Regardless of the industry or the market, safety should be a top priority for every company. As organizations continue to hire in an effort to close the skills gap, keeping new employees trained and knowledgeable presents its own set of challenges. Safety procedures save lives, but how do you make sure your employees take safety seriously? How do you get them to consistently follow safety rules?
Part of our mission at NBS is to ensure that every worker is qualified to be on the job site. Without proper training, a worker can pose a danger to themselves and those around them. Our skills assessments help ensure that your employees have the skills and knowledge to maintain a safe work environment. Here are some ways to encourage your employees to take safety seriously.
1. Know the Side Effects
There are life-threatening dangers on every job site. Employees may be less likely to break the rules if they know the risks and consequences of ignoring safety procedures. Make sure all employees are aware of the most common hazards in your industry, and the risks specific to your job site. Sharing statistics on injuries and fatalities is an effective way to bring your point home. Keep in mind, these numbers aren’t meant to scare workers into following the rules, but to put things into perspective.
- In the U.S., 5,147 workers died on the job in 2017. One out of five of these fatalities were in the construction industry.
- Since 2009, the number of preventable worker deaths has increased by 17.5%, while the number of workers has only increased by 8.2%.
- In 2018, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) most cited violation was inadequate fall protection, the second was hazard communication, and the third was scaffolding safety.
- Research has shown that nearly all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury in their lifetime.
Find more statistics on OSHA’s website.
After sharing the numbers with employees, discuss how safety is currently handled on your work site. Do workers generally follow the rules?
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2. Let your actions do the talking
“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” Mark Twain
A great way to judge someone’s character is to watch what they do and see if it matches what they say. A supervisor who constantly reminds workers of safety procedures, but doesn’t personally follow them, will not only be unpopular but also won’t be respected. In these situations, safety quickly becomes something employees learn to ignore.
Leading by example is a great way to communicate why it’s important to follow safety rules. If top-level leaders are dedicated to safety and consistently follow the rules, then those below them will too. If you’re having trouble getting everyone on the same page, implementing a safety culture program is a great way to communicate safety goals.
3. Get employees involved
Involve workers in the day-to-day application of safety. Employees are more likely to care about something they can contribute to.
Here are some ideas:
- Begin safety training on day one.
- Schedule safety workshops. Have someone from the company lead or invite an outside expert to teach.
- Have supervisors take five minutes before the day’s shift for a “safety minute”. This is a time for the supervisor to remind workers about common safety violations or to bring up specific issues for the worksite.
- Try to make safety briefings interactive when possible. For example, some supervisors have boosted employee engagement in routine safety meetings with an interactive Q&A format.
- Get feedback and input from employees. Don’t wait for workers to come to you, ask them for feedback.
Safety Training with NBS
One of our goals at NBS is to give employers the tools they need to assess the knowledge and skills of their employees to maintain a safe and efficient work environment. By providing skills assessments, NBS provides a training plan for each employee who requires additional safety training to keep your worksites safe and injury free. Contact us today about how skills assessments can make your organization a safer place!