How do you address safety at your business? Do you take a wait-and-see approach, or do you look to mitigate risks before they become problems?
When it comes to safety, a natural response is to wait and react. However, taking this approach can lead to bigger issues. Your approach to safety defines your safety program and, in turn, your entire organization because your safety program influences your company culture, employee work habits, and your bottom line.
Here are a few signs your company takes a reactive approach to safety, and some reasons why instituting a more proactive stance—through planning, education, and implementation— can help your business.
With a reactive safety approach, you act after something goes wrong, such as an injury, property damage, or equipment breakdown. Oftentimes you begin your safety review by filling out an accident or incident report that explains what happened.
While it’s important to document the event, when used alone, these reports often only address the immediate issue—not the surrounding circumstances that contributed to the problem.
These reports should be part of your overall safety response plan. Use them to identify what went wrong, to address the issue, and to determine necessary follow-up actions to reduce the hazard going forward. Keep in mind, the accident report needs to focus on fixing the process, not placing blame.
Develop a safety plan no matter what type of business you operate. Your plan should include supporting policies or procedures to help you:
Organize a safety committee to assist your designated safety employee. Select individuals who represent the interests of all departments. The committee should:
Get your employees involved. They know the risks they face each day and can help form a safety plan that’s both effective and feasible.
Your safety program shouldn’t be a “you have to do this” directive from above. A successful safety program needs leadership buy-in and the support of your managers.
Members of your leadership team should:
By getting involved, they’ll better understand potential workplace hazards and, if needed, seek additional resources to help mitigate those hazards.
A properly designed safety inspection can help you identify potentially hazardous conditions or practices that may go unnoticed on a day-to-day basis.
Start by reviewing the general practices you already have in place and the physical conditions of your facilities. Use a format—possibly point-based—in your inspection process to prioritize your most critical needs.
You should perform your inspections during normal hours of operation so you can see everyday conditions and practices. This also allows you to point out hazardous issues as you observe them.
Just as maintenance schedules help you keep your equipment running smoothly, regular inspections help you focus on potential problems and address them before you experience a loss.
Simply put, a proactive approach can help you save money in the long run. You might have to invest money up front to implement the strategies, resources, and programs mentioned in this article. However, taking these steps can save you even more money in the future by helping prevent injuries, equipment breakdowns, lost time, and business interruption.
An employee-led safety program with leadership involvement gets everyone on the same page, working toward a common goal. A culture of safety helps improve employee morale, health, and effectiveness.
Here are other proactive steps you can take with your employees to reinforce safety measures:
If you need help with your safety program, ask your insurance provider. Our safety services team can help create a safety program for your company that includes employee training, educational resources, and regular inspections. We’re here for you. Please contact us for more details.
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