DEFINITION: Safety culture is a collection of customs and attitudes which define the behaviors of a group of employees in an area with specific health, safety, and environmental concerns.

FACTORS IN ESTABLISHMENT: Time is one of the most important factors. Safety, health, and environmental concerns have changed over years, while employees who are resistant to change have generally dragged their feet as new rules and laws are implemented. It is human nature, and not a fault of any specific person, to resist change. The key in addressing change is to understand what you are working against.

FACTORS IN CHANGE: To get results when trying to change the safety culture, it is imperative that a collective agreement to work toward a zero-accident workplace be made the primary focus. Managers must realize that it is glaringly obvious when an employer speaks at every team meeting about safety and doing things the safest way possible, then bypasses safety measures in the name of deadlines or quotas. Only when the managers are truly focused on safety will the employees take change seriously. Safety is a personal decision, and every person must sign on to work safely. That decision is impacted by the behavior around them. One person cannot make a job site safe. One person cannot implement good housekeeping and tool maintenance. It takes an entire team.

Convincing the older and more respected employees will get the attention of the younger members. Often, the senior employees are the ones grumbling about safety, which rubs off on subordinates. If we can get a few of those superiors to change attitudes, even slightly, it will influence the job site culture and open the door for young players to agree with the changes. As they mature with these new concepts, they will bring that mindset of change to the new hires in later years.

Bring these men and women into the discussion with examples from their own careers. Ask about things they have seen or of deceased or injured friends. Discuss what was done incorrectly or what could have been done differently. Often, even those who complain about having to take time to get a harness or change a process are still quite aware of the difference it makes when a rule is broken. A meeting or two spent going over the real-life incidents and accidents will open the conversation in a way that is conducive.

BENEFITS OF CHANGE: Learning to work with a mindset toward overall security and health will help avoid injury and bring employees toward retirement with their health intact. Embracing the changes made in the industry will improve morale as changes are willingly made instead of coerced.

Nobody goes to work in the morning with the intention of being injured or killed on the job. Without a culture of safety which strongly encourages only the safest behaviors, the risk of a change in plans is increased.

Complete Safety is here to help you and your business. From any HSE compliance needs you might have to system design for your entire organization, we’re here to help you achieve your goals. We are located at 108 KOL Drive in Broussard, LA near Lafayette and can be reached at 337-330-2933 or on our website at: www.complete-safety.net.

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