I am fairly certain that it is not cool to say “cool” anymore; but when it comes to safety in your company, it goes far beyond OSHA Compliance and having your written safety plans on a shelf. What if you could take safety beyond a requirement, and elevate it to a company-wide goal for the "cool kids."
When I first entered the industry more than 15 years ago, it seemed to be cool and tough to go about the trades in a somewhat haphazard way. I worked with more carpenters who did not wear safety glasses than those who did. That was my first battle…to make safety glasses cool.
We know safety is important for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
We care about our team and want them to be safe and healthy.
We must strive to meet and/or exceed safety requirements and remain in compliance.
Due to the nature of our work, our safety mindedness has a direct impact on the safety of our customers and those we serve.
Safety has a direct impact on the bottom-line of the company.
Safety should be top of mind for every restoration professional, from technician to company owner. A safety culture is an effective way to have your entire team moving in the same direction when it comes to safety.
If you really want to get your team hooked on caution, consider these tips to make safety "cool" while developing a culture of safety:
It starts at the beginning: During interviews, ask questions about safety practices, safety violations, and gauge the candidate’s attitude and understanding about safety.
Add safety to evaluations: Team members are evaluated on the things you care about and this becomes part of your culture. Attendance, quality of work, proficiency, and customer service are the typical categories of an evaluation. What about safety? Making safety practices a part of the evaluation and review process makes it clear that an individual’s safety mindedness and compliance is an important part of their overall job performance. Subsequently, violations of company safety policies should be treated the same way as any other violation of company policy.
Reward System: Implement incentives and/or reward systems that the entire company can rally around. Consider a system that rewards the company’s overall record, which helps encourage everyone help each other be and stay safe. Issue rewards in small intervals of time; consider every 90 days as one year can be too long to keep a goal in sight. Short intervals will keep safety top of mind. Check out the attached documents for some ideas!
Safety Committee: Form a safety committee that includes a cross-section of the company. Let everyone participate in accident investigations, safety training, and suggestions. A side benefit is many states offer a discount or incentive on your workers’ compensation insurance for having an active safety committee and will train and certify your committee at no-charge. Check with your state and insurance carrier for opportunities and assistance on forming a safety committee.
Inspect what you expect: That old cliché works every time. Just as we inspect the quality of our team’s work or a company vehicle, inspect safety practices and PPE bags. Notice and praise safe work sites and hold people accountable for safety violations.
Safety Days Sign: After more than a decade in the industry, I saw many of these safety days signs, but mostly at manufactures. I never gave these signs much thought in my efforts towards creating a safety culture until a member from the field staff recommended getting one during a safety committee meeting. The reason was that it allowed everyone to know exactly how the team was doing as a company. Everyone could be a part of the countdown to the “reward.” It was a well spent $100.
Safety is no joke and must be taken seriously. However, we can shape our company culture into one where everyone is on board with staying in compliance and keeping each other safe. Plus, we can make safety fun and positive as well.
In a truly safety-minded culture, if one team member reminds the other to put on a respirator or safety glasses, the other team member should feel grateful for being in a company that cares and respected by a co-worker who cares about them. Now that is cool.
Be inspired to take your safety to the next level and go beyond compliance. Build a safety culture.
For more information on the safety program, click here.
For more information on the zero injury incentive, click here.