The Critical Importance of Worker Feedback in Safety

A number of companies lean on their staff to create and enforce safety policies based solely on injury data and OSHA standards. These same companies wonder why they experience high employee turn-over rates and lower reported employee engagement. This is because they are overlooking a key contribution to build a successful safety culture: communication.

Employee feedback helps companies craft safety policies that are more robust, more realistic, and more effective. Workers rely on their employers to provide safety policies that incorporate experience, industry standards, and legally established best practices. And employers rely on workers for a direct point of view into how safety policies actually affect and shape the work being done. This dialogue between workers and management is what refines and strengthens company safety policies while building trust amongst the team.

This is why employers should establish a direct line of feedback between the supervisors setting safety policies and the workers that follow those policies. Because utilizing employee feedback builds trust, makes safety policies more efficient, and strengthens the foundation of a company’s safety culture.

Breaking News from the Front Lines

The best way to understand how a job is done is by doing it. The second-best way is by talking to someone that has done the job. Employers need to understand how jobs are actually performed to craft realistic and applicable safety policies for those jobs.

Workers are invaluable sources of first-hand information. They know which risks they take on every day and are directly affected by the attitudes of those working with them. Which means workers will know where a company’s safety is performing well, where it’s lacking, and which areas this affects the most.

Mutual Trust Makes Safety Work

Employers need to be able to trust workers to ensure that safety policies and procedures are being followed while workers complete their tasks independently. Workers need to be able to trust that employers are creating safety programs with workers’ lives and well-being at the forefront. Because employers that don’t trust their employees to follow guidelines themselves allocate more time and resources to monitoring employees than to their actual safety procedures. Employees that don’t trust the foundational goals of an employer’s safety program will skirt around or outright ignore any aspects they see as unjustified.

The most direct route to establish the mutual trust necessary for the success of a company’s safety program is through open channels for feedback and dialogue between employers and workers. Trust is then built as both parties get a more intimate understanding of each other’s viewpoints and motivations.

A Proactive Approach to Safety

The results gathered from employee feedback will not predict the future. But they will provide results that help companies prepare for the future.

Organized employee feedback provides insight into employee engagement with the company’s safety program as well as employee attitudes toward the safety program. The first — employee engagement — shows employers which areas of the safety program to refine and clarify to best reach employees and build confidence in the safety program. The second — employee attitude — shows employers where safety gaps exist in tasks that require immediate attention before issues or incidents have occurred. Continuously improving both the safety program and the safety of job tasks keeps employers one step ahead of any major hazards.

Work With Safety Professionals to Collect Feedback

The solutions created from worker feedback are only as applicable as the responses employers collect. And collecting feedback from every employee in an organization is a massive project to take on.

Employee responses on the company’s processes and safety culture need to be objective to be valuable to the company. So employees need to feel confident that they can speak truthfully in their feedback without worrying that their responses are being unduly influenced or biased.

Creating an environment that guarantees this level of confidence in employee responses can be tricky if employers undertake distributing and gathering worker feedback on their own.

Which is why partnering with a safety management company like Amerisafe to write feedback surveys, distribute the materials, collect the responses, and organize the data helps companies get the most from employee feedback.

Teaming with Amerisafe to utilize their PerceptionPulseTM Engagement Survey provides a clear picture of an organization’s safety program and culture to employers created from critical data points linked to four major categories: Safety Culture, Management & Leadership, Perceived Organizational Support, and Processes & Systems.

Grouping responses in these areas helps companies quickly and accurately gauge the company’s strengths and areas of improvement across departments, teams, shifts, and even seniority. Employers can cut through unclear or open-ended responses and home in on the data points that provide the greatest insights for companies to reach actionable solutions faster. And employers save time, money, and resources in the process of reducing injuries and boosting safety in their workplace.

Amerisafe Group provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how ACSS can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today.