Based on our 30 years of experience helping manufacturers from coast to coast with their safety compliance, here are the Top 7 ways you can start improving your safety performance today.
1. Engage your employees early and often.
People want to be heard, not directed. And they like feeling a sense of pride and ownership. Start with a survey that asks workers which issues they care about most, and which need improvement. Send them to various divisions (or other businesses) to learn about best practices, and keep them involved throughout your safety planning.
2. Get creative about identifying and reporting hazards.
One effective tactic is to post a safety logbook at each of your locations and encourage employees to enter safety concerns. Another is maintaining a library of up-to-date job hazard analyses (JHAs).
3. Get managers and supervisors walking the walk.
No one has more influence on your workers than their managers and front-line supervisors, so make sure they:
- routinely discuss safety at staff meetings;
- attend and participate in safety committee meetings;
- conduct facility walkarounds, noting best practices or areas of improvement;
- use coaching and feedback to encourage safe behaviors;
- launch accident investigations asap, then follow up to identify corrective actions; and
- make it clear to employees that they will shut down an operation if they believeconditions are unsafe or unhealthful.
4. Put it in writing.
In addition to a developing a written safety and health program (the OSHA gold standard), develop a safety and health mission statement that aligns with your corporate goals and culture. Feature it on your website and communicate it to employees, customers, contractors and suppliers. And remember to codify your safety policies and practices into the most user-friendly document possible.
5. Strengthen your emergency plan.
Include all possible contingencies. That means conducting a thorough hazard assessment, being site-specific and understanding risks specific to locations, weather patterns and other variables.
6. Start seeing OSHA as your friend.
OSHA isn’t just “the enforcer.” They’re also interested in helping you comply with the law, protect your workers from illness and injury, and stay competitive.
7. Get involved in health and wellness.
Healthier diets, more exercise and less stress play a huge role in keeping your workers safe and productive. Smaller plants have seen success with informal walking groups. Larger ones have seen amazing results with comprehensive programs, including onsite clinics, classes, healthy cafeteria options and sponsored sports teams. The research is eye-opening: For every $1 you invest in wellness, you can lower your medical costs by more than $3 and your absenteeism costs by more than $2.