World class construction companies have excellent safety programs. Their accident and injury rates are low. Their employees willingly take part in the program and follow the systems set up with positive attitudes. This leads to significant increases to the bottom line due to improved productiveness, less down time and lower workers compensation costs.
Why do smaller contractors and companies have such a problem running an effective safety program?
Large companies use age old well known approaches to deal with employees. These methods are normally not used in smaller companies simply because they haven't established a structure or set of rules to follow that will make a company wide program work.
Many small business owners have built a prosperous business by being the kind of person that does not 'follow the crowd'. They're risk takers and aggressively pursue what they want. They are typically not individuals who like to follow rules.
This mindset that builds a company can work against the business as it grows. Large organizations have built their success by implementing rules and systems that work to encourage employee participation and individual ownership in working to keep employees and also the workplace safe. And listed here are two main steps you can take to develop your own program.
Remember, rules apply to everybody:
Whenever a company initially sets up a safety program the rules which need to be put into practice usually are derived from OHSA regulations and information from their Workers Comp insurance company. Don't fight the rules. You can't beat the government, especially OSHA. Don't complain or criticize the need to have to supply or buy safety equipment. Publicly, in front of your workers, always take a positive attitude about changes that need to be made.
Wearing a hardhat is commonplace and well accepted, but other rules such as the mandatory use of safety glasses or respirators in certain situations can be seen as tedious and unnecessary by yourself. If you pass this attitude through to your workers, you've started a losing battle.
Even if you don't like the rules and extra expense, realize that you need to think of the future of your company. Send a positive message to your employees by telling them that the OSHA rules which need that must be followed are there because of accidents that have happened during the past. And while the danger may be small, it's very much better to be safe than sorry.
Speak in terms of how you would hate to have anybody accidentally hurt or be disabled by not following the rules. Inform your people that you recognize that it's inconvenient at first, but that like anything else in everyday life it's something that a person will quickly become accustomed to.
Safety rules will quickly become second nature to your people when you send the proper message. And the essential thing to remember is that you must let everyone know in no unclear terms that these rules apply to everyone, no exceptions.
Do not let a visitor or any other non job site employees into work areas without using exactly the same protection that is required of the workers. The number one rule to make a safety program work is that the rules apply to everybody, at all times.
Recognize compliance by using a visual program:
Hard hat stickers make a perfect method to visually enhance your company's safety program. The metrics that you use to define the system are not the things that are important. They could be hours or days worked without a job injury, number of safety inspections passed by each employee or employee group, or any other measurement that you may want to use.
The important thing is that you along with your company has a system that positively passes on the message that the company is running their safety program to ensure that employees are not hurt or injured. And that the company is proud of the contribution that all employees make that further the success of the program.
Provide hard hat decals that show that the employees are a part of your group. Make sure to do this on a regular basis such as at monthly or bi-weekly meetings.
What you must do is always to spread the message to all that you, as the owner, are concerned about safety first. Not about the expense of a safety program or diminished profits. You can easily do this just by changing your mindset.
When you do you will see that you reap the same rewards as large companies. By putting your employees and their safety first, you'll see improved attitudes and improved work performance. Try this advice and you will see that you can make your safety program work for you and your company.