In today's work world, we are constantly tasked with the responsibility of working to assist others, communicate with others, and provide reports to various levels of the company. It is almost impossible to have a career in a business which does not communicate or interact with others. Thus, there is a great importance placed on understanding how to practice safe team work. Safe team work goes beyond the traditional ideas of safety that are often associated with dangerous labor jobs and industrial work, they also include white-collar jobs and the risks associated with poor team work. This goes for investment agencies that make rash purchases on products and funds because of poor research into a fund or stock, and can include almost any job in the world.

To understand the importance of safety among teams, regardless of occupation and industry, there have been some important guidelines for better managing the dangers that you, or a teammate can encounter. To achieve the ultimate in team safety, consider the following guidelines as a tool for managing your team, as well as your own behavior on the job:

  • Support a closed-looped protocol — this means that anything that the team is doing, should stay within the team. By opening your loop to external factors, you are increasing risk while simultaneously reducing the safety potential for team members

  • If the protocol must be open, then make sure all the team members are aware so that any new impacts and risks can be openly addressed

  • At the end of each day, week, or after each incident perform an analysis of errors in the team that may have contributed to creating a more risky setting, or higher hazard potential. Identify the modes and methods of how to reduce future risk in this area, and use the example as a learning experience

  • Provide detailed and expansive overviews and presentations of how the team functions as a sole entity, with a feedback process from members on the team, so everyone understands how everything works together

  • Provide a risk assessment and management tool, so the team can share adaptive experiences that will result in feedback from others to increase the team’s overall efficiency

  • To increase the adaptability of members on the team, encourage cross-training and duty-sharing, so that other members of the team get a better framework for understanding the risks associated with the jobs of other members on the team

Regardless of your industry or occupation, teamwork is a fact of life. To ensure that your team is a well-knit and functioning unit, take the time to go inside the mind of the team to understand how the interactions of a group create a process for team safety. Conducting this exercise will give you and the members on your team a greater appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of individuals, their risks and struggles, and the opportunity to create a safer working environment for everyone involved.

To create a team is to create a culture, or a collective way of thinking. For more on how to create a safety culture, check out Workplace Safety Culture 101