There’s no way around it: In the manufacturing industry, safety is a big deal. It affects your operation, it affects your bottom line, and most importantly it affects your people.
In an ideal world, everyone would inherently know how to be safe, and they would naturally practice safety. In the real world, it’s important to help create a safe work environment that considers the well-being of every person who goes to work. If you’re struggling to identify what you need to create this environment, the following recommendations will set you on the right track.
1. Create safe work practices
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is arguably your most important step. After all, employees can’t follow the rules for safety if there are none in place! A documented standard for doing business that includes safe work practices to control any hazards that may be present creates a center around which people can work safely. Create practices that people can follow; if you set up unattainable rules and standards, you’ve already failed.
2. Set an example
Be a leader in safety, because buying into the program helps make safety the norm. Wear your safety gear. Follow safety procedures. Practice safe work habits.
3. Take the time to train
While some people can retain all information they need to know through a speech and immediately practice the content, that’s not everyone. Prepare your employees to set them up for success by taking the time to train. Walkthrough procedures with them, point out unsafe practices and let them know where to go for help. Trust that when you give opportunities for success, people will rise to the occasion.
4. Communicate daily
Continually encourage these safe habits by communicating them every day. Whether it’s a formal gathering at the beginning of the workday or bringing it up organically during working, keep safety at the forefront of people’s minds. Take time daily to make safety observations and communicate positive reinforcement for working safely, or make corrections for unsafe practices.
5. Recognize safe behaviors
Nothing motivates like recognition, but make sure you’re recognizing the correct behavior. An employee will take risks to please their bosses; make sure they know that what pleases you is them being safe. Congratulate employees you see setting examples for others; those who go the extra mile should always be recognized.
A safe work environment is the result of many factors working together. Do you see any ways to create safety that aren’t listed here? How do you create safety within your environments?