Every workplace across America depends on one thing above all: employees who are inspired to work hard, and work well. No matter the job type - an office, construction site, or warehouse - employees are the backbone of the company. A successful company will feature employees that are motivated to do their jobs well. When it comes to occupational safety, employee engagement is just as important. Work environments where employees buy into the daily grind of creating a safe workplace will see the greatest results.
Why is employee engagement so important for Occupational Safety?
Goals are the proverbial banner that hangs over the finish line. Companies across the nation have goals: meeting quotas, pleasing customers, selling more of a certain product, expanding their service area, and countless more. The employees within a given company are the motor that propels the vehicle, as a whole, to the finish line. Employee engagement is so crucial because, ultimately, the goals of a workplace are contingent on how engaged employees are. This is true in business success, personal wellness, and occupational safety.
When it comes to occupational safety, employees are the focus. If employees are not engaged with their own safety, then how can any safety procedure be expected to succeed? A work environment becomes truly safe when the culture within that environment is safety oriented. Employees who are engaged with their personal safety, as well as with the safety of their coworkers, will foster a culture that puts safety first.
How can you increase employee engagement?
There are many ways that employers can increase the level of engagement expressed by their employees. Those working in managerial positions should actively seek ways to involve the entire workforce whenever an occupational safety-related topic is in question. Here are some ways to do so:
- Communicate- communication is absolutely vital to the improvement of workplace safety. Communication should be paramount between employees. More importantly, however, there should be efficient and sufficient communication between employers and their workforce. In relation to occupational safety, employers should be abundantly clear regarding procedures, concerns, and changes. Not only so, but employers should be actively communicating with their employees to determine unseen issues, and give workers a voice.
- Reward- Employers will find it beneficial to offer rewards, rather than punishment, when trying to increase or decrease a certain behavior. When safety is the concern, enticing employees to embrace a new regulation, procedure change, or program can be challenging. Rather than frightening employees with punishments, cutbacks, or other negative circumstances, try offering a reward for proper conduct.
- Lead from the Front- Employers should always comply with whatever program or protocol they are instating for the workforce. For example, an employer who encourages workplace wellness and healthy living should practice those same habits. Leading from the front means doing exactly what you expect your employees to do. This is how you inspire change.
- Know your employees- Managers who know and understand their employees and their capabilities will simultaneously increase employee engagement. Employers need to place their employees in positions where they can succeed. When a worker is completing a task that is to his or her strength, then they are more engaged with their work.
- Teamwork is Key- A successful workplace is one that can be a single cohesive unit. Every worker needs to be on the same page, especially when occupational safety is concerned. Managers need to create a workplace where employees work together in order to accomplish goals. Uniting everyone to achieve a single goal will increase the chances of achieving that goal, as well as the number of employees engaged throughout the process.
- Create a Culture- True occupational safety manifests in a culture that places safety first. Employers need to foster an environment that keeps everyone involved in their safety. There are a number of great ways to do this. Safety scoreboards are one way to keep everyone involved. Workplace wellness programs and healthy habit building are fun and active ways for employees to improve occupational safety, as well as their own personal health.
Ultimately, the key to a safe work environment is a workforce that is engaged with the process of creating true occupational safety. Just as employee engagement is crucial to increase productivity and overall business processes, it is also imperative to the development of a safe culture. Employers should seek ways to improve the culture of safety in their workplace, and improving employee engagement is a good place to start.
Tracking Workplace Injuries
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