You hear about it all the time. The importance of safety has been a focal point of your business since the day it first opened its doors, and you’re proud of the efforts you have taken. But have you been going about it the wrong way?
Workplace safety is a complex field, and it is very likely that organisations can do something better. Have a look at the following, and see if any applies to your company.
1. Failing to improve the system – Companies, especially those in high risk industries, rely greatly on their safety management systems. Despite this, many follow outdated or even harmful practices, and give too little attention to many important parts. Australian occupational health and safety advisors say that companies should always monitor and keep their safety systems up to date.
2. Focus on fear rather than education– Too many businesses think that the best way to encourage workers is to threaten them with harsh punishments for disobeying safety procedures. Nobody really wants to become injured, and all this accomplishes is a culture of fear and mistrust. A far more effective way is to keep training and educating workers, and practice positive reinforcement.
3. Not having a ‘workers first’ mentality – The entire safety program should primarily be from the viewpoint of keeping employees safe. When businesses only try to comply with standards and laws, they tend to become short sighted and neglect the real goal of OHS: to prevent accidents and deaths. The ideal way is to consider the unique needs of your business and adapt the system to address these.
4. Not learning from accidents – No safety program is absolute, and accidents can still happen. There are horror stories about terrible companies that force workers to do light duties even after a serious accident, just to keep the company’s zero harm bonuses and reputation. Afterwards, there were no investigations or changes to prevent it from happening again.
These organisations learned nothing from the accidents, and did everything they could to cover it up instead. When a business focuses more on statistics rather than the worker, disasters like this happen.
5. Becoming complacent – Ironically, a workplace that relies solely on unreasonably strict and prohibitive safety policies tends to have more accidents than normal. Because many in the organisation believe that mindlessly following these rules will keep them safe, people become careless and don’t pay attention to their surroundings and the situation.
Workplace safety is literally a matter of life and death, so there is no room for these mistakes. Make an effort to keep these terrible practices out of your company.