In celebration of National Safe Work Month in October, we spoke to Carlos Colmenar, Category Manager for Health and Safety at Winc. He shares his insights and top six ways to build a stronger safety culture at work to ‘think safe. work safe. be safe.’
1. Define safety responsibilities and communicate
“The very first thing you should do to cultivate a stronger safety culture is by clearly defining safety responsibilities for each level within your organisation. This includes policies, goals and objectives. Have a holistic view of how you can keep your people safe in the type of environment they work in,” says Carlos.
Then communicate these safety plans and projected targets to employees at all levels. “Being transparent with employees can help motivate their involvement. Make sure everyone understands what is required of them and what behaviours are expected. Safety should be part of everyone’s role, not an extra task,” says Carlos.
Ensure you have constructed a safety plan in line with the hierarchy of controls. To find out more about the hierarchy of controls, read our blog about 5 steps to create a safer working environment.
2. Provide training and support
“Ongoing training and sharing knowledge are key to building a culture where safety is front of mind. Employees are better equipped to get involved when they are aware of the role they play to act in a safe way,” says Carlos.
“Make sure your employees are trained specifically for the tasks they need to perform, offer the training in other languages if necessary and support regular refresher training. Offering workplace wellness programs that support the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of your employees is also an important aspect of workplace safety,” advises Carlos.
3. Have strong reporting and incident investigations
It’s crucial to have reporting and incident investigation systems that work. “Ensure everyone knows how to report hazards, near misses and incidents correctly,” says Carlos.
Having proper investigation systems in place can provide data on how and why an incident occurred. “Through analysis, you can establish root causes to help shape plans to prevent future incidents,” advises Carlos.
4. Ask for feedback
Building a strong safety culture is a collaborative effort. “Involve employees throughout the process and initiate two-way conversations about health and safety. Ask for feedback on how messages are being communicated and implemented,” suggests Carlos.
5. Regularly review and improve
Ensure you review your safety plan, goals and objectives regularly and continually track progress. “Continue to develop and implement initiatives and fill in the gaps to improve safety in your workplace,” says Carlos.
6. Have the right personal protective equipment (PPE)
“PPE should be used in conjunction with other safety measures or when no other safety controls are available in the hierarchy of controls,” says Carlos. “Remember to select the right sizes for each worker and ensure equipment is correctly fitted.”