Safety has historically been kept at arm’s length from the rest of the organization. More often than not a department is organized and then they try to add safety rules to it. Safety is an afterthought. Safety needs to be the foundation on which all departments are built. Safety needs to be at the centre of the decisions we make.
What we’re doing now, enforcing rules and compliance isn’t working. People are still getting hurt. Because we’re talking AT people about work safety at work. We’re not talking WITH our people and their families about safety as a mindset and a way of life.
The good news is that a supervisor and crew can choose to set their bar higher and exceed the minimum safety standards. There is no law against exceeding the OH&S Code.
The first step is to stop viewing employees as replaceable cogs in a machine. Every crew member should be valued as a person first. People know when they aren’t being valued, and it reflects in their work and especially their attitudes.
When people feel appreciated and valued, they have reason to feel proud of their work. When they know that their employer stands by them and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure their safety, they’ll go the extra mile on the job.
People who feel appreciated have the tendency to want to stick around. Turnover and attrition drops. Loyalty to the employer rises. When people have loyalty, they have ownership – especially of the safety program.