We all want to come home from work at the end of the day. People who work in an environment where they feel safe are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and provide better performance outcomes. Safety is an essential part of every workplace.  In fact, safety in the workplace is the duty of care of every business.

In this guide, we explain all about safety culture and the important elements of a safety management plan.  We’ll explain the role occupational health & safety (OHS) has at work and some guidance on what to consider when creating you safety plan for 2021.

How to Establish a Safety culture?

Safety culture can not be bought, or immediately implemented. It is a set of shared values across the employment group, that helps create a strong and safe workplace. A culture is built over time.

While management cannot direct employees to have a culture, they can encourage a safety culture to develop by creating relevant policies and ensuring that they are adhered to.

Accordingly your workplace can be built to consist of a majority that share the same values, attitudes, perceptions and patterns of behaviour regarding safety – that’s when you have achieved a positive safety culture.

cheerful excavator operator on construction site

Do we really need a safety culture?

Employers are responsible for the health & wellbeing of staff & visitors to their workplaces & have a legal duty of care for their safety.  So, workplaces & organisations should always have safety management policies & procedures in place.  However, just having rules regarding people’s safety isn’t enough; people need to follow them for it to be effective.

That’s why safety culture is so important.

What you really want is to set in motion a standard set of ways that aligns with your policies. Encourage your employees to build habits, that align with your policies. This way any new staff will come in and adapt to the way things are in your workplace. If you don’t have a safety culture in place, then employees won’t as easily just adopt safety practices to fit in, especially when it is busy.

A safety culture is where an organisation has successfully created an environment that considers safety beliefs, values and attitudes to be highly important—and these values and beliefs are shared by the majority of employees within the work environment.

By creating a positive culture where your employees are mindful of health & safety of themselves & others, you reduce chances of accidents. And at work, the buck stops with you!

So what are the most important actions around workplace safety?

1 Worksite analysis and hazard identification

Making sure you are aware of what risks are in the workplace is the first step to preventing accidents. You need do a analysis or audit to determine what hazards and risks are there so you can mitigate them.

2 Management commitment and employee involvement

You need to lead by example. If the leadership is not modelling the right behaviour it will be very hard to establish a genuine safety culture. Management also needs to commit to providing the right resources, such as staff, training and PPE.

3 Policies and procedures

All your instructions on how to deal with safety issues needs to be documented in your safety control plans and policies. That way, every employee has access to the same approved information on what the expectations in your workplace are and what hazards have been identified and how to mitigate them.

4 Safety training

Training is so important when it comes to making sure everyone at work operates in a safe manner. You need to make sure that all employees have received the appropriate training to operate machinery, use of personal protective equipment and know exactly when to use them.  Check out safety equipment suppliers like Paragon tools which offer coveralls, masks, heights equipment, and much more.

5 Performance tracking and improvement

There is no point in having a safety management program if you just write it and file it away for no one to see. Every safety management program should be regularily evaluated and reviewed.  When incidences occur, you need to investigate to work out where the system failed and how it can be improved.