Creating and maintaining a strong safety culture throughout a company is imperative – and doubly so in an industry that puts its workers at higher risk for injury on a daily basis. However, the detracting caveat to creating such a culture is the need for the entire company to buy-in to the idea.
The most effective method of doing so is by starting from the top-down. When leadership is on board with the idea of a new safety culture, the rest of the company is better poised to follow suit. But, just how do you actually get leadership on board with safety culture?
Here are 5 practical ways you can present the concept, showcase its importance, and get leadership actively involved in stimulating a safety culture in your company:
Find an Anchor Point
Safety culture has to start at the top. You’ve got to find a champion for safety within your organization – an anchor point if you will. Ideally, this person will be a high ranking executive or someone who is well respected within the leadership circles of your company. They will need to be your early adopter of safety culture. Their attitude towards safety and the respect they’ve already earned within the organization will be the determining factors in your success at getting the rest of the leadership on board.
Generally, leadership isn’t composed of cold-blooded capitalists willing to do anything for a dollar – but those types definitely do exist. Most leaders don’t want their employees suffering injuries or fatalities in the workplace. So, reframing their opinions about safety using culture as the talking point can be a soft – but vital – change to help them see the company-wide importance of their role in the wellbeing of employees. Pinpoint current safety issues within your organization and explain how these issues can only be rectified through an organization-wide safety culture, and not just a single program.
Show Them the Costs
While your leadership team may be able to see the value of safety from an ethical perspective, they may not be able to frame this culture change as a working, doable, capital expense. This is where your presentation can show actual costs associated with injuries. Here are few to throw out there; however, we recommend you dig deep into your own industry specifics to find relevant numbers:
The average cost of a workman’s comp claim per injury type:
- Motor Vehicle – $73,559
- Burn – $49,107
- Fall/Slip – $46,297
- Caught-In/Between – $39,318
- Struck By – $36,196
Use Case Studies
To continue building supporting info, find a few case studies of businesses similar to your industry type that have created successful safety cultures. Case studies serve multiple purposes for you here – not only will you have a successful example to show leadership, but – you may even receive new ideas, or experimental methods that have worked for other businesses. We have a few to offer, here.
Audit Your Own Company
To really slam it home, you need personalized data for your company. Take 3 injuries that have occurred in your workplace, and start mining for data. For example, say one of those injuries was a fall from a ladder. Approach purchasing and accounting colleagues and ask them to help you conduct a deep audit on the costs associated with this injury – and cover everything. OSHA fines, comp claims, wage loss… everything. Once you have this data, conduct research on safety solutions that would have prevented this injury. Show how those solutions actually fit within your organization. And, remember, always make it about culture.