What it Takes to Build a Great Safety Culture

A Great Safety Culture is Built from the Top Down

It’s often said that you must build a safety culture from the ground up, but, in reality, a great safety culture start at the top. For any organization to truly succeed in safety, there must be a strong commitment from management. When the top leaders say ‘yes!’ to safety, there is a noticeable shift in the way they approach work and the workers they lead. The health of your organization is dependent on this commitment to building a strong safety culture.

So, what does this look like?

Care About Your People

As a leader in an organization, you MUST care about your people. Whether you sit in the corner office or head a small team in the production facility, you are in a unique position to care for the people under your leadership. There’s an old saying that goes: ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ There is no to-do list or 5-steps-to-success guide that will instantly create a culture around safety. A great safety culture is built through personal investment in the people of the organization. Cultures that care about PEOPLE, naturally translate to cultures that care about safety. Why would you put someone you care about at risk?

Workers Everywhere Valued and Safe

At Optimum Safety Management (OSM), our driving vision is to see workers everywhere valued and safe. Yes, we want to help get rid of OSHA fines or reduce Recordable Cases, but more importantly, we want to keep workers alive. When the leadership of an organization cares about the people they lead, safety becomes a natural behavior.

Make it Practical

When asked what this looks like in day-to-day operations, Steve Yates, President of OSM, quickly replied: “Get visible. An effective CEO will delegate management responsibility to key leaders, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be visible to the lowest levels of an organization.” The same principle stands true for any level of leadership. Spend time around the people you lead, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Ask them about their work, family, experiences or interests and help them see how they are a part of the organization’s vision. Employees will become engaged when they feel they have a voice and their input to the organization matters.

Your employees are the most valuable asset in any facility, so take time to invest in them and their safety. Make small changes today that allow workers to see your commitment to their safety and well-being. As mentioned earlier, there’s no overnight-success when it comes to a safety culture. It takes a long-standing commitment from the organization’s management and the willingness to invest in people.

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