At Lift Your Table®️ folding table risers, we like to keep up with what our clients need and want. Our most recent survey of warehouse safety managers indicated their biggest safety need is training, for workers and for management.
Safety culture as a whole
The ultimate goal of safety in the workplace is injury-free and zero incidents. To get there, management must buy in, if they haven’t already. Employees need training on proper techniques.
And of course these two different audiences typically have different motivations as well!
Managers tend to focus on the bottom line, because that’s where their incentives often are. Safety and EHS managers, on the other hand, might have goals around OSHA recordables or worker’s comp costs.
To get more buy-in from management, safety leaders need to talk in terms of money. The cost savings of a safety program often pay for its own expenses.
OSHA is a good resource for free training materials. It also has worker’s comp cost estimates for various types of injuries. Your managers might like to see how the cost savings from fewer injuries really add up!
Do you need new equipment?
In some cases, you might. However, many safety improvements only need to be moved around a bit. Repurposing tools and equipment that are already in use can reduce costs too.
For example, you can move items that the worker frequently needs closer to them. Folding tables currently too low for your workers? Lift them to kitchen counter height, just by adding a set of risers to the legs.
You might need to spend a bit of money and/or time upfront, so prepare your audience! Simple fixes versus accommodating call-offs, or worker comp claims are definitely better for the bottom line. Not to mention paying for a worker’s ongoing physical therapy to rehab a strained back!
Naturally, workers won’t be as focused on budget. They may not know how difficult it is to heal from a soft tissue injury. Or how long they may be out of work from some type of repetitive stress injury.
As with all training, a good safety program provides carrots, “sticks”, and refreshers. Training budgets need to cover the time needed for learning safe methods. All the ergonomic chairs on the planet won’t help a worker who slouches over the keyboard!
It’s tempting to rush new employees through safety training. But don’t – it’s critical to a zero-incident workplace. Strong buy-in from management will help you get the newbies the time they need.
Safety culture needs lots of encouragement
Incentives drive behavior. You may not be able to provide monetary incentives, but what about others? Either way, employees need to be recognized periodically for doing things correctly.
Do you have a safety meeting every shift? Praise someone for their safety contribution. Try to find something each employee can be recognized for.
Consider implementing a “safety employee of the month or quarter” contest. Even a small thing, such as providing lunch for employees who completed a week/month/quarter with no incidents, goes a long way.
No one does everything right all the time. Feedback has to be consistent and timely. Workers who need some safety adjustments shouldn’t feel belittled or demeaned.
Every time an employee lifts something incorrectly, remind them of the safe way. Every time they’re found hunched over the keyboard is an opportunity to discuss proper posture!
Workers are often unaware they’re doing something wrong. They may be distracted, not trained properly, or simply fallen back into bad habits. So you’ll need to address it when you see it. Unless you’re afraid you’ll startle them in the middle of a task which would be more dangerous.
Speaking of bad habits! That’s why your training program must include refreshers for everyone. It’s easy to slide back into the old, unsafe ways when you haven’t had a safety training in a while.
Periodic safety refreshers keep the safety factor up front and in everyone’s minds. Plus, if you’re having a rash of safety incidents, you can address it directly in your refreshers.
These additional trainings are for everyone. No one gets to skip out on them, even if they were just hired a week ago.
Creating a culture of safety isn’t always easy! Your two audiences have very different motivations for an incident-free workplace. Tailor your message so the people you’re talking to can hear it.
Have you created a culture of safety from scratch? Tell us what you did in the comments!