Safety at work: Does your workplace have an effective safety culture?
Safety at work is the number one consideration in volatile industries across the UK and beyond, but it’s not enough to offer Arc Flash protection garments and PPE, you need an effective safety culture.
Companies are more conscious than ever about their responsibilities towards their staff, and this generally translates into a safer working environment that protects lives and challenges negative attitudes about safety and protection.
However, there is always room for improvement and it’s important that your company doesn’t simply operate a ‘top down’ approach to safety. You need your workforce to feel comfortable approaching you with issues too.
Fostering a safety culture
One fundamental part of safety at work is when employees feel secure enough to raise concerns about safety without the fear of being labelled a troublemaker. For example, if a co-worker or superior colleague neglected to wear their PPE correctly, would an employee feel able to speak up about it? Being safe, whether it’s in a factory or out in the field, is a collaborative effort.
Analysing your team’s perception of your current safety culture can seem difficult. After all, if your team doesn’t feel comfortable approaching you with concerns then how do you know there’s something wrong with the system?
Practical ways to encourage safety at work
One way to find out whether an employee would speak up is to deliberately place a superior employee in the workplace wearing PPE incorrectly. If they feel unable to highlight the error, then you may have a problem with approachability.
Anonymous surveys may obtain more truthful responses than asking questions directly. It’s a sad reality that your workforce may occasionally be economical with the truth regarding their safety concerns. Your primary job, after providing the correct PPE, is to ensure they feel comfortable and safe at work.
A continual process of evaluation and review
There can sometimes appear to be a huge gulf between management and the workforce, but this doesn’t have to be the case and certainly shouldn’t be when it comes to safety. This can have a serious impact on the security of your team and beyond that, the entire company.
If, for instance, an item of PPE is reaching the end of its life and is about to succumb to natural wear and tear, your team must be confident enough to bring that to your attention. PPE, whether it’s Arc Flash protection or other items, involves a continuous process of checking and evaluation. It’s an ongoing safety process and you should make clear to your team at every opportunity that this is the case.
Ultimately, your team can only be as safe in their work as you allow them to be. It isn’t simply a case of providing the correct PPE and expecting that they’ll bring any other concerns to you. Instead, you need to open the channels of communication within a safety culture and further diminish the possibility of risk to your workforce.
For more information about Arc Flash protection, PPE or instilling a culture of safety in the workplace, call our experienced team on 01482 679600.Back