodically evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE programs and equipment. Any defects in the equipment should be reported immediately and taken out of operations.
You can have as many corporate safety elements in place as you want, but it all comes down to the human element. Risky behaviors tend to be the root cause of most workplace incidents. Everyone should be taking responsibility for his/her own safety, as well as others.
Safety in the workplace is a right for all employees. Ensuring there are both corporate and human elements in place to combat danger in the workplace is a good first step at ensuring a safe and hazard free work environment.