Improving safety culture is about more than checking off the boxes. It can enhance your entire business.
For a lot of reasons, improving safety culture is a vital step forward for your business. Facility service providers, in particular, can gain numerous benefits when they focus on safety.
A safer work environment leads to less employee turnover, fewer sick days, fewer days working short-handed, and more buy-in from employees because they know management is watching out for their health and wellbeing.
But efforts toward improving safety culture in the workspace are often little more than half-hearted meetings with the intent being to check off the boxes. “We’ve done our yearly safety training; now, let’s get back to work.”
It’s understandable at times. In a busy, fast-paced environment, it’s hard to find the time to add these occasional meetings or seminars into the schedule. And let’s be honest, while there are some excellent safety facilitators out there, quite a few are lackluster. But improving safety culture in the workplace doesn’t have to be a big, daunting task. Some of the most effective changes can be small and easy to implement.
If you’re ready to bring your cleaning organization to the next level, schedule a call with Janitorial Manager to see how our software can make your janitorial operation more successful!
Improving safety culture in the workplace, one step at a time
A common theme among personal trainers is that for exercise to be beneficial, it has to become a habit. And for it to become a habit, it has to be easy to implement. You don’t get off the couch one day and decide to go workout an hour a day, six days a week. You’re much more likely to stick with it if you start with 20 minutes, maybe three days a week. Then increase your time gradually, so even if you never reach that six-day idea, you at least get 30 or 45 minutes a few times a week.
The same can be said of improving safety culture in your work environment. Here are several tips, some of which are simple and some of which you might need to work toward. In either case, there are always benefits to work safety.
1. Don’t assume. While we might think some safety topics are well-known, that’s not always the case. Be upfront about safety issues and ensure your team is knowledgeable about the issues.
2. Put safety at center stage. Include safety procedures on your checklists. Use a color-coded cleaning system. Discuss at least one safety topic at every team meeting. Make it a regular part of your day.
3. Make it easy to report safety issues. A problem that comes up frequently in attempts at improving safety culture in the workplace is that it’s not always easy to report safety issues. One way to remove those barriers is to use a janitorial communications app that allows for constant communication and easy access to safety instructions.
4. Conduct safety inspections. While safety is an ongoing issue, regular safety inspections can go a long way in keeping people safe and also keeping safety at the top of people’s minds. Again, the more safety concerns are a normal part of the routine, the easier it is to pay attention and correct issues.
5. Address any hazards. Improving safety culture is important, but it’s also vital to take the next step and make necessary changes. Whether that’s moving heavier items to lower shelves or ensuring that there’s proper ventilation and PPE when your team is working with strong solvents or chemicals, it’s essential to take those next steps and move from talking about safety to actually making the environment one that’s safe to work in.
6. Coach your team. Nobody is perfect, and it can be easy to forget some safety protocols when we’re tired or in a hurry. As you walk around your facilities, don’t overlook your opportunities to point out safety hazards to your team.
7. Lead by example. It’s one thing to share safety tips and even help your team follow through with safe work practices. But to really drive home the point, it helps to lead by example. Show your team that you, too, are more interested in safety and doing something right than just getting the job done quickly – even if that means adding some risk to the work.
While safety is everyone’s job, improving safety culture in the workplace starts at the top. It’s essential to create an environment where people know they can watch out for themselves and for others and know that their supervisor or manager is also watching out for them.
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