1. Have a vision
How do you want your business to be known? Determine the cultural qualities that you want to enact and consider how they relate to a climate of safety. Many goals, such as on-time delivery, efficient service, and employee retention, tie directly back to safety. Promote that vision in simple, straightforward ways to both workers and supervisors: Be here, be safe, be healthy, that's how customer needs are met.
2. Get worker feedback
Often, powerful safety measures emerge from simply asking: What do you need? What would make this task easier or safer? You might be surprised by the ease involved in creating a climate of safety when you incorporate employee input. Accidents--and related injuries--can be avoided by acting on ideas recommended by the people closest to workplace risks, such as adding additional lighting, installing a handrail beside a step down, or replacing mats or rugs with greater frequency.
3. Huddle up
Pair your one-on-one discussions with team huddles. Begin employee shifts with reminders of essential safety precautions in the work to be done, addressing questions and concerns. These daily reminders build team awareness of safety issues, help coworkers understand what it takes to protect themselves--and each other--and let them know that the company values them as both contributors to success and as human beings.
4. Train supervisors
Business owners and operators can't always engage with every employee or team without help from their managers. Train your supervisors to give and receive feedback on issues surrounding safety, and to properly investigate or assist in investigations surrounding incidents.
5. Find resources
There are plenty of resources available to help you understand and mitigate the risks in your workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a large free database of safety publications, videos, and even software. And some insurance providers, like Liberty Mutual Insurance, offer safety consultations and online access to educational materials and research to help business customers mitigate risks.
By understanding your risks, you're in a much better position to prevent costly accidents and protect your workers and business. Work with employees, supervisors, and experts to visualize your climate of safety--and then make it a reality.