Safety Buy-In

Last updated: May 13, 2019

What Does Safety Buy-In Mean?

Safety buy-in refers to workers accepting workplace safety rules and values as being intrinsically worthwhile. This means that interested parties within a workplace agree with the goals and objectives of a safety system.

Buy-in requires that employees value safety principles in-and-of themselves, separately from the regulations and rules that enforce them. Therefore, employees who have safety buy-in can be said to have invested in safety behaviors as a part of their workplace ideology.

OSHA encourages safety buy-in and has programs in place designed to encourage firms to create safety buy-in within their workforce.

Safeopedia Explains Safety Buy-In

Safety buy-in is often associated with empowering workers and involving them as active participants in creating or executing workplace safety policies or procedures. It necessarily involves a cooperative attitude towards safety due to the need for employees to invest in the same common set of workplace safety principles. As such, stakeholder engagement with the workplace safety system is necessary to achieve continuing stakeholder buy-in to the system.

Workers who have bought into safety principles view them as important separately from the desire to avoid punishment due to violations of workplace rules or government safety standards. Workplaces with safety buy-in will implement safety routines and guidelines based around an effort to ensure workplace health and safety rather than simply implementing safety rules based on the minimum acceptable regulatory standard. In addition to accepting the importance of safety guidelines for health and safety reasons, firms and their workers may buy-in to safety principles because they are seen as being integral to workplace productivity.

In 2016, OSHA issued recommended principles for workplace safety that increased the agency’s emphasis on safety buy-in. OSHA administrator David Michaels commented on this increase in focus, saying that “without [employee] buy-in” a workplace safety system “doesn’t work.” OSHA programs that encourage safety buy-in include the Voluntary Protection Program and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.


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