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How can I raise the safety awareness of my workers?

Q:

I want to do everything I can to make sure my employees are safe, beyond just showing them how to properly use their equipment and providing them with PPE. What are some effective techniques I can use to raise safety awareness among my workers?

A:

There is no such thing as being too safe at work (see The Journey to Zero!). Increased demand for skills, products, and services brings with it the potential for more hazards and risks that threaten the safety of everyone in the workplace (see 6 Steps to Achieve Occupational Health and Safety for some general advice on dealing with workplace risks). One way to mitigate these hazards and risks is by developing and implementing workplace safety programs. Most safety professionals, however, agree that the only way to ensure the success of safety programs is by increasing workers’ safety awareness. Being hyper vigilant has proven to be effective in minimizing the risks of workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses.

Here are four proven ways to effectively improve safety awareness among your employees:

  • Provide training and awareness courses: Ensure that safety is always on everyone’s mind by hosting ongoing safety training that is customized to the different departments of the organization (use these 7 Superb Psychological Tactics for EHS Training to get the most out of your sessions). Do not only train staff on operating procedures, but also incorporate the reasoning behind those procedures. If employees understand the reasoning, they may be more vigilant.
  • Offer incentives based on leading indicators of safety: Reward those employees who follow proper procedures, as well as those who consistently behave with safety in mind. Incentives may include time off or an award presented in front of their colleagues (for advice on doing incentives right, see Your Incentives Are Compromising Safety Culture).
  • Host a safety week: This will give workers the chance to focus on the importance of safety awareness and workplace safety. Invite speakers to give talks on various safety-related issues. Additionally, include activities that are both educational and enjoyable, such as a trivia game with safety-related questions.
  • Adopt a zero tolerance policy: Have a zero tolerance policy for workplace safety violations and unsafe behavior. This will not only increase safety awareness but also promote a culture of safety within the organization (learn the Essential Elements of Creating a Workplace Safety Culture). Ensure that all employees are aware that engaging in safety violations and unsafe behavior will result in some form of penalty. Additionally, put in place a way for employees to report any safety violations and take all reports seriously (for more on the importance of this, see Implementing a Safety Culture: Speak Up for Safety).

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Written by Eric Morris
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Eric Morris brings more than ten years of experience in safety management and risk mitigation systems. With a history working across multiple sectors, in particular the Oil & Gas and Manufacturing sector, Eric helps organizations design, implement, and establish successful safety management systems that bridge the gap between everyday behaviors, operational hazards, and organization-wide risk.


As the Health & Safety Practice lead at Intelex Technologies, Eric uncovers ways management systems couple with market leading software solutions to help organizations automate processes, trend results and uncover insights that will transform their business.   Full Bio

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