Shortcuts are a bad habit that some employees practice, but organizations can help change this behavior by promoting a strong safety culture. Here is what managers can do to keep the workplace safe.
Use safety checklists so that employees do not skip any steps.
Checklists help provide peace of mind for workers. With the tasks listed in a precise, clear manner, employees won’t be concerned about not knowing what to do next. Besides lowering employee stress, checklists lead to better employee engagement and higher rates of productivity and employee retention.
Ensure that all necessary safety equipment is readily available.
All staff must be properly equipped for their specific job. Equipment can include everything from harnesses to proper goggles and gloves. Under no circumstances should workers perform their job without the necessary equipment.
Empower employees to be accountable for their and their coworkers’ safety.
In a safety culture, all employees (regardless of the job description, position, or time spent at the workplace) have the same responsibility in keeping themselves and their coworkers safe and holding each other accountable.
Management should not just talk the talk but also lead by example.
Encourage regular open communication about employee safety.
Having safety policies that are communicated often and available to everyone is important. It’s essential that organizations discuss safety policies with workers and managers to ensure adoption and understanding.
It’s also important to remind your workers that safety takes priority over productivity. You need to make sure that workers feel a strong connection to their personal safety and the safety of others - or “shared accountability.” You’ll see a reduction in the frequency of incidents and improvement of general effectiveness.
Make the organization’s values of workplace safety clear.
Establish a clear, written policy signed by top management that will help you communicate that health and safety is a primary value of your organization - as important as profitability, product or service quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
Point out safety hazards in the workplace.
Employees should always look out for safety and notify co-workers and management of potential dangers. But they may not know what to search for.
This is why you need to teach workers the most common safety and health hazards at work.
You also need to discipline employees who take shortcuts on purpose If employees continue to practice unsafe behavior, disciplinary action may be needed. The purpose of this action is the protection of all staff. One employee's behavior can negatively affect the safety of all other employees.
Remind experienced employees to keep their diligence.
In environments with hazards, it may be tempting to skip safety protocols that seem to be non-critical. Routine tasks often go overlooked, especially by experienced professionals. Familiarity, confidence, and experience can sometimes lead to a lack of diligence. However, it’s the protocols that seem overly cautious that prevent the usual workplace accidents. A small oversight can easily lead to bigger accidents. Remind your employees to slow down.
Accidents often happen not because safety precautions are not known but because employees take shortcuts when they're experienced with their job or have to meet a deadline. However, this can mean the difference between an injury and a life-threatening disaster, so shortcuts must be avoided at all costs.