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Organizations with the best safety records often view safety as a company value and integrate it into every business decision. In contrast, some companies view workplace safety as an obligation, something they have to do to avoid regulatory fines.
Ultimately, safety performance comes down to an organization’s safety culture and employee opinions, actions, and behaviors around the value of safety shape that culture. Shifting that culture is crucial because safety is a team effort, and no one person can change the tide of a poorly performing company.
Changing someone’s opinion about safety can be one of the most challenging aspects of being a safety professional because those opinions are often deeply ingrained. However, the process is much simpler when you know how to frame the benefits of safety in a way that resonates with your audience.
Being a safety professional involves selling the value of safety. For example, when selling any product, you need to identify your customer’s problems and needs and how your product can help. This article will speak about what workers and managers care about and how to frame safety to speak toward those priorities.
People need to make a living. They have bills, a mortgage, a car note, and maybe a family to support. How will their ability to offer that support be affected if they get hurt at work? Some may think workers’ compensation will be there to save them without understanding that it only pays a percentage of their average take-home pay. How will this unintended decrease in earning potential affect their personal and financial lives?
You can also speak about their passions and hobbies. For example, if an employee loves fishing on the weekends, talk to them about how a shoulder injury could prevent them from casting their fishing line. If they love spending time with their grandchildren, speak about how work-related hearing loss could affect their ability to hear their grandchildren talk. When you make safety personal, you make it real and give people a reason to stay safe.
Workers always look towards their direct manager to determine acceptable behaviors and attitudes. If their manager doesn’t see the value of safety or makes negative comments about it, then their staff will echo those sentiments and behaviors.
Changing management’s opinion of safety is critical to improving a company’s safety performance. Therefore, to change their minds, you must frame safety in a way that speaks toward the goals and values of management.
Most managers are in high-stress positions and under pressure from their bosses to complete their objectives on time and below budget. Knowing that progress and money are often at the top of management’s priority list, start to frame safety in this manner.
Speak about how a workplace injury can remove a skilled worker from the field, leaving a gap in the workforce that can slow delivery dates and progress. As schedules become tighter and everyone is looking to improve efficiency and productivity, speaking about how disruptive accidents are might be enough to get them to care.
Most managers likely spend significant time trying to find ways to cut costs. So why not speak about the extremely high costs associated with workplace accidents? Tell them about the medical bills, worker’s comp costs, property damage, potential lawsuits, and regulatory fines.
Then explain how those costs can hit their bottom line and instantly move a profitable project or department from the black to the red.
Workplace accidents are bad for people and terrible for business, but sometimes a little bit of explaining is necessary to shine a light on this fact. To further show employees and management the real risks and costs they’re dealing with, implementing EHS software is a great option.
EHS software from ProcessMAP digs into a company’s safety data and helps paint a clear picture of safety performance that leaders can use to make proactive, well-informed business decisions. When you have accurate, concrete data to back up your claims, convincing employees and management to buy into safety is much easier. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ProcessMAP can help you create a safer workplace.