So how do we get an organization to become safer? There are plenty of quantifiable means and they are all used on a daily basis: topical safety meetings, focused training classes, audits, stop work measures, etc. These are all essential to spreading awareness and building the correct habits; but talk to just about anyone that wears a hard hat for a living, and they will tell you they don’t want to sit through a class or do extra paperwork – they just want to get to work. The key to an impactful safety culture is relationships.
In fact, value is created through relationships in the work place. In an organization with a healthy safety culture, everyone, from the entry level laborers all the way to the executive leadership team, must buy-in and take responsibility for each other’s safety. And when any part of the organization does not, the rest suffer. If you have a great team on the front lines of your business, a team that looks out for each other, creates and reviews thorough job safety assessments at the start of each shift, documents near misses, and practices stop work authority when appropriate you’re half way there. You also need support from upper management in the form of new hire training procedures and investment in proper safety equipment and protective gear. Without the relationship between these, at some point the inevitable will happen. Someone will get hurt.