Workplace health and safety is about much more than just meeting legal requirements. Putting safety first in your company can also help to improve productivity and efficiency, not to mention the overall well-being of your employees. When it comes to industries such as transportation, construction, and oil and gas, this is particularly important. If your current safety culture leaves a lot to be desired, then this might seem like an impossible task. However, by following tips to improve safety and getting your employees on board with your safety philosophy, you can work to create a culture that nurtures itself with minimal interference from above. This will benefit your business as a whole and also decrease the number of injuries and fatalities. So let’s take a look at 7 tips on how to improve safety at work.

1. Make it Clear Safety is Non-Negotiable

Safety is not something that can be opted out of, and it is imperative that your employees are aware of this from day one. They should see safety as something which is at the heart of your company and their roles within it, rather than a paper exercise to be rushed through as quickly as possible. Ensuring that your current employees are on board with this approach greatly increases the likelihood that new hires will follow their lead. To achieve this, give lots of positive feedback when a worker completes a task according to safety protocol. On the other hand, make sure to also give out warnings to employees who refuse or are unwilling to comply with safety practices. If their behavior persists, you may need to remove them.

2. Get the Right People in Place

Having the right people in the right positions is both an art and a necessity if you want to build a great safety culture within your company. You need to make sure you hire workers who are aligned with your philosophy of safety in the workplace. If they are already enthusiastic about what you are trying to achieve, then this will translate in their interactions with their colleagues and direct reports. Having someone who is skeptical about safety practices in a position where safety is paramount can be incredibly destructive to the overall culture of your company. You should make this a key factor for consideration during any hiring process.

3. Provide Appropriate Training

Health and safety training has been a key element of the onboarding process for many years. However, in recent decades, the form this training takes has been gradually moving away from in-person to online. Some accreditations can still only be gained via classroom training, but a significant amount of safety courses and certificates can now be achieved online. Providing good quality appropriate training for your employees is essential. Not only does it teach them how to carry out their work safely, but it also reduces accidents and helps to improve the efficiency of your company overall. Online training makes it easier than ever for workers to complete their safety training – and often at a time that works best for them.

4. Monitor Your Employees’ Training

Equally as important as training your employees is keeping on top of what training they have already completed and when additional training needs to be given. Depending on the size of your company, this can be a daunting task. Some smaller entities may get by with just a spreadsheet and post-it note reminders. However, this type of tracking system is vulnerable to human error, and for larger companies it just isn’t practical. The good news is that there is software available to help you make sure your employees’ training is up-to-date and let you know when expirations are coming up. These tools also provide you with robust reporting functions that offer an overview, whether that be for a specific person, department, or site.

5. Reward Positive Safety Behavior

Positive feedback and encouragement are much more effective ways of bringing your employees on board with safety culture than admonishment for mistakes made. There are different ways that you can reward someone for correctly following best safety practices. This might be explicit verbal praise when someone uses a piece of equipment in a safe manner, or it might be implementing reward software. This type of tool awards points to workers for good safety behavior. Your workers can then redeem them for various rewards of their choosing.

6. Draw Up Best Practices

Best practices need to be clear, concrete, and written down. Your employees are not mind readers, nor are they going to spend vast amounts of time trying to interpret vague statements about putting safety first. Draw up a document that outlines the best practices for your company. This should incorporate measures that work for you as a business but that also comply with local regulations. This will help both your new hires to familiarize themselves with your safety culture as well as giving your existing employees a point to refer back to whenever they have a safety query.

7. Carry Out Hazard Inspections

To keep injuries and fatalities to an absolute minimum within your company, preventing accidents from happening at all is the best way to go. This isn’t always possible, of course. But carrying out regular hazard inspections can go a long way to reducing the number of incidents inside your company. Make daily field level hazard assessments mandatory for the relevant employees. Once they start to see good safety behavior as an integral part of their role rather than just a box-ticking annoyance, you’re halfway to winning the battle for a robust safety culture.

Instilling a great safety culture in your company and amongst your employees is not just about fulfilling your legal obligations. Providing a secure, safe work environment for your people not only reduces injuries and fatalities, it also increases employee wellbeing and productivity. These tips to improve safety at work are designed to help you move in the right direction. Having the right people in position will help you make sure that safety is considered non-negotiable at every level of your company. Combining safety training with software that monitors training and expirations enables you to keep on top of where everyone is at and identify any gaps. Drawing up your best practices provides a reference point for both new and existing employees, and rewarding them for implementation helps bring everyone on board. By putting these tips into practice, you will not only improve your safety culture but also see your business as a whole flourish and grow.