How can performance reviews be used as part of safety culture and maintaining a safe work environment?
By making sure each employee's safety responsibilities are embedded within their job descriptions, and a key component of performance reviews, you are making safety a priority in the workplace and creating a solid foundation for establishing a positive safety culture.
Performance reviews can be an essential tool when developing your organization's safety culture and maintaining a safe work environment. Matters of safety should be a primary part of the performance review process, especially in a workplace where safety practices are critical to operations.
Reviews are typically provided to a worker by their supervisor annually, outlining job duties, areas for improvement, and recognizing achievements. At the same time, the importance of safety in the workplace cannot wait for the annual performance review for discussion. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that each member of the team is aware of their safety responsibilities in the workplace. Best-practice performance management also requires regular and frequent conversations about safety and other job duties between workers and their supervisors.
(Learn more in How to Build a Sustainable Safety Culture.)
The language and phrases that supervisors use in performance appraisals or as part of everyday coaching can be used to motivate employees to support a safe working environment and enhance your company's safety program. Recognize employees who meet or exceed safety expectations both in their formal evaluations and through casual discussions whenever the opportunity presents itself. It is also essential to provide feedback and encouragement to those workers who need improvement in their safety practices. In these cases where improvement is necessary, make sure that you provide specific feedback citing instances where the employee's safety practices were not adequate. Offer examples of best practices and instructions as to how to do things correctly.
Informal and formal performance evaluations should reference the employee's performance regarding the following:
- Adherence to specific safety practices
- Ability to check the workplace for safety issues, including unsafe conditions and workplace hazards
- Reporting of illness or workplace injury
- Knowledge of the company's safety program
- Proper use of safety equipment
Given the importance of safety in the workplace, supervisors that provide formal performance reviews or daily coaching need to understand the health and safety responsibilities of each worker, their team, and the company's overall safety program. By making sure each employee's duties related to safety are embedded within their job descriptions, as well as a key component of performance reviews, you are making safety a priority in the workplace and creating a solid foundation for establishing a positive safety culture.
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