ACCOUNTABILITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR SAFETY PART 2

Our previous safety blog talked about accountability; setting high expectations and then following through. We considered that even when you have economic and work pressures pushing against maintaining a high standard, the cost of not holding people responsible can be an even steeper price to pay.  What are some steps to take to guarantee accountability?

  • Incentive

Problem:  Warning! Rewarding people for maintaining a low injury rate can result in employee peer pressure to not report issues for fear they will lose the reward.

Instead, utilize positive

  • Incentives that reward the action of following safety procedures and processes instead of the result.
  • Recognition and rewards to employees for identifying, reporting, and eliminating hazards.
  • Consider online incident reporting system for employees to notify management when an incident or close call occurs.
  • Posted action list to show how issues are being fixed and recognize employee who related the problem.

Following these recommendations help everyone avoid mixed messages and to create a climate that encourages and values employees to take positive safety actions.

  • Written Safety Policy
    • Establish, distribute, and implement written safety policies.
    • Written safety policies should demonstrate:
      • Expectations.
      • Roles.
      • Responsibilities for establishing and maintaining a positive jobsite safety climate.
    • Policies should be developed:
      • Team effort.
      • Employee input.
      • Signed by the owner.
    • Policies should be:
      • Distributed to employees.
      • Reviewed with all employees.
      • Included in the company’s safety manual.
      • Reinforced verbally every day.
  • Incident/Accident Investigations
    • Prioritizing blame over determining the root cause can generate a climate of fear among employees which in turn often leads to:
      • Discomfort speaking up.
      • Under- or non-reporting of potential hazards, close calls, and injuries.
      • Weakening and undermining a strong safety climate.
    • Supervisors need training on how to properly conduct blame-free incident and close call investigations.
    • Discover the root cause of all incidents by examining the possible contributing factors:
      • Environmental.
      • Organizational.
      • Human.
    • A system should be set up to share findings throughout the company.
  • Leadership accountability. 
  • Safety leadership should be included as part of supervisor evaluations.
  • A supervisor’s annual performance evaluation should emphasize his/her leadership skills with respect to safety. 
  • Recognize leadership behaviors such as the supervisor’s ability to:
    • Empower employees to identify hazards.
    • Cease operations if necessary.
    • Report incidents.
    • Participate in blame-free incident investigations.
  • Gather safety data by:
    • Asking employees directly about onsite safety leadership.
    • Observational methods.
    • Identification of strengths and weaknesses in the evaluation should be discussed with supervisors.
    • Development of improvement goals.
  • Immigrant accountability
    • Ensure that immigrants understand company expectations.
      • Communicate in their language.
      • Understand cultural motivations.
      • Set high expectations.
    • Create a confidential survey to understand and address their concerns.
    • Develop a system to act from lessons learned.

Report on action progress.

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