a "Safety First" Signage with a sky background

4 ways to create a culture of safety

In Safetyby Lori McKnight

Organizations that put safety first create engaged employees who do too!

As a recognition solution provider for over 30 years, we’ve listened to clients and designed countless programs to engage, reward and retain. One lesson we’ve learned is the need to “fix the basics” first, before you can truly reap the results from your recognition program.

This is especially true when it comes to Safety – just ask Maslow. Employees who worry about their personal safety (getting sick or hurt at work) will be less motivated/incapable of achieving workplace actualization not to mention the impact on morale. April 28th is International Safety and Health at Work day, so in the spirit of celebrating, we’re sharing best practices that have prevented workplace accidents, encouraged process improvements and created a culture of safety in our clients’ work environments.

Here are 4 ways to create a Culture of Safety:

1. Involve ALL your Employees

Creating a culture of safety means putting safety first, even when no one is watching. This means every employee feels vested and responsible for ensuring a safe workplace by:

  • Being included in incident investigations, workplace safety inspections, and behavior-based safety reviews
  • Holding regular shift meetings to discuss safety and encourage employee comments and ideas

2. Reward Your Employees’ Ideas

No one knows how things can be done better than those doing the work everyday. Reward your employees for sharing ideas that improve patient and/or employee safety.

Case in point: CSISTARS recently designed a safety program for CCC, a chemical manufacturer. CCC employees receive points for every near miss reported.

For example, an employee sees a large puddle that’s formed on the manufacturing floor due to a leak and reports it (how?) on our platform while simultaneously providing a solution (mopping it up and plugging the leak). All employees and managers see this information. The employee’s manager determines the number of points to award based on the idea’s impact on the group, the unit or the overall business. Employees can view their points online, see the social recognition that comes with reporting a near miss and the reward (redeemable points) received for advising others of the problem and, in this case, the solution. Points can be redeemed from thousands of popular items categorized by level.

The Result? Process improvement and near miss reports increased a whopping 900% within 19 months of this program! Even better, 95% of employees now feel the organization has a culture that promotes safety.

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Like everything, communication is a two way street. In order to have employees participate, employers need to act on suggestions and give credit where due! This means communicating the company’s appreciation and how their ideas are driving change.

We’ve found tracking and reporting metrics can help by promoting what’s been done and creating a little friendly competition that motivates people across business units to participate.

4. Give Positive Feedback

Behaviors that are followed by positive reinforcement will increase the likelihood of that behavior being repeated. By demonstrating positive behaviors and actions on our platform, you actively strengthen your company’s values around safety.

The Payoff

Smiling man

Engaged workers are more mindful of their surroundings, more aware of safety procedures and more diligent about keeping their coworkers and customers protected, even when the boss isn’t looking.

According to Gallup, organizations with top quartile engagement have 70% fewer employee safety incidents and 58% fewer patient safety incidents. It also means your employees are more:

  • present and productive
  • attuned to the needs of your patients/customers
  • observant of processes, standards and systems
  • committed to quality

As you can see, building engagement through a culture of safety is less about “policing” and more about “coaching” and “caring”. Employees who feel their company truly puts safety first will be more motivated to go that extra step to protect their team and this means a better place to work for everyone!

Have questions? CSISTARS recognition experts would be happy to explain how we’ve helped clients in your industry “fix the basics” and reap the rewards of a more engaged workforce – measurably.

Contact us or request a short demo.

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is the VP of Recognition for CSI International Inc. She has a MBA with a minor in Human Resources, is a Certified Recognition Professional and member of the SHRM blog squad. Prior to joining CSI STARS, she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with CSI STARS on LinkedIn to learn how we cultivate a workforce that loves coming to work.