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How to Enforce Workplace Safety Standards

How to Enforce Workplace Safety Standards

Safety is a significant concern in every workplace because unsafe practices can cause harm to employees in addition to costing the company in financial terms. It’s better for everyone and for the organization as a whole to follow good safety practices at all times. The problem is getting your employees to follow the safety policies you put into place. While it may be necessary to use disciplinary action for violations, you’ll get better compliance by taking a more positive approach.

Schedule Third-Party Evaluation and Training

One of the earliest steps you should take in creating a safer workplace is to consult with a third-party safety company. By requesting VDA 6.3 process audit training for your manufacturing business, you can identify safety issues and implement changes to make processes safer for everyone involved. Often, the management and workers in a facility will be too close to the process to identify what they’re doing wrong in terms of unsafe practices. A third-party company that possesses specialized safety training and awareness will see hazards that others won’t recognize. This can help you and your employees eliminate dangers before they do result in workplace accidents.

Use Physical Reminders

If you find that your employees aren’t following safety policies, the problem may be that they haven’t adapted to new changes in how you want your facility to enforce safety. Consider helping your employees follow safety practices by providing signs and other physical reminders of your organization’s safety policies. For example, hang a sign that reminds people to wear safety goggles when entering an area in which chemical substances are in use. Using yellow and red paint to outline areas where more caution is prudent can also help. Some signs, such as one that reminds a forklift operator to beep at intersections, will help forklift drivers and pedestrians watch out for one another. Look for other types of physical reminders that can make your workplace a safer environment.

Infuse Your Company Culture with Safety

Your employees will take their cues from you and your management team in determining how seriously safety is taken. If you only pay lip service to safety and encourage employees to work faster or harder to the extent that they will have no choice but to work unsafely, you can’t expect to maintain a safety-focused company culture. You can still expect better productivity and growth, but be sure to stress that improvements are to be made without violating good safety practices. You should also be encouraging your managers to focus on safety when working with their teams. As your workers see that you and your management team take safety more seriously, they will also pay closer attention to your organization’s safety policies.

Ask for Participation

You can also enforce workplace safety policies by getting your employees involved in establishing the best practices for your organization. Start by conducting monthly safety meetings with your employees. This will help keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds throughout each month. They will keep a closer eye out for safety hazards and bring those issues up in the monthly meetings. This will help you address hazards that you might not recognize from a manager’s perspective. Additionally, you’ll help your employees feel more involved in the process, and that will encourage them to embrace workplace safety.

Reward Positive Behavior

You can create a list of small rewards that you can pass out when your employees exhibit safe behavior or reach a safety milestone. For example, you might give each person on your team an extra day of PTO when you reach so many days without a workplace accident. You can also publicly recognize an employee who suggests a change that will improve safety in the workplace. Creating a rewards system will encourage everyone in your organization to think about safety more regularly. Instead of responding to negative actions by punishing an employee who violates a safety policy, you can create a more positive work environment by rewarding better safety practices.

As long as you’re persistent in enforcing good safety practices, you’ll find that it’s easier to get your employees to comply. As they see that the policies are in place to protect them, they will be more willing to follow your rules. Before long, safety will become an integral part of your workplace’s culture.

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by Lizzie Howard // Lizzie Howard is a Colorado native who after graduating from the University of Colorado spends her time as a freelance writer. When Lizzie isn’t writing, she enjoys going on hikes, baking for her friends and family, and spending time with her beloved yellow lab, Sparky.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.