My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. General Montgomery
General Bernard Montgomery was a decorated British field marshal who fought in both World Wars. His definition of leadership, though spoken in the context of war, is applicable to employers in every job field. Leadership is the key to occupational safety, and rallying workers to the common purpose of workplace safety is the cornerstone of a safe work environment.
So, how can employers promote safety? How can employers rally their men and women to unite towards a common purpose? The goal of every employer should be to do more than simply outline safety procedures. Sure, there is a need for safety manuals, protocols, and general safety guidelines. However, promoting safety involves more than that. It involves true leadership.
Employers can promote safety in the workplace by being involved. Understanding individual employees and gauging their well-being is paramount. Personal relationships lead to genuine caring, and genuine care leads to action. Employers need to take care of their employees. Ensure that employees are not fatigued, overworked, sleep deprived, and stressed. Help alleviate these feelings by providing structure, improving communication, and providing constructive feedback.
Get Employees Involved
Great leaders are able to get everyone involved. That should be the goal of any safety program. Employees are the backbone of the workplace, and no one can keep them safer than themselves. Employees NEED to ‘buy-in’ to the culture of safety. Employers cannot make them do this, but they can guide them in the right direction.
Guiding employees toward a culture of safety begins with clear expectations and training. Make sure your safety training programs are clear, effective, and keeping employees engaged. Training programs are the foundation for the safety culture. Ensure that employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, as well as an understanding of how important employee safety is to the company as a whole.
The safety culture is not only limited to training programs. Safety training lays the foundation on which the culture can be built, but employers need continue to add on and build a culture of safety on that foundation. For example, this can be accomplished by continuing to inquire about, and address employee concerns. Employers need to establish a relationship with employees that encourages workers to voice their concerns. Again, no one can keep workers safer better than workers can. Listening to employee concerns is crucial to establishing a beneficial relationship between workers and employers, and laying the brick and mortar for a culture of safety.
Leadership towards a culture of safety hinges on making safety a common theme across all aspects of the workplace. For example, employers may wish to install safety scoreboards to help track and promote the safety-success of the company. Safety scoreboards track and display information such as ‘days since last accident’. Overall, safety scoreboards help communicate safety success to the workforce. Not only so, but they serve as a constant reminder of the safety culture that permeates every aspect of the workplace.
Finally, employers need to stress the importance of building relationships in the workplace. Of course, not everyone can be best friends. However, a workplace that genuinely cares about each other is more likely to experience safety success. Large corporations may have a more difficult time doing this. It is imperative that middle-management incorporates relationship building and teamwork into their areas of responsibility. Employers and employees who care about each other are more likely to work together, and build a culture of safety.
Think of a culture of safety as a circle. Relationship building should be the outline of the circle, as it incorporates every aspect of the safety culture. Inside of the circle we find training programs, safety-styled items (such as safety scoreboards), employee concerns, and safety protocols. Yet, it all starts with the circle of relationships. A culture of safety is the manifestation of a daily commitment to keeping your workplace safe. Start today.
Who are we?
Cousign offers a wide variety of safety scoreboard signs to help increase safety awareness in your company. Our signs are all fully customizable with your company logo and text. With the ability to add any number of numeric displays, traffic light indicators and scrolling message displays you’re sure to get a sign that really gets attention. If you know the details of the sign you are looking for take our product finder and quote tool for a spin to help you locate right sign, or browse our catalog to see some of the great options available.