At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security — Jodi Rell
Safety is something we first learn about when we are young. For example, we learn not to touch a hot stove, stick knives in electrical sockets, or dry our hair next to a tub full of water. But how do we translate our innate knowledge of home safety to the workplace?
For starters, it isn’t enough to simply know how to avoid getting ourselves hurt—we need to learn how to minimize and mitigate safety hazards to prevent others from injury. Safety isn’t something that happens by accident (see what we did there?). Safety is something that requires everyone to be proactive and vigilant. To achieve a safe working environment, every employee needs to be aware of his or her surroundings and be willing to report hazardous or unsafe situations.
Consider your office—when was the last time you witnessed:
- Ice melting on the kitchen floor that could cause someone to slip?
- Loose projector or computer cords in a conference room that someone could trip over?
- The unsafe use of ladders or people standing on desks, which could end with a nasty fall?
How can you prevent accidents like these from occurring in your workplace?
Here are two suggestions that can alert employees to safety hazards and increase accident prevention awareness:
- Implement and maintain a safety log.
A safety log provides companies with a place where they can track safety issues, consequences, and resolutions. To be effective, everyone must know where the log is kept (click on file sharing systems for more information) and have the ability to modify it.
- Discuss a safety moment at the beginning of meetings.
This kind of discussion creates opportunities for open communication and a greater likelihood of people being more mindful and alert when it comes to safety. During weekly meetings, take a minute or two to focus on a safety moment. Ask group members to share a recent incident that they have either witnessed or been involved in, and then ask them to share what caused the incident and how it was or was not resolved. If no one volunteers a safety concern or issue, have one on ‘stand-by.’
As an ongoing solution, you might also think about including safety information in company documentation such as your Operational Excellence Management System or Safety Management System. You could also include it as part of your company mission statement. Incorporating safety items into your documentation is an excellent way to learn and to encourage your colleagues to be active participants in your company’s safety program. The sooner we all become safety advocates in the workplace, the safer EVERYONE will be!