If you could give human form to your safety culture, what would it look like?
Maybe it would be a thick-set, shirtless brute named Trog with a foul disposition beating out a drum cadence to keep your employees rowing in-sync.
Or would it be more like a fussy and constantly disapproving Dickensian paper-pusher named Fizzlewhite who has never met a rule or procedure he didn’t like, even though he hasn’t done most of the things he creates rules to address?
Perhaps it would be a self-important mid-level manager who un-ironically asks his reports to address him as Big Boss Man, and who makes them follow rules that he thinks don’t apply to him.
Or would it be a passionate and pragmatic leader whose actions set the standards for others to follow, and who creates an environment of understanding and engagement at every level in the organization?
According to a 2014 report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the style of an employer’s safety culture will have the single greatest impact on the incident rate of accidents in any workplace. As a result, any serious accident reduction efforts need to start with an environmental assessment of your safety culture.
OSHA has identified the four most commonly occurring types of safety cultures:
In a strong, successful safety culture (the integral culture model), everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis by going beyond the “call of duty” to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors — and to intervene to correct them. In addition, co-workers look out for one another and help each other make better choices when they engage in unsafe work behaviors.
Embracing such a culture can greatly reduce the incident rate and severity of accidents in the workplace, while increasing employee morale and productivity. So what does your culture look like? Are you a Trog, Fizzlewhite, or Big Boss Man, or is safety organically integrated throughout all aspects of your workplace?
For more information or help with your workplace safety needs, contact us.
James provides guidance to employers on a variety of topics with a focus on employment, risk management and liability issues. In addition to working directly with employers, he regularly conducts in-depth training through webinars, at client sites, and through the University of Minnesota’s Continuin
James provides guidance to employers on a variety of topics with a focus on employment, risk management and liability issues. In addition to working directly with employers, he regularly conducts in-depth training through webinars, at client sites, and through the University of Minnesota’s Continuing Ed program. He previously was a plaintiff’s attorney and brings that perspective into his advice to employers. James received his law degree from the University of Minnesota and his BA from Washington University in St. Louis.
If you were to search the various “mommy blogs” and parenting advice websites out there, how many of them do you think would endorse the following practice?
A child’s safety should always be a top priority for any parent. When leaving children under the age of 10 alone in the house for lengthy periods of time, be sure to provide the kids with a loaded pistol with the safety off in case a stranger should happen by. In a pinch, recently sharpened knives can be substituted for the pistol.
In its 2014 Workplace Safety Index, Liberty Mutual estimated that employers pay just under $1 billion per week to injured employees and their medical care providers. Since even one serious workplace injury may impact the bottom line of a small or mid-size business, it is essential that employers have an effective injury and illness prevention program in place.
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