For some companies, having an OSHA fine levied against them for failure to follow federally mandated safety protocols can be a death sentence. At the same time, trying to implement safety protocols without compromising productivity sometimes becomes a situation fraught with diminishing returns. In situations like that, the temptation to the look the other way on minor infractions can be too great. And it’s true, most of the time the odds of getting away with it might be in your favor, right up until that one instance when they’re not.
To be effective, safety protocols must become a routine that everybody follows voluntarily, habitually, and without complaint. And the only way those practices become routine is if their across-the-board adoption has complete, top-down support. The best way to make that work, is for a company to create a culture that makes OSHA compliance all about workplace safety, the well-being of individuals, and not about compliance with bureaucratic regulations. The ideas of safety, and genuine concern for employee well-being must become a company-wide vibe.
So, how can you ensure that your employees meet the basic OSHA compliance rules for safety without having them feel beset by an overbearing Big Brother? The answer is going to start with training. So, what will you need to do to implement industrial safety training?
You want to ensure that each employee has a goal or a reason to contribute to the safety of your workplace. The employees must feel comfortable with the safety practices required by OSHA and required by you. They want to feel like their contributions are important and that their work has meaning. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
A rewards program may be just what your company needs to put safety at the top of the list of employee concerns. The idea is to help the employees understand that their safety is a priority at your company. And their valuable feedback can help you to improve the way you communicate during safety meetings and during the daily challenges you face at your workplace.
Encourage your employees not to cover up any accidents, and make sure they don’t shame anyone who does report accidents at your workplace. You will instead want to focus on these five aspects of a rewards program that can inspire your employees to be safer and look for ways to help others be safer.
1. Group Presentations
With the help of safety supervisors, employees should give safety presentations from time to time. These presentations can be related to any safety topic at your workplace. You can be impartial when you judge the most effective and memorable presentations. Encourage the employees to be creative and include humor whenever possible. You’ll have more enjoyable safety meetings if the employee’s control most of the material to be covered. You also have a chance for managers and employees to work together, and that doesn’t occur often enough in most of the industries where safety is a concern.
2. Praise in Public
When an employee performs a task effectively while following all safety protocols along the way, let your entire company know about it. You could create a bulletin board that boasts the safety measures taken by one of the employees each week. Do you have veteran employees that train your new hires? You should give those veterans extra points when they impart your safety rules to the new hires. Safety is an overlooked element of training for new hires anyway. Congratulate the safe employees in front of everyone. Once the culture of recognizing and rewarding safety is firmly established, other employees in the company will feel motivated achieve the same level of recognition for their own safety efforts.
3. Avoid Monetary Rewards
Monetary rewards often feel like bribes, and people could get too competitive about them. You could instead opt for other methods of rewarding safe employees. Perhaps you could monitor the employees over a period of a few months and give an extra day off to the safest employees. You could also give away gift certificates to restaurants, movies, sporting events, and more. It’s the thought that counts when you give your employees a reward for being safe. Monetary rewards make things more competitive and complicated than they have to be. Keep safety as the most important aspect.
4. Reward Good Behavior
Continue the philosophy of safety at your workplace. Don’t reward your employees just because they avoid accidents at work. Reward them because they are actively taking steps to reduce the chances of injuries. There should always be a purpose for your rewards. Let the employees know that your rewards aren’t easy to earn. The people must demonstrate safety methods at all times to be considered for the rewards programs. Emphasize that the employees should want safety for other reasons than the rewards. But you will be happy to give out the rewards to those employees that deserve them.
- Encourage Goals
It’s helpful to encourage the employees to set safety goals for their work. Help them come up with goals if they can’t seem to articulate what they would like to do. Help them strive for the elimination of accidents involving them as well as their fellow employees. When that employee helps someone stay safe, reward them with one of your rewards from the program. And when an employee does something to keep their own health intact, reward them again. This cycle will benefit everyone at your workplace. When more people set safety goals, more people will achieve safety goals.
This type of reward program will help your company make OSHA compliance an automatic, hands-free experience. This is a winning situation for everyone involved, and you’ll be able to communicate that with your managers and your employees. Because the life of every single employee is valuable beyond measure, workplace safety deserves to be taken seriously. When you reward the employees using these methods, they will take it seriously. The rest will fall into place.