Common Myths About Safety Culture

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Safety is an everyday, all-the-time activity. To reach the highest level of compliance, the concept needs to form a core aspect of your corporate culture. But what does that mean in practice? Creating an optimal safety culture involves separating myth from an effective methodology. 

The truth is many companies have an imperfect understanding of safety culture. These misconceptions can lead to serious operational issues. A misplaced appreciation can lead to either substandard safety precautions or a situation where safety procedures unnecessarily cut into productivity. 

You can avoid both these dangers by understanding some of the key myths about safety culture.

Here are the five most common misconceptions   

Myth #1: Safety as Buzzwords 

Many companies talk a good game. They say all the right things about safety, constantly discussing their commitment to protecting the health of their employees. However, these concepts don’t always get put into practice. 

Make sure your actions match your rhetoric. Allocate the resources necessary to reach peak levels of compliance. At the same time, don’t take a wink-wink approach to day-to-day practice. Don’t create safety rules only to look the other way when employees cut corners to boost production. 

Myth #2: Too Much Safety = Less Profit 

First, let’s deal with the idea of “too much safety.” It’s certainly possible to become overly cautious and allow the bureaucracy around safety to become burdensome. But safety itself should be about maximizing the health and productivity of your workforce, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of negative events. In these pursuits, you can’t go too far. 

As such, safety and profits go hand-in-hand. A dedicated safety culture allows you to maintain a high level of sustainable output, with the minimum chance that you’ll suffer a major incident. Done right, it should maximize your long-term profit. 

Myth #3: Safety Is an Exclusively Top-Down Process 

Companies sometimes assume that culture exists exclusively as a series of top-down directives. Executives send memos filled with mission statements and directives. Eureka! Instance culture! 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Culture can get defined at the top, but it doesn’t become part of everyday practice until frontline workers put those concepts into effect. For that reason, employee buy-in is important. It’s crucial to communicate with your staff and convince them to follow your directives each and every day. 

Myth #4: Initial Training Is Everything  

You hire a new employee. You give them the full battery of safety training. Everything is set, right? You can count on them to embody your safety culture for the rest of their tenure at your company, can’t you? 

Not quite. A strong initial training regime is an important first step. However, that’s all it is: the first step. Building a strong safety culture is an ongoing process. You can’t count on employees to internalize your safety commitment on the first go-around. You need to use continual reinforcement to ensure compliance over the long term. 

Myth #5: Once Is Enough 

Once a safety regime is put in place, many companies become complacent. Even firms that pride themselves on their safety profile tend to stick with protocols long after they’ve become outdated.  

Your safety culture should constantly evolve. You should schedule regular reviews of protocols and procedures, to make sure that they still represent the gold standard in compliance. You should also review new technology as it comes onto the market. There may be advances in equipment that can drastically improve your workers’ lives. 

This dedication to continual improvement should operate on the granular level as well. Individual workers should look to improve their safety compliance over time. Promote this by rewarding good safety habits, and providing refresher training at regular intervals. 

Creating the right culture involves having the right employees. Partnering with a top staffing agency, like DHR, allows you to build a team that can enact your highest safety expectations, while still maintaining peak productivity. 

Contact DHR today to learn more. 

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