Building a strong culture of safety in an organization requires active leadership from the top down. A safety culture is one where everyone in an organization is part of the group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to health and safety management. Safety managers and other organization leaders need to demonstrate a positive attitude toward health and safety in order to have a cascading effect on fellow employees and staff. By taking a proactive approach to safety, managers set the example for employees and positively influence safety culture.
Studies show that successful organizations have well-developed safety cultures. They promote positive health and safety practices and continuously educate their employees on new objectives and policies. Having a strong culture of safety is one where all levels of the organization are visibly committed to safety. Everyone takes ownership of the organization’s health and safety. Safety managers play a key role in helping achieve this.
Safety managers can promote a strong safety culture by setting the example. Leaders who communicate the importance of health and safety objectives influence employees to take initiative to observe safe practices. A manager’s role should not simply be restricted to directing work and monitoring compliance with rules and regulations, but should show initiative and be proactive in creating safety culture. Managers acting as leaders facilitate safety communication and encourage employees to be part of the conversation.
Engaging with employees is the best way to foster the growth of safety culture. Managers should implement an open-door policy that allows employees to openly discuss issues and provide feedback on policies and procedures. Leaders invite employees to make suggestions and motivate them to help identify hazards. They engage with their employees and extend recognition to those who are an active part of solving health and safety challenges.
Proactive communication by managers and employees makes safety goals and objectives clear to everyone in the organization. Passing on important health and safety information is an important part of improving an organization’s health and safety initiatives. Safety managers can communicate with employees through regular planned meetings, face-to-face discussions, health and safety briefings, and so on. Through regular communication, safety managers are able to identify safety issues, additional employee training needs and facility maintenance requirements early on. Active involvement from the organization’s leaders empowers employees to become actively involved with health and safety, which is a positive step towards preventing and controlling hazards.
As health and safety policies change and develop, safety cultures also need to evolve. Safety managers need to make a continuous effort to ensure that new safety objectives take hold and employees are always up-to-date on safety requirements within the organization. Managers who are positive and demonstrate a commitment to health and safety set the example for employees to follow. Managers working at improving factors will have a positive influence on their organization’s health and safety culture.