Creating a safe workplace isn’t just about training lower-level workers to identify safety hazards and enabling them to take action to mitigate them. A more preferable and effective approach involves creating a culture of safety – and that begins at the top of the organization.
It’s critical that management participate in safety training alongside employees. Here are three reasons why.
It Minimizes "Us Versus Them" Mentality
This is one of the most important benefits of including management in safety training.
Management's participation in training emphasizes that safety is a priority for everyone in the organization, no matter their level. It can also help improve communication and accountability between management and employees, which has been shown to have a positive impact on job site safety (read more about Why Creating a Safety Culture is Better Than Relying on Compliance).
It Keeps Everyone on the Same Page
It’s a common complaint from many workers: management just
doesn’t "get it." Having managers and employees undergo the same safety training at the same time helps mitigate that issue, since management will be able to better understand the safety hazards and risks their workers are facing (and how best to deal with them). You might even notice that employee morale gets a boost, too (for related reading, see How to Get Employees and Management On Board With Safety
It Allows Management to Gauge Workers’ Safety Knowledge
Finally, integrating managers into safety training enables them to better understand where their employees are in terms of creating a safe workplace and handling hazards. How much do they understand? Is there a particular area that needs more focus?
Participation in safety training also gives managers a clear indication of which employees might have the potential to take on larger safety roles in the organization, like safety supervisor. It also makes them aware of who might need additional training or some one-on-one attention while on the job.
Keep It Going
Of course, including management in safety training isn’t a one-time thing. In order to create a stronger safety culture, management must demonstrate continuous involvement and commitment. That means taking part in follow-up sessions and refresher training, and having an open-door policy that encourages employees to communicate concerns or ideas about how to make the workplace safer.