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By Jason Hook on Jul 4, 2017 7:38:00 AM

What Does a 'Safety Culture' Actually Look Like?

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An organisation can never be accident-proof. However, upholding safety culture in your workplace can help anticipate, minimise, and mitigate risk. In this article, we explore what a great safety culture actually looks like, and how you can encourage one within your business.

 

There are Clear Health and Safety Values in Place

Health and safety messaging can be communicated through a variety of mediums, including safety policy statements, safety procedural seminars, as well as safety posters and emails. A company should set their own organisational safety values, however ‘safety first’ should be a guiding principal.

When crafting safety values and messages, think about how they will be communicated to staff. Who will be relaying the information? Will it be delivered personally or virtually? The more important the safety measure, the more emphasis should be put on communication practices. Language and authority greatly influence how messages are received and interpreted.

 

Safety Leaders are Established on All Levels of the Organisation

In any functioning organisation, clear leadership roles are established and communicated. Managers and supervisors should spend an adequate amount of time monitoring the premises, and form open and trusted channels of communication between employees. 

Managers and supervisors need to create a secure environment, empower employees with adequate resources, and respond positively to safety issues that are raised. With a safety-orientated attitude by management, employees will feel comfortable reporting issues and identifying room for improvement.

A company with a high standard for accurate and detailed reporting of injuries and illnesses is generally an indication that safety issues are being properly reported, and concerns are being addressed promptly.

 

Safety Procedures are Regularly Clarified and Reinforced

In a great safety culture, policies and procedures are regularly reinforced, and the culture the organisation wishes to achieve is clearly communicated. This may be done by providing regular, facility-wide communication on health and safety topics, via emails, memos, informal conversations, and ‘toolbox talks’.

 

Critical Safety Messages Are Emotional and Personal

When discussing health and safety matters that concern life and death, emotional or personal stories can bring weight to the message. Improve safety communication by describing a staff member’s personal role in relation to the prevention and elimination of risks and hazards.

 

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4.3% of Australians in high-risk industries have experienced a work-related injury or illness. The majority (85%) continued to work in the job where their injury or illness had occurred. Injury in the workplace impacts an employee mentally, financially, and physically. Severe injuries can directly affect a staff member’s family and career. Ensure you communicate these facts sincerely.

 

Safety is Viewed Positively By Staff and Management

Safety culture has a lot to do with how safety is perceived in the workplace. Safety should be viewed by management as an investment, not a cost or nuisance. This inspires meaningful involvement in health and safety. A high job satisfaction rate is characteristic of a company’s commitment to their employees health and wellbeing. When safety is viewed positively, issues are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.

 

Awareness and Preventative Measures Are in Place 

A company that focuses on preventative measures and awareness maintains safety culture. The end goal for any Health and Safety Manager should be identifying opportunities for improvement on an ongoing basis, and removing risk before incidents occur. 

Through company-wide awareness on the importance of risk and safety management, and effective preventative systems and processes, businesses can enjoy the profitability of safety culture.

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