Are you an employer with a false sense of security by not examining potential areas of risk? Prevent workplace incidents by shifting your focus to risk-management rather than safety culture which focuses only on compliance. By identifying strategies to reduce incidents in the workplace you are “getting real”.
Some manufacturers have a false sense of security by complying with safety checklists, rule and regulations, instead of taking a good, hard look into their “real” areas of risk. A company’s ‘incident-free’ track record can create a false presumption of safety, which, more often than not, is counterproductive to preventing future incidents.
Communication is a critical component of risk-competency, or risk management. Organizations must create an inclusive, interconnected culture – from company executives to the plant floor – to include everyone in identifying, assessing and avoiding risk.
The following are four effective ways to create a risk-competent culture and manage risk.
1. Safety is everyone’s job. It’s important that everyone in the workplace feels empowered and committed to creating a safe workplace. This means creating an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable reporting potential safety problems and the levels of risk they may be taking, and openly discussing near-miss incidents.
2. Safety is as important as performance. Too often, workers feel pressured to cut corners to meet performance quotas. Besides the tremendous personal and property losses that incidents cause, they also severely impact a company’s reputation and bottom line. Management should make it clear that safety is equally important as production and quality, and that understanding and minimizing the risks associated with production are an expected part of everyone’s job.
3. Create a shared definition of risk. Different people have different risk tolerances and perceptions of safe operations. Each organization needs to define its own risk tolerance, and ensure that it is shared and understood organization-wide by bringing individuals across departments together to develop this shared understanding.
4. Measure what is, not what should be. Instead of measuring risk based on standard work procedures, focus on actual day-to-day tasks, which may deviate from standard processes. Find the gaps in work as “it should be” versus work as “it really is” to identify hidden risks. Get real!
Collect as much data as you can on what’s really going on in your organization, including identifying safety gaps and determining what you need to do to remedy them. In-depth analyses will give an accurate picture. Also consider the severity of incidents, e.g. while safety incidents and “recordable” incident statistics may be decreasing, the number of workplace fatalities continue to grow each year.
Contact Workplace Safety Group for getting real help with your health and safety program. Our OH&S Advice On-Call line is a free service offered to companies and organizations with limited OH&S resource support. By placing a call (Toll Free 1-866-347-7707), you will be connected, to the Specialist/Senior Consultant best qualified to assist you.