It is rather tough to keep a safety program going in a company. Regulations and requirements change, and yet the information and training required for employees can easily become stale. Keeping your safety program fresh and engaging takes a lot of care and feeding, doesn’t it? Safety is different than your environmental program, primarily because instead of working with chemicals and substances that are consistently predictable, you are working with people who are much less predictable. In such an ever-changing atmosphere, it can be easy to lose your freshness – or safety mojo.
There are three steps you can take to make sure you keep your company’s safety mojo flowing, therefore keeping employees engaged in your safety initiatives.
There is nothing that kills a safety program quicker than a poorly thought out initiative that is rolled out without much thought. I often hear the rationale, “XYZ Corporation put this into place and it worked”. Be careful though, because every organization is different and what worked for XYZ may not work as well at ABC or for your company. We would never think if rolling out a new product without testing it, and the same should be said for new safety initiatives. One thing to consider is to perform a small trial or test before rolling it out and then talking to employees. You may be surprised what you learn!
I often hear organizations state that their goal is to get to zero incidents. I applaud that goal, but where are you today and how do you intend to get to zero? If you set something vague or unachievable, it will be hard to get buy-in from your employees. Set achievable goals, communicate them regularly, and periodically get a check up to see how things are going. You can always readjust or set new goals for your program as things evolve!
Following up and communicating seem like simple concepts that we have heard time and again, but they are often missing in safety programs. With this new technology age, we now have all the tools to follow up, but often times rather than hitting the SEND button, it is more appropriate to TALK with our colleagues about issues and items. The face-to-face conversation or the phone call with an individual, can always be followed up with the email to all to be sure the message is heard by all. Remember, communicate regularly and communicate often!
This article was written by Milton Jacobs, a safety speaker and consultant with Safety Solution Consultants, Inc. in East Granby, CT. He can be reached at email@example.com.