It’s amazing to think that our company has been accident-free for more than four years now. We’re very proud that each member of our team has gone this long without a lost-time accident or injury. Even more proud, that as a supply chain company who handles millions of pounds of freight each week we have been able to achieve this milestone. The average transportation and warehousing company expects almost 4 incidents per year. By posting zeroes in the lost time column, we have saved our customers time, money and worry because a safe team means safe freight. But enough bragging – at least in this post – we want to share some ideas on how to build a culture centered on safety.
What We Learned
Over the last 4 years, we have learned a few key lessons on how to improve workplace safety. These concepts aren’t exclusive to the transportation and logistics industries. Adoption will ensure staff in all sectors are safer and better prepared for the daily grind. A focused approach to safety will help reduce the risk of a lost-time accident.
Safety Committee and Communication
We established a safety committee made up of employees from each department and team. All levels of seniority – from executive to hourly employee – participate in scheduled meetings to discuss the current state of safety. At each event, the group tackles pending improvement projects, and each has time to propose future enhancements to protocol. Gathering in a neutral arena provides everyone with an equal opportunity to submit ideas that are important to their particular job function. Great ideas can come from anywhere. By listening to the people doing the work our safety plan has dramatically improved.
Next, consistent communication is a significant key to a successful safety plan. As best practices for workplace safety are developed, each safety committee member carries the message to their teams. Centralizing the planning helps build a cohesive message which is easy for the entire team to understand.
No Problem Is Too Small
Equally important, our safety leaders believe that the smallest ideas and improvements are just as important as big ideas. With forklifts, trucks, and foot traffic around the office, logistics terminals are bustling with activity. Warehouses present plenty of significant opportunities for a lost-time accident or injury to any member of the staff. Eliminating small threats will clear the way for larger projects.
With this in mind, you can start small by creating efficient evacuation routes and installing mirrors to help warehouse traffic. Assign staff to ensure Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) stations are stocked and up to code and schedule routine maintenance of fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems. Even making sure your time clocks are in safe zones can be a significant boost to morale and safety consciousness.
Taking the time to focus on little changes is an easy way to demonstrate a tangible difference to the whole staff. Knowing the team is listening and is willing to find solutions is a great way to build support for workplace safety. Establishing a few key champions for the cause will help foster a culture dedicated to safety.
Bringing Change Through Action
Finally, instilling a culture of proactiveness is a must for proper workplace safety. We’ve found that by building a “don’t wait for someone else to do it” attitude, problems are eliminated before they come to fruition. Our team is continuously scanning for potential causes of a lost-time accident so we can take action and change quickly. Encourage your staff to be vigilant and bring issues to the attention of management. If you have a solid plan for change in place, you’ll be able to prove that your listening quickly and efficiently. This proactive behavior will promote engagement in the future.
Through better workplace safety you’ll enjoy huge savings on insurance and your staff will be happier. No one wants to work in a disengaged and unsafe warehouse, office, or job site.
Workplace safety isn’t everyone’s favorite topic. Traditionally, it has been a pretty dull theme – covered at dry annual meetings. By getting your entire staff involved, you can create buzz around the concept of safety. Build a culture centered around keeping your workers safe.
Our job isn’t done. A well-maintained safety plan is very much like a healthy supply chain. Constant and consistent assessment and upgrade is vital to its success.
We’d love to hear how your company succeeds at practicing workplace safety. Comment below or head over to the discussion on our LinkedIn Page