According to OSHA, “Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior.”
Safety culture is the overall organizational attitude, belief, and values associated with safety in the workplace.
See the three key elements of a safety culture from Employers Compensation Insurance Company:
Many small and medium-sized businesses fail to invest in safety, when they’re the ones that can benefit the most from it. They have the most to lose in the face of a costly workplace accident. Creating a climate of safety doesn’t have to break the bank and it doesn’t require a large investment of time or a committed safety officer. Contact me today if you need help for your business.
Research is showing that, for every dollar a business invests in preventative measures, they’re seeing a four dollar return on that investment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to assist small- and medium-sized businesses with their compliance and safety initiatives through their On-Site Consultation Service. This program offers confidential advice in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard work-sites. Consultation services are totally separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
Using a free consultation service largely funded by OSHA, employers can find out about potential hazards at their work-sites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the work-site are also available. This safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort presently in place. No citations are issued or penalties proposed during the consultation appointment.
Your name, your firm’s name and any information that you provide about your workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff. Your only obligation will be to commit the organization to correcting serious job safety and health hazards; a commitment which you are expected to make prior to the actual visit, and carry out in a timely manner.
Since consultation is a voluntary activity, your organization must contact OSHA to request it. The consultant will discuss your specific needs with you and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned to your request, your work schedule and the time needed for the consultant to adequately prepare to serve you. OSHA encourages a complete review of your firm’s safety and health situation; however, you may limit the visit to one or more specific problems.
For more information on the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program, visit HERE
Benefits of On-Site Consultation
Knowledge of your workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them can only improve your own operations and the management of your firm. Your organization will get professional advice and assistance on the correction of workplace hazards and benefit from on-site training and assistance provided by the consultant to you and your employees. The consultant can help you establish or strengthen an employee safety and health program, making safety and health activities routine considerations rather than crisis-oriented responses. This program provides incentives and support to smaller, high-hazard employers to develop, implement and continuously improve effective safety and health programs at their worksite(s). The program recognizes employers who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in workplace safety and health by receiving a comprehensive safety and health consultation visit, correcting all workplace safety and health hazards, adopting and implementing effective safety and health management systems and agreeing to request further consultative visits if major changes in working conditions or processes occur that may introduce new hazards.
A safe work environment does not happen by accident. A company’s management team must be fully engaged in creating, planning, implementing, communicating and making sure safety programs work and are designed to fit the business. Most importantly, employees have to understand their role in making their workplace safer.
Your company’s safety program should incorporate the following 8 key components:
- Demonstrate management involvement – Management must lead by example. A visible demonstration that you embrace a safety culture is imperative to its success. Provide the essential time, budget and resources to create and support a safety program.
- Communicate your safety plan clearly – Your safety plan must be published and available to all employees. Reminders and updates should be timely and effective. Allow employees to contribute their suggestions to making the workplace safer.
- Get everyone involved – A safety program is likely to be more effective when employees at all levels are involved. Standardized policies should outline responsibilities and accountability for all employees. Safety goals can become part of job descriptions and employee reviews. Safety committees can help ensure that safety practices are understood and reinforced throughout the company. Positive reinforcement of safe behaviors can be an effective way to help build the desired culture.
- Train your employees to work safely – Safety training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. Ongoing training is also essential to creating a safety culture.
- Review, revise, improve – A safety program should be dynamic, especially since most business environments continue to evolve. An effective safety program should be flexible enough to adjust to changes. Regularly review, evaluate and identify risks that could affect safety, and make the changes necessary to keep your workplace safe.
- Create safety standards – Each department should set safety standards through a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to make sure every task is done correctly and safely. Recognize good safety performance, and cite and correct unsafe practices.
- Investigate every incident and accident thoroughly – Properly trained staff with experience in investigation, analysis and evidence collection should conduct an accident analysis as soon as possible after an incident. Report the claim within 24 hours to help ensure prompt response and injury management.
- Manage every injury – Even with the best safety program, an employee injury can still occur. Planning helps you to react immediately when an employee is injured on the job. Learn about five strategies that can help you put employees on the road back to productivity.
Initiating a comprehensive program can seem daunting, but I can help businesses like yours take the necessary steps to begin creating a safety culture. Insurance is only one piece of the puzzle. Effective risk management and loss prevention efforts go a long way to keeping insurance premiums down and other costs of doing business.
Source: Travelers Insurance