Teamwork is an integral part to the development of any safety oriented workplace. Without it, promoting a safety-oriented workplace is like building a house without a frame. A work environment that is truly safety oriented will reflect that in the attitudes of employers and employees alike. So how do you coax this kind of mentality out of your workforce? First, let’s look at the benefits of a safety-oriented workplace.
Benefits of Safety
A workplace that promotes safety will reflect positively on both the employer and the employees. For the employer, working to foster a safe environment will improve company image, boost staff morale, and separate that company from its peers. Additionally, the transparency exhibited by companies who value safety will reduce employee turnover rates, and absenteeism. Extensive and thorough safety-management plans will increase productivity and efficiency, reduce insurance plans, and decrease the chances of fines and citations for violations.
For the employee, a transparent, safety-oriented workplace will improve many facets of the work experience. A company that makes employee safety a priority will reduce stress in the workplace, increase levels of satisfaction on the job, and boost overall morale. Obviously, there are the benefits of reducing the number of accidents, injuries, and subsequent insurance claims as well.
Ways to improve teamwork
Teamwork is the cornerstone of a safety-oriented workplace. There are steps employers can take to improve teamwork between team members, and in the workplace as a whole. Developing a unit that not only works cohesively, but exists in the workplace environment cohesively is the ultimate goal. This will perpetuate a culture of occupational safety.
- Employers will find it beneficial to set up team meetings where individuals are free to speak their minds regarding internal issues between employees. No unit can be cohesive if personal grudges, sentiments, or rifts are pulling workers in different directions. Team meetings can go a long way in sorting out problems between workers.
- Team building exercises are a great way to improve relationships between workers. Keep things simple; play short games, have group outings, or start some sort of friendly competition between employees.
- Training on the benefits of teamwork and its correlation with occupational safety can be effective in helping workers buy in to a culture of transparency, care, and responsibility.
- Every employee deserves respect, encouragement, and commendations. Employers should actively seek ways to compliment workers on specific things, encourage growth, and foster an environment that strong relationships between workers and supervisors.
- Consult workers to uncover any concerns they have about the work environment. Take their concerns seriously, and work to relieve them or at least compromise with wishes.
- Consider embellishing the workplace. Adding plants, improving lighting, and creating a more comfortable atmosphere can improve the general mood of the workforce.
How to build a safety-oriented workplace
This process starts by improving teamwork and relationships in the workforce, and between employees and employers. Still, there are safety-specific ways to promote a ‘safety-first’ culture. This is the true mark of a safe work environment; a company that has a culture for safety.
- Meeting with employees to actively discuss their safety concerns should be a centerpiece of any safe workplace. This will provide insight into the questions and concerns of the ones who really matter: the employees.
- Employers need to understand the dynamics of their workplace. This includes socio-economic status, race, gender, and other societal, economic, and demographic factors. Understanding the workforce, and the cares and concerns unique to each individual will create a caring environment. This, in turn, will benefit the creation of a safety-oriented work place.
- Make safety a team process! Bring the entire workforce on board by incorporating updates and briefings on policy changes, trainings, and expectations. Acquiring safety signage can help keep employees in the loop of safety happenings and effectiveness in the workplace. Signs that denote the number of days since the last accident can actively engage workers in, and involve them with, the process of promoting safety in the workplace.
- Incorporate trainings, seminars, and tools to help employees improve their health outside of the workplace. Physical and mental health are key to a safe workplace. Provide healthy break-room snacks, assess and track employee mental health, stress levels, and physical conditions.
The bottom line is that a safety-oriented workplace is perpetuated by teamwork. Teamwork, in turn, is spurred by care, responsibility, transparency, and selflessness. Seek out ways you can better the workplace conditions, and general well being of your employees. As teamwork builds, so will the interest in safety. Creating a culture of safety is everyone’s job, as everyone has a stake in it. So, incorporate everyone into the process.