Engagement, Good Goals Aid in Creating Safety Culture

A team environment among all levels of staff that adheres to the same safety procedures and practices must be in place in order to create a safety culture that will prevent workplace accidents and injuries, said Vik Ramaswamy, risk control manager at Safety National.

During a recent webinar hosted by the workers’ comp insurer titled, Effectively Establishing & Maintaining a Safety Culture, Ramaswamy emphasized that a culture of safety cannot be established with just a few simple policies and procedures.

Some roadblocks that can hinder the creation and sustainability of a safety culture include:

Ramaswamy outlined the essential components of a quality safety culture and how to get employees to embrace it, referencing a hierarchy of controls chart available at cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hierarchy. The chart maps out how effective safety controls are to assist organizations in developing effective safety programs.

He offered five characteristics of a quality safety culture:

  1. Measurable goals and clear accountability.
  2. Management commitment.
  3. Employee engagement.
  4. JHA and investigations (job hazards analysis and root cause analysis).
  5. Policies, procedures and training.

Ramaswamy outlined a number of ways to persuade employees to adhere to and advocate a safety culture. These include the following:

Finally, Ramaswamy recommended accountability through recognition. He suggested organizations avoid rewarding lagging indicators – like celebrating injury free days – because this inadvertently promotes not reporting injuries. Rather, he suggested celebrating leading measures.