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 in general
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), and employees need training on proper techniques.
And of course these two different audiences typically have different motivations as well!
Their budget incentives usually drive them to focus on the bottom line. Safety and EHS managers often have goals around OSHA recordables or worker’s comp costs.
The cost savings results of implementing a safety program often pay for its expenses. OSHA is a good resource for free training materials, as well as worker’s comp cost estimates for various types of injuries.
In some cases new equipment may need to be ordered. However, many safety improvements only require a different arrangement of common materials, and/or repurposing tools and equipment that are already in use.
For example, you can move items that the worker frequently needs closer to them. Folding tables that are currently too low for your workers can be lifted to kitchen counter height just by adding a set of risers to the legs.
Such adjustments typically require a one-time outlay of time or budget. Managers will appreciate this simple fix versus accommodating call-offs, worker comp claims, or paying for a worker’s ongoing physical therapy to rehab a strained back muscle, !
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.
An optimal safety training plan for employees includes carrots, “sticks”, and refreshers. Training budgets need to cover the time needed for teaching proper techniques. 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 it’s critical to a zero-incident workplace. Strong buy-in from management will help you get the newbies the time they need.
Incentives drive behavior. You may not be able to provide monetary incentives. 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 regularly.
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. Correcting an employee for doing something unsafely isn’t to belittle them or make them feel bad, but to keep them safe. Feedback has to be consistent and timely.
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 consciousness. Plus, if you’re having a rash of some kind of safety incident, 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, so you’ll need to tailor your message.
Have you created a culture of safety from scratch? Tell us what you did in the comments!