Safety First: Three Steps to a Safer, Stronger Organization

For most business owners and managers, success and financial growth are defined primarily by concepts like customer retention, new product and service development, and employee engagement. They are also driven by a concrete set of numbers – think gross revenue, net income, cash flow and debt-to-equity ratio. But there is another aspect to the success and profit formula, and that is how your company handles the vital issue of safety in the workplace. Investing in workplace safety is worth every penny because it is protecting your most valuable asset – your employees.

Depending upon your industry, you are likely aware of the specific health and safety rules and requirements that apply to your operations. You have probably developed at least a minimum plan for training employees and communicating about safety in accordance with local, state and federal laws. You may also have reviewed the resources available to help in this effort through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

While compliance with the law is critical, a truly comprehensive health and safety program can help employees feel more connected to your company’s mission and values, more engaged in their daily work, and more productive all around. Whether global or local, employees who feel safe and valued at work stay motivated, ultimately making the company a better place to work overall and even more profitable.

Taking your health and safety efforts to the next level can also set you apart from the competition. When employees see that their company is putting their safety first, they let others know, in person, through social media and on other web-based platforms like Glassdoor. That positive reputation can make your organization an employer of choice, bringing top talent your way.

Here are three key steps your company can take to boost safety in the workplace:

1. Strengthen Training Programs:

Most companies have implemented some form of health and safety training into their new-employee orientation process, but often this effort is only cursory. To reinforce just how critical safety really is, companies need to create an aggressive training regimen – one that is engaging and fun for employees. Safety training should be ongoing throughout the year for new and established employees. Consider developing interactive safety events for employees, along with online programs that can coincide with professional development programs.

2. Get Your Employees Geared Up for Safety:

Your employees need to have the right tools and the right gear to be safe, but they also have to have enthusiasm and interest. By involving them in the drive to create a completely safe, accident-free workplace through unique contests and events, you can become a motivator for your workers, and an example for other companies in your industry. At DHL, for instance, we developed a special safety competition, called the Safe Driving Rodeo. Transporting goods safely and quickly is central to our mission, and so our safe driving competition brings this point to life, with hundreds of our U.S. couriers engaging in five months of safety competitions throughout the year. Whatever your company’s central mission is, completing it safely means that your employees need to be practiced, involved and committed. Ultimately, the best way to gauge the success of your program is when your employees move from “having to be safe” to “wanting to be safe.” That simple cultural change will mean you have a self-sustaining program within your organization.

Communicate Your Safety Messages Often:

Regular communication about safety keeps employees in the right frame of mind, encourages them to put safety first, and helps to enforce a culture of safety. Use your company’s intranet, email and posted notices to issue regular safety reminders that apply directly to the work your employees do (these messages might differ across various parts of your organization). Also, consider holding informal safety briefings with team members on an ongoing basis.

What is your company doing to make workplace safety a priority? Let us know on Twitter at @DHLUS.

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