There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your operators safe in the workplace. You can do everything to help ensure that your workspace is safe but at some point operators need to start taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
So how can you encourage your operators to up their safety game?
How can you make sure that even when your policies and actions aren’t protecting them, they still have the knowledge and wherewithal to prevent accidents and take initiative on their own?
Here are a few ways to encourage ownership and responsibility in the workplace.
BE STRICT WITH YOUR RULES
When you see an operator or employee walking through a hard hat zone without a hard hat on, do not ignore that.
Issue a clear warning, followed by a penalty after the next offense. Show respect for your own rules and operators will respect them as well.
ENCOURAGE EXAMPLE SETTING
Let your operators know it’s their job to set an example for new workers. Leadership comes with both privileges and responsibilities. Make sure all operators feel like leaders.
Safety comes first, there should never be any doubt in anyone’s mind regarding this in your work place. No employee should have to spend even one second contemplating a decision between safety and efficiency, between safety and profits, between safety and deadlines, or between safety and approval or disapproval from a boss. The message should be infused within every area in your workplace; it’s not a choice when it comes to choosing between the two,
Even if the right choice is clear, operators may not have all the information available to put the right choice into action. For example, if an employee spots a frayed wire on a lift truck mast, the right choice may be clear: Take the truck out of circulation and report the problem. But who should receive the report? And where can a replacement truck be obtained? These answers should readily available at all times.
PRAISE ACTS OF OWNERSHIP
Every time an employee makes an independent decision or exercises critical thinking in the interest of safety, no matter the outcome, the employee should be praised and rewarded. If she takes a risk, shuts down a machine or cancels a project because of safety concerns, make sure her decision is upheld and celebrated.