Safety culture is the key to safer workplaces
So what makes one company a safer place to work than another? It’s not just about the strictest rules, or the most safeguards – although of course those are important! What sets the safer companies apart is their safety culture.
What is safety culture?
According to Cameron MacGillivray, Enform’s president and CEO, safety culture “starts with having good safety values that start at the top of the organization and filter right down to every single employee”.
“But then you have to turn those values into things that you do, things that you can measure and things that you can teach. We call that operationalizing safety culture.” When you have built-in systems that promote safety at every stage of every process, safety then becomes intrinsic to the behaviours, thoughts and attitudes of the entire workforce, rather than a series of points on a checklist.
The process of operationalizing safety culture ensures that everyone within an organization understands their roles and responsibilities. “It takes away from the nebulous concept that safety culture can be, and translates it into the things that we can actually do, the practices that we support and behaviours that we’ve agreed to,” said Cameron.
Signs of a good safety culture
Most employees in a company could tell you how important safety truly is to their colleagues and employers. Here are some of the signs that a company is doing it right:
- Safety is obviously a top priority for managers and leaders.
- Managers spend time with frontline employees discussing safety concerns and training.
- Everyone is encouraged to think proactively about safety – even down to the newest or most junior employee.
- Safety protocols are respected and followed by all employees.
- When anyone thinks they see a risk or hazard their concerns are treated seriously, evaluated and acted upon.
If you’re interested in reading about the attitudes and behaviours that can pose safety risks for workers, check out these other posts on the Enform blog:
For company managers and leaders trying to create a better safety culture, these posts contain valuable information: