Many organizational leaders underestimate the potential of making safety a priority for their business. These leaders disregard safety out of hand due to preconceived notions about the limited benefits provided by safety. These same leaders generally only pay attention to safety to track if injuries are suddenly spiking or if there are obvious OSHA violations in sight.
This mindset limits the scope of safety to a simple injury counter. Looking at safety in this way overlooks a safety culture as one of the most valuable resources available to a company. Organizational decision-makers who take an active interest in their company’s safety culture are leaders who are invested in the continued success of their business. Because a leadership that acknowledges and nurtures a strong safety culture taps into safety’s full potential to increase profits, increase performance, and create a stronger organization in the process.
Using safety in this way requires understanding safety outside of the basics. These are the 5 things leaders should understand about safety to maximize the benefits of a safety culture in their workplace.
- Safety Culture Success is More Than Low Injuries
Reducing injuries is always a priority. But creating a strong safety culture requires looking at more than a single metric for success. Leaders who focus solely on the number of injuries from quarter to quarter are too narrowly focused and miss the broader context of the safety issues in their organization. Organizational leaders need to focus on both leading and lagging indicators to fully understand the available safety data and use it to create actionable safety improvements in the workplace.
- Safety Saves Money
Fewer onsite injuries means a reduction in costs from lost time, lost production, and lost equipment. It also means an overall reduction in insurance premiums. But a strong safety culture also creates greater returns on safety investments outside of reduced injuries through process improvements and employee retention. A safe workplace provides an ideal environment to retain skilled and knowledgeable employees. This reduces employee turnover and the high costs of hiring, onboarding, and training constant replacements.
- A Culture of Safety Improves Efficiency
Employees who are trained and knowledgeable better understand the intricacies of company processes and operations. This allows teams to work faster with higher degrees of accuracy to increase production without taking on additional risk. These same team members are able to point out areas where processes can be streamlined further or where safety can be improved to save the company additional money.
- Safety is Most Successful with Leadership Buy-In
An organization’s culture is defined by the organization’s leadership. Leaders who are relaxed or indifferent about safety inspire employees to cut corners and put themselves at risk by ignoring safety protocols. Leaders who strive to better understand safety and treat safety as a priority inspire employees to do the same. This is why it’s not enough for leadership to only say they care about safety. Leadership needs to cultivate their safety culture through action.
Fully committing to understand what makes a successful safety culture and investing in safety education for employees is clear communication that leadership understands the importance of safety in the workplace and treats safety as a priority.
- Safety is About Continuous Improvement
Safety improvement can be a difficult concept for some leaders because safety is never done. Setting safety goals is a necessary aspect when embracing a culture of safety in the workplace. But a successful safety culture is one that inspires employees and safety leaders to continuously find ways to improve their workplace. This is part of what drives the efficiency improvements mentioned previously. This is also how safety inspires teams to work more closely together and improve company culture as a whole. Because safety culture is a culture of progress.
Skilled leaders recognize the ability of safety to inspire their employee and maximize their business resources. Because a strong safety culture is multifaceted. It’s a tool, mindset, and framework that drives a business to greater success by virtue of inspiring a more responsible and deliberate workplace. And leaders who are able to tap into all aspects of a safety culture are able to reap all of its rewards.
Optimum Safety Management provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.
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