Workplace safety starts at the core of the company where employees can learn to adapt to the expected safety strategies. For your program to be optimally effective within your work environment, your entire workforce must be on the same page with regards to your company’s safety culture. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have employees resisting your efforts to embrace a sustained workplace safety culture.
A single employee failing to follow the set guidelines can be detrimental to their safety and that of their colleagues. As a result, dealing with any form of resistance before it turns into a nuisance should be the aim of any safety manager. Furthermore, the reputation of your company and employee satisfaction rates will hang in the balance in case a terrible accident happens in the work environment.
Here are four common barriers to having a safe working environment and how to counter them:
The overall atmosphere of your organization will typically affect how well your safety program is perceived by the management and employees at large. For the safety program to be received with open arms, the management ought to find ways to introduce the procedures positively into the company’s culture. Common grounds for negative attitude include fear of the unknown, lack of trust, minimal employee involvement in the decision-making process and inadequate time allowed for the development of effective safety ideas.
The best way to counter this barrier is to advocate for new safety measures in a manner that can easily grab the attention of employees. While being consistent in the delivery of the safety message, encourage the top tier managers to embrace the changes in their own behavior. To further prevent serious injuries that require medical care, choose a few influential employees who can push your safety culture, according to a leading workers’ compensation law firm.
Inadequately Defined Roles and Responsibilities
Accountability is a significant stepping stone to embracing a safe culture within your work environment. Not only will you need to define the roles and responsibilities of every staff member, but you will also need to include the rest of the affected employees in the decision-making process to increase end-user buy-in, as noted by an article on embracing workplace changes on the Inc.
In most cases, resistance will arise from inadequate commitment rates by the top management, resistance to change by top-tier officials, failure to define the roles and failing to involve the employees and unions in the decisions. For increased effectiveness, ensure that you clearly define the roles that every stakeholder has to play. Additionally, embrace a feedback mechanism by creating a safety team which comprises of key members of the management.
While training is vital for a successful safety culture in any organization, ineffective training will be counterproductive. Common barriers to effective training include inadequate time allocated for training to take root, inadequate training and team members assuming excess responsibilities which overwhelm them.
To counter this, the management should ensure that their employees understand and respond to the training effectively through regular updates and refresher courses. Additionally, enough funds and resources should be allocated for the success of the training. In case the firm has a shortage of staff, then managers should consider recruiting more skilled personnel.
Changes in your safety program cannot take root overnight. More often than not, factors such as incompatibility of the new safety structures with the existing ones, less time allowed for the transition, and excess, limited or even no infrastructure at all to support the changes will easily strangle your goals.
The management should tailor the change system to your organization’s goals and infrastructure. It’s important to invest in the necessary equipment while allowing enough time for new safety program changes to take root. Employees will also need some time to adjust.
Since resistance might be inevitable, the onus is upon the managers to encourage a strong safety culture across the organization. Employees should practically feel at home with the new safety procedures. Use the tips above to increase the effectiveness of fostering a safety culture in your organization.