Safety in the Workplace: How to Lead by Example

It all starts with safety – and it starts at the top.

Nothing is more important in your role as a leader than maintaining the safety and health of your workforce. And to spread a safety culture throughout your organization, you need to drive the initiative – every day, in everything you do, and without exception. The unwavering discipline that goes into an effective safety program will naturally spill over into quality and production control, as employees at all levels are more aware of safety and how they do their jobs.

Make a Commitment and Walk the Walk

Put as much energy and commitment into safety and health as you do any other aspect of your business. In fact, put in more.

  • Safety should be integrated into every aspect of your business plans.
  • Commit the resources – time, money and people – to effectively implement safety practices.
  • Begin every single meeting with a safety message.
  • Follow every safety practice yourself.
  • If an illness or injury occurs, involve yourself personally in investigating, pinpointing the root cause, and implementing timely corrective action.

Engage Employees

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Often, employees know more about specific safety issues related to their equipment and workstations than management does. After all, it’s their job.

  • Hold people accountable. Make sure everyone does their part to uphold safety standards.
  • Keep employees informed. Communicate with them regularly on safety issues and developments including inspections, performance and updates, or changes to safety practices.
  • Include safety and health responsibilities in job descriptions. Also, make safety a prominent part of regular performance evaluations.
  • Enforce safety-related discipline. Send a clear message that your organization has a zero-tolerance philosophy for putting oneself or others in danger.
  • Recognize safety leaders. Appropriately acknowledge and reward employees who make key contributions to safety.

Create and Support a Safety Culture

No one should feel uncomfortable issuing safety messages as part of their workday routine. For instance, if an employee sees a co-worker who’s not wearing safety glasses or a forklift seat belt, they should speak up without hesitation. Support an environment that fosters trust, creativity and general well-being.

Safety CI

Safety and continuous improvement go hand in hand as you set a strong leadership example.

  • Investigate every accident immediately.
  • Conduct frequent – daily, weekly and as-needed – inspections of all equipment and processes.
  • Evaluate injury and illness statistics and the effectiveness of safety training.
  • Document all safety efforts.

There’s no place in good management for “Do as I say, not what I do,” especially when it comes to safety. Your employees observe your actions every day. So be sure they speak even louder than your words when it comes to sending everyone home at the end of the day safe and injury free.

To learn more about safety and related workforce issues, partner with an expert from Employment Professionals Canada. Read our related posts or contact us today!