It’s the million dollar question: how do we keep employees safe and injury free for a sustainable work environment everyone benefits from?
This blog post will examine the ways you can provide effective, long-lasting leadership practices that makes an impact on the mental and physical well-being of an organization.
Appreciate Your Workers as People, Not a Number
What brings about a sustainable difference in injury outcome?
By approaching your employees as people, not as a number.
For example, let’s take a company that has 10,000 employees nationwide.
The safety manager has all of his ducks in a row: their safety policy is concise, expectations are clearly communicated, toolbox talks occur once a month and the safety program is in place. With such a safe environment, why isn’t their overall rate of injury going down?
Because their safety program only exists on paper but there’s little engagement with the people. As a result, the management’s commitment to safety doesn’t translate to its workers.
With the motivation piece missing, employees don’t take action.
What’s the Solution?
According to the SAFE Dialogue technique, employers need face time in order to engage with their employees.
SAFE stands for:
Here’s an example of how to spark engagement with your employees, one question at a time:
- Summarize the most important steps of your job. “What are your tasks for today?”
- Anticipate where your pitfalls are. “Where do you find yourself most commonly having a ‘near miss’, or altogether making a mistake?”
- Foresee their worst-case scenarios.”Can you pinpoint the worst thing you can potentially see happening?”
- Evaluate your control. “In what ways can you prevent it from occurring? How can you minimize its risk?”
The SAFE technique creates an opportunity to engage and connect with your employees – the perfect jumping off place for workers to participate and actively become part of the solution.
Strategic Safety Protocol
Keynote Speaker and Leadership Trainer Denis Baker says, “As leaders, we are in a position to serve others. It’s crucial we keep our focus on others. If we don’t, leadership can destroy our performance. When we become focused on performance, we begin looking for accolades and lose our focus on what leadership is all about. One must remember our role as leaders is to serve others by helping them succeed.”
The more successful our employees become, the more successful the organization becomes. Employers can accomplish this by increasing their visibility in the following ways:
- Showing support.
- Crafting relevant toolbox talks, according to season, industry, demographics, trending injuries, etc.
- Make yourself visible. Show up for some face-to-face time with your employees.
- Hold yourself accountable, and take ownership over your own safety practices – using it as a lesson to teach others.
- Lean on the support of an occupational health program. Employment testing such as periodic drug/alcohol, hearing conservation and functional capacity evaluations throughout the employee life cycle can make a significant impact.
How do you keep employees safe, and minimize the injury outcome when it does occur? By effective, engaging leadership! Whether that means holding safety meetings more often, or applying the SAFE dialogue technique, everyone wins: the individual employee, the entire team as a whole and the organization at large.
Heather lives and writes by the motto, “No coffee, no workee,” and is passionate about helping others live a happier and healthier life. When she’s not writing away, you can find her playing basketball with her two sons, planning her next getaway “somewhere tropical” or trying out a new recipe with chocolate as the main ingredient.