5 Ways to Improve Safety and Accountability

Workplace Safety – It’s everyone’s responsibility.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in 2019.  While the number of these occurrences remained flat of 2018, workplace injuries can be devastating to an employer and employees.  Aside from the obvious emotional pain of having one of your team members injured, the costs and lost time of such injuries can also significantly impact production – particularly when many companies have had to cut personnel because of various pandemic-driven and economic-driven factors.

Manufacturing accounted for 15% of all private industry nonfatal injuries and illnesses and in fact, saw a slight decrease over 2018.  Also, the median number of days away from work was 8 days.

It is up to the leaders of any organization to initiate and introduce new strategies and safety protocols to their team members.  That said, it is up to everyone to incorporate those protocols into their everyday work behaviors – especially on the manufacturing floor.  Here’s how to lay the foundation for change in making your workplace more safe.

  1. Lay the foundation for change.  Maker sure your employees know the statistics and the impact that workplace injuries have on your operation.
  2. It’s up to the leaders to communicate, starting at the “bottom of the food chain” and inform personnel of specific high risk behaviors and experiences.
  3. A company-wide culture needs to be adopted. Everyone needs to be talking about safety and put words into action.
  4. Track your measurables and celebrate your milestones. Learning to frequently and purposefully share stories and deliver words of recognition are some important, immediate steps you can to take to begin shifting your company culture toward improved health and safety outcomes.
  5. Encourage employees to hold each other accountable. If an employees sees something that doesn’t seem safe, that employee has an obligation and a responsibility to say something – if the culture of safety is a sound one.  Employees take ownership of the situation.

When leaders make employee safety a top priority and integrate it into their Key Results — while creating an environment of respect and openness in the workplace — employees feel valued. This bodes well for productivity.