What can you do – as an individual leader – to steward safety and go from safety compliance to safety culture? Safety experts weigh in.
Model by Example
72% of people who drive as part or all of their job feel pressured to respond to work communications while driving. How can you influence this dynamic? One of our safety experts suggested the 5 minute rule: “We insist that our managers coach their drivers. Keep conversations to less than 5 minutes. When our managers reach out to our drivers, we want them first to acknowledge, are you driving?” A simple habit to ask, “Are you driving?” puts employees’ safety first and infuses safety culture – instead of pressure – from the top down.
Create a Safe Space to Bring Concerns
Open communication may seem like a no brainer, but get this: Only 39% of employees would want to meet with management about safety concerns. Fran Sehn, Risk and Safety Consultant of 30 years, recommends that you actively welcome employees to share safety concerns. Provide a safe and easy way to report issues, and when someone comes forward, take extra time for appreciation, such as complimenting the person.
Get More Voices at the Table
Give employees a stake in safety culture. Include them across your safety programs to encourage a sense of ownership in creating and maintaining safety standards. In the Employee Driven Safety webinar, guest Fran Sehn recommends that safety committees represent a range of departments and include 50% non-upper management employees. Committees should share agendas and minutes with all employees for transparency, and use evaluation tools, like a risk assessment matrix, during regular meetings to collect feedback on the matrix from the diverse group. If an incident occurs, involve employees in cause determination, future training, and problem solving.