Safety culture is the way people think about, approach, and value safety at your workplace. A positive safety culture helps you improve productivity, morale, and workplace safety. It communicates to frontline workers that they are valued and engages them in the process of improving workplace safety. Promoting a positive safety culture is a key aspect of maintaining workplace safety.
Definition of safety culture: The attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values that a company shares in relation to workplace safety. The foundation for building and maintaining a positive safety culture is a collaborative effort. It involves the owner, top management, supervisors, and employees. Other safety culture features include employee engagement, accountability, and cross-functional communication throughout the business. A positive safety culture emphasizes that safety is a core element designed into every aspect of the organization. It also emphasizes that safety is everyone’s job, and that it is a measurable goal worth achieving.
How a change in safety culture can reduce injuries
When you think of roofing work, the types of injuries that come to mind first likely relate to falls, heat exposure, or nail gun punctures. For one State Fund policyholder, after taking steps to significantly reduce these types of injuries, they noticed something else. Soft tissue injuries—like those to the back or shoulders—continued to persist.
Once the employer implemented daily job safety analysis, their safety culture began to move in a more positive direction. This helped the employees better identify not only hazards that already existed, but also forced them to consider what potential hazards could occur during the workday. These steps led to the implementation of control measures that helped reduce the soft tissue injury exposures at the workplace. One of those control measures was to have roofing materials preloaded onto the roof so that employees didn’t have to load the materials, themselves. The employer also purchased a table for their chop saw, so employers could operate the tool standing up instead of crouching or bending.
The employer said these changes empowered his employees to find the best injury prevention controls for each specific situation. Now, they’re more attentive to potential hazards and have the confidence that stopping work to control hazards is just as important to the company as it is to their health and well-being.
When developing or updating the safety culture at your workplace, make sure to include these three key steps.