Laying the groundwork for a strong safety culture
Last month’s safety article discussed the importance of Hiring Practices and how this can affect your risk to potential workers’ compensation claims. Now that you have hired a new employee, the first step in the process of establishing a strong safety culture is the initial training and subsequent follow though that takes place.
The process starts with a formal, structured, Safety Orientation. This should be conducted by a supervisor for all new employees and includes:
- An explanation of safety commitments and expectations from the employer
- Safety Responsibilities
- PPE Expectations
- Emergency Procedures
- Incident Reporting & Hazard Communication Procedures
- Key Safety Demonstrations – i.e. PPE use, ladder set-up, proper guard adjustment etc.
- Disciplinary Policies
This is your best opportunity to communicate the importance of safety and that you value your employees and their health. At the conclusion of the orientation, have the employee sign documentation indicating their understanding of all company policies and procedures with regards to safety. It is our recommendation that this document be reviewed and resigned annually by all employees.
Follow up is critical. Scheduled performance evaluations, which review critical safety topics give employees an opportunity for feedback and allows you to engage them about their daily tasks. This open communication may lead to questions or suggestions on how to improve the safety aspects of their work environment. It also gives them ownership in their own safety, which in turn continues to solidify your safety culture. We recommend one-on-one reviews after 30 days, 6 months and then annually thereafter.
Lastly, encourage dialogue in your weekly safety meeting and daily toolbox talks. Recognize those who are contributing and encourage all to participate in reporting near misses and hazard identification. Having all employees engaged and contributing will lead to a strong safety culture and ultimately fewer injuries.
If you have any questions about how to improve your safety culture and mitigate your risk to claims, please call your Aspire account manager so we can assist you further. ABC and Aspire are committed to helping members with all your workers’ compensation needs.
David Boehm, Aspire Consulting LLC