Building an Effective Safety Culture
Earning the trust of the people you work with must always be priority number one. One way we’ve accomplished this at Innovator is by maintaining a total recordable incident rate(TRIR) of zero for the past seven years. This leads to high morale with our workers, and is something you can certainly apply to your own company.
To achieve such a safety record, creating a strong and effective safety culture is paramount. If safety is embedded in your culture as a whole, then your workers will be more inclined to practice it. It becomes the normal way of doing things. This means they constantly watch out for each other and keep mindful of the potential dangers around them.
While it may sound simple in theory, having a true safety culture can be difficult to achieve in practice.
Here are 6 steps that have made it a reality for Innovator:
It’s important to have someone who oversees company processes and takes charge of implementing safety procedures. At Innovator, this falls on the shoulders of the Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Manager.
However, it’s equally important to have buy-in from upper management when introducing new processes. When management members show they take safety seriously, that accountability filters throughout the organization.
Our objective is to create a culture intolerant of unsafe behavior or equipment, and we execute on this by making sure everyone in the company is on the same page. When we take the time to carry the message of safety to the field, our workers respond positively and that shows in the work they perform.
Make Safety Procedures Official.
Include safety procedures in standard operating procedures (SOPs) and daily operations to underscore their importance. Even better, implement detailed procedures for every role; Innovator has safety processes for each individual service line to ensure employees have processes to fall back on — regardless of the work they’re doing.
Implement A Reporting System.
It’s difficult to get employees to buy into a safety program if the people who create it aren’t visible and don’t provide feedback. That’s why it’s valuable to develop a reporting system that incorporates insights from those doing the work.
The information we get back from our crews in the field tells us where we could possibly be at risk and what we should focus on. We are then able to give feedback and reporting using the workers’ own information, thus giving them a direct impact and visibility on the safety of their site.
Require Active Participation.
Reports should never be optional.
We still expect feedback, even if everything is perfect. Even if it’s menial or seemingly unimportant — it could be anything from an overflowing garbage can to loose gravel — by recording everything, it gets everybody in a frame of mind where they’re looking for things rather than looking past them. We tell them, ‘The more information we have, the safer your job is.’”
Show crew members that their observations and safety matter by taking their reports seriously. Innovator leaders conduct in-person audits and have managers address any concerns directly.
Whether it’s through field reports, behavior-focused audits, or management observation, we stay willing to use valuable feedback to introduce new policies or processes that better support safety procedures. Once rules are in place, measure their effectiveness regularly and adjust them as necessary.
All these steps work together to make a workplace culture that prioritizes safety, and the greater your safety culture, the greater participation and compliance you can expect to see.
We’re at a point now where the culture is there. Workers get recognition for being safe, not being the most productive.
And the best part? Our crews are made up of safety-minded employees and have the safety record to back it up.
We have a zero Total Recordable Incident Rate(TRIR) for the last seven years!
Use the steps outlined above for yourself and make zero recordable incidents a reality.