If you’re in a high-risk industry such as industrial, warehousing, construction, or manufacturing, then you’re all too familiar with the perils and pitfalls that accompany creating a solid safety culture. You’re likely dealing with a team that has been in their field for a while, is stuck in their ways, or think they know everything in regards to the safety precautions that accompany their jobs tasks.
This being the case, it can be difficult to create a safety culture that doesn’t spark eye rolls or complete disregard. So what are the key issues standing in the way of creating a positive safety culture? There are two:
Yes, believe it or not, you might be the reason for the poor safety culture. It isn’t your fault, and you already deal with so many daily obstacles that this is probably shocking and upsetting for you, a safety professional just trying to do their job. That’s why we’re going to dive further into the two biggest key players affecting your safety culture, and how you can change each one to improve it.
As previously mentioned, there are two key issues with a poor safety culture that needs addressing. You, and your safety training program.
The Safety Culture and You
Saying that you’re the reason for the poor safety culture where you work is harsh, but true. It’s your job as a safety professional to maintain a high degree of safety at your organization. But, you already knew this, which is why you’re seeking information that can help you improve your safety culture.
To do that, you first have to take a good long look at the way you’re peddling safety at your company. Are you trying to “sell” it to your employees, or are you trying to educate and empower them to want to be safe in their work practices? If you’re trying to “sell” anyone on safety, no one will buy it. Safety isn’t necessarily a hot product, and you can try and list off all the key benefits, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that there won’t be any bids.
You may also be contributing to a poor safety culture with your perception of safety in general, and yourself. Are you feeding into the notion that “okay guys, I know you want to get this over with but XYZ”? Or do you have hidden fears about certain aspects of your role that prevent you from putting your best foot forward? For instance, are you worried
If so, these underlying fears you have about safety and your role in safety are sabotaging your initiative to build a strong safety culture. Safety itself is strong, confident, empowering, and necessary. You, as a safety professional, need to start feeling like this as well. It will be contagious with the right tools.about being seen as the “fun police,” like you’re “nagging,” or that no one else sees the value in your job?
It’s no secret that training is one of the most prominent pillars of safety at any organization. When most people think of safety, they think safety training and safety equipment, give or take.
That being said, your safety training program could be another key factor in the poor safety culture at your workplace. If it’s inefficient, outdated, has the same materials for the same old semi-annual training class, then your employees will perceive that safety is a low priority for your company and they follow suit.
Unfortunately, that is often the case. It’s common to work for a company that doesn’t take safety seriously, which puts you in a tough position as a safety professional. It seems no matter how much you build your case for investment in safety at your company, you’re met with resistance, or even worse, it gets pushed all the way down on the priority totem pole.
We'll explore how you can overcome this later on, but before we do, let’s take a look at the specific as to why your safety training program may be hurting, and not helping, your safety culture.
There are a few reasons why your safety training may not be contributing to your safety culture. Typically, they fall within these three categories:
Are you using the same old DVD over again? Do you hire the same old tired safety trainer to come in and host your training session? Do you have a large robust online safety training course library that you invested in, but your operation is so small you never use? Analyze your safety training method to see how well it fits your company’s needs. The trick is to be where the puck is going, not where it is. So if the DVD method works for you now, but your safety culture isn’t improving, it might be time to go where the puck is going to be, or rather, where you want it to be, and have your safety training method follow suit.
This is a classic inhibitor or safety training having any sort of positive effect on safety culture. If your training content is either outdated OSHA standard-wise, or features outdated haircuts, clothing, equipment, etc. then your safety training program is laughable, and arguably, a waste of time.
Newer, up-to-date training such as online training courses or DVDs made within the last year often feature more diversity, high-quality animations, and even real-life case studies and stories from real employees. If your safety training at all features that same old male voice-over and bad acting, then the reason your safety culture has gone stale is probably being your safety training content has too.
How is your training being implemented? Are you the one delivering the training but constantly feel like no ones listening or you have to stay on topic? Is the training targeting certain employees with certain job functions, or is it just a blanket training?
Just like how you say something is as important as what you say, so, too, is the delivery of your safety training as important as the training itself. Take a look at how your training is being delivered, and see if there are improvements that can be made to make it more effective.
It’s time to take a look at the key features of a safety training program that is the least likely to be met with resistance. After all, upper management and other decision-makers have certain attributes for safety training programs they need as well, mostly in regards to “what’s the ROI?”
That said, you should look for safety training that’s:
This depends largely on the size and safety needs of your company, but most likely you’ll have to have record keeping, mandatory courses you need to be covered, and multiple employees doing different jobs that may need training on different days. Therefore, opt for training that takes a lot of the leg work out of the delivery and reporting.
It goes without saying that your training should be updated, not just with the content but with contemporary images, graphics, actors, etc. Often, online safety training libraries will update training courses as their released, to ensure that even the old-timers at your organization see a training they’ve never seen before, with new, updated practices.
If you’re seeking budget space to update safety training, you’ll likely have to prove that it has an ROI. For instance, if you’re upgrading from a pile of DVDs to an efficient and more effective online safety training library, gather case studies, facts and figures, whitepapers, and more to help you build your case. It may also help to should how your current safety training method is wasting resources by not being effective, increasing liability instead of decreasing, etc.
The bottom line is if you sit down and analyze all the current facets of safety within your company, and examine each on to its entirety, you’ll likely discover faults, discrepancies, etc. that are not helping your safety culture get any better. And yes, some of those might even involve you. But fortunately, you have complete power here to make real change in the safety culture. You just have to believe you do and attain the right tools!
Ready to get started? SafetySoft by Atlantic Training is a complete online safety training library that can propel your safety culture in a much more positive direction. Featuring materials for instructors that empowers them to deliver impactful training, and automated record keeping, SafetySoft is your training solution for a safer workplace.