Without motivated personnel, the full value of safety audits and inspections will never be gained.
It’s common sense: The people actually conducting and managing inspection/audit processes must appreciate the importance of what they’re doing, or else they won’t do it as well as they should—resulting in process inefficiencies and errors that decrease effectiveness and increase cost.
The ways to motivate personnel will vary somewhat based on industry and the type of audits and inspections being conducted. But three basic steps can help any organization seeking to get personnel to buy-in to the value of safety audits and inspections.
1. Give personnel enough time to do audits and inspections properly.
Unfortunately, in many companies, management “talks the talk” but then tacitly encourages personnel to speed through safety audits and inspections in order to free up time for revenue-generating tasks. In such an organization, for example, a person who routinely spends five more minutes than his colleagues on inspecting his vehicle or equipment each morning isn’t applauded. Instead, they’re told to “hurry up and get to work.”
If management fails to appreciate the value of audits and inspections in this way, how can personnel be expected to care enough? Management must understand, communicate, and support the importance of taking sufficient time for audits and inspections.
2. Provide the right tools.
Personnel won’t take audits and inspections seriously if they’re not given the resources to do them properly.
Inspection software is becoming a necessary tool in the support of audits and inspections. At a minimum, personnel need paper inspection checklists designed to increase the speed and accuracy of audit/inspection processes.
If you have no formal standardized computer- or paper-based tools for conducting audits and inspections, personnel will get the message that an inconsistent, ad-hoc approach is acceptable—and that’s not motivating at all!
3. Personalize safety.
Ask anyone in your organization if they’d like to go home safe at the end of the day, and of course they’re going to say that’s what they want. No one comes to work hoping to get hurt or die.
And most people would carry a heavy burden of guilt if they did something unsafe that lead to a colleague’s injury.
So why is it that some personnel consistently take dangerous shortcuts, such as neglecting to do a safety inspection in order to get on the road faster? Why do some personnel actually scoff at safety measures, considering them unnecessary and burdensome?
Because they haven’t made a personal connection to the importance of safety. They are thinking of safety in terms of what they “have to do,” not in terms of what they should want to do for their own well-being.
To truly motivate personnel to do better safety audits and inspections, focus your safety training on changing this thinking. The goal is to get everyone to realize that safety is to protect them and their colleagues. That it’s what keeps everyone going home healthy at night. That it’s something they should insist upon, not fight.
When it comes to safety audit/inspection programs, you can’t afford to have personnel who aren’t motivated to do them properly. You can inspire this motivation by providing adequate time and resources for audits and inspections, backed up by a training program that emphasizes how safety measures personally benefit personnel.