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Manufacturing: Developing a Safety Culture

One of the biggest challenges managers face in manufacturing is creating a safety culture within the organization. The effort needs to be company-wide in order to be effective.

Prioritization of safety minimizes the number of injuries among your workforce. It also enhances productivity, morale, and employee health. These are reasons why there must be an emphasis on safety throughout your company.

Use the following tips to develop a safety culture throughout your manufacturing company.

Promote Safety in the Day-to-Day Mindset

Safety should be part of your employees’ daily work habits. It needs to be discussed during safety meetings and shift changes. Safety also has to be evident in your employees’ actions and every business discussion and decision.

Safety requires behavioral changes from the top management levels to the manufacturing floor. Nurturing a true safety culture requires an ongoing commitment to safe practices that proactively address potential issues.

Promote Open Communication About Safety

Ongoing communication about safety promotes trust throughout your organization. This helps maintain strong working relationships among employees at all levels.

Encourage your employees to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Talk about what happened, what the results were, and what could have been done differently to prevent the injury. Your employees likely will speak honestly about safety shortcomings and solutions when they know their jobs are protected.

Encourage Employees to Identify Hazards

Remind your employees that their jobs remain safe when they speak up about safety issues. Emphasize how important it is to bring to your attention unsafe work conditions or behaviors. Employees at all levels need to be actively involved in safety practices for your safety culture to be effective.

Focus on identifying the root causes for unsafe situations or behaviors rather than placing blame. Talk with your employees about finding and implementing solutions. This may involve changing the design of an organizational system or updating common practices.

Create accountability for these newly established practices and behaviors. Emphasize adherence to them to minimize future safety issues.

Rethink Your Incentives and Penalties

Employees who receive rewards or penalties for safety are more motivated to hide and underreport accidents and injuries. They either want to be considered for an incentive or avoid being punished for an incident.

Although you should celebrate the success of your safety program, you also should be careful about using incentives and penalties. Instead, focus on what is being done every day to attain a positive safety record.

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