Tips for Starting a Safety Conversation in the Workplace

To promote safety in the workplace, everyone has to understand policies and expectations, but individuals at every level also need to understand the rationale behind policies and be able to contribute their opinions and observations. Here are some ways to have an honest and constructive dialogue about workplace safety.

Foster Open Communication

Communicating about safety should just mean sending memos about rules and procedures to employees. Workers need to be engaged in the entire process. They should be able to provide input regarding the company’s goals and suggest ways to improve safety.

Often, managers and executives who want to make their workplaces safer have good intentions, but they don’t understand enough about how things work on a day-to-day basis to know how the changes they are considering could impact employees. Leaders who aim to improve safety may inadvertently create processes and procedures that are more cumbersome or time-consuming for employees. Instead of improving the work environment and making employees feel valued, the new policies can lead to frustration and resentment.

Getting employees at all levels involved in the process early on can prevent that type of scenario. Workers who are on the front lines may realize that a proposal would have consequences that managers haven’t considered. If those concerns are raised and addressed before new procedures are implemented, the company can avoid making workers’ jobs more difficult and avoid wasting money to make changes that may later have to be reversed.

Employees are sometimes afraid to speak up because they are concerned that managers or executives won’t take their concerns seriously or will criticize their ideas. Creating a company culture that encourages employees to express points of view that differ from those of leaders can help the business develop policies that achieve their desired results.

Asking open-ended questions will generate more useful information than asking questions that require simple answers. For instance, asking workers to describe their concerns or to suggest ways that current procedures can be improved may lead to conversations about subjects that managers had not previously considered priorities.

Give Your Workers the Safety Training They Need

Communicating openly with employees and asking them for input shows that leaders respect the people who work for them and value their insights and expertise. An open dialogue that considers numerous points of view can yield better results than policies that are crafted by a handful of people at the top and then communicated to others.

If you speak openly about workplace safety with your employees, you may learn that they need additional training to do their jobs safely and effectively. UniShield offers workplace safety classes that address common causes of injuries, such as slip and fall accidents, improper lifting, and incorrect use of personal protective equipment. Contact us today to schedule workplace safety training for your employees.

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