More than $1 billion a week – that’s what U.S. businesses lose to serious, non-fatal workplace injuries according to a survey from Liberty Mutual. Risk is everywhere and always will be. Identifying risks and defining acceptable levels of risk are essential for every safety program. The risks that we are willing to “accept” are driven by our past experiences and knowledge. Have you asked your employees or coworkers what risks they see? What is working well? What is not?
Measuring your safety culture is the first step in getting to a Zero Accident Culture. It will reveal opportunities to improve interactions between managers, supervisors and frontline employees. A poor safety culture may be the result of infrequent safety discussions between supervisors and employees, shortcuts taken when work falls behind schedule, or leadership that does not use employee feedback to improve safety. These symptoms likely go unnoticed until an injury or other negative consequence occurs.
The number one dimension of safety culture is management’s commitment to safety. This is evidenced by empowered employees looking for safety hazards, frequent discussions about safety, and maintaining safety procedures when working under pressure. Asking employees for their insight not only identifies at-risk conditions and behaviors (potentially not seen at the management level), but also empowers them to be a part of developing solutions.
Measuring your company’s safety culture is not for the faint of heart. It is common for organizations to monitor injury trends, or possibly near misses, but those are lagging indicators of risk and only show how things have gone wrong. Data at this level can be valuable for top management but is hard for employees to relate with their daily tasks. In addition, the loss data may not reveal that the existing safety expectations are confusing or not supported by the overall system. On the other hand, focusing on the “culture or the employee’s perception of the company’s safety culture” will identify areas of opportunity for improvements and will create a strong and lasting safety culture throughout your organization. Contact you Catto safety consultant to see how you can get the pulse of your company's safety culture.