In any business, it's important that workers be able to do their jobs safely every single day, but the risks in an industrial manufacturing setting are quite a bit different from a basic office job. For that reason, it's critical to not only train employees for proper safety ideas in every task they will do, but to go further, and make sure safety is seen as your company's foremost concern — keeping it at the center of everything you do.
That's not always easy in a results-oriented industrial setting, but the following ideas should help you ensure your safety culture is extremely strong going forward:
1) It starts with the example
This is perhaps where the idea of leading by example is most important within a manufacturing facility: If managers and long-time production workers are making safety a conspicuous part of their efforts, the trickle-down effect will likely be significant, according to the Occupational Safety Group. However, if those who are in a position to set a positive example take a lax attitude toward safety efforts because they're even seen as being "above it," that certainly sends the wrong message to others.
2) Define everyone's responsibilities
Workplace safety is, of course, part of everyone's job and it's not something anyone should ever slack on, but there should never be an attitude of "that's someone else's problem," according to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News. When you clearly lay out organizational expectations for how people will deal with safety issues for any given issue under your roof, your odds of a workplace accident will decline.
3) Make accountability a central premise
Part and parcel with giving people more responsibility around addressing safety issues on their own, it's also important to document lapses and make sure people are accountable when they happen, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News cautioned. That way, even when problems crop up (and they almost certainly will) it can be handled appropriately at both the individual and organizational levels.
4) Regularly communicate and train on safety issues
A proper safety culture certainly does not entail a "set it and forget it" attitude, as you will have to make sure everyone is holding up their end of the bargain, according to Predictive Safety. Regular training will help ensure everyone remains on the same page with what you're trying to achieve, and reduces risk. Along similar lines, you will be wise to consistently talk about safety issues in company communications and hold up good behavior as an example to be followed.
5) Always work to improve
Finally, it's important to remember that once you get your safety culture to a strong position, it's not that difficult for people to start feeling overly secure and rest on their laurels, Predictive Safety said. As such, even if you go weeks or months without an on-site accident, you need to reinforce that you're always only one misstep away from a potentially disastrous situation, and continually work to improve your safety posture.