As safety professionals, we know that engaging workers in the company's safety program is the key to minimizing injuries. But how do we accomplish this?
Recent surveys have revealed, with alarming consistency, that the majority of American workers in manufacturing type jobs are disengaged.
It's easy to understand how this happens, since many of the jobs involve repetition and don't require a great deal of decision-making once the requirements of the job have been understood. The challenge of any safety manager – or any responsible party – is to find a way to convince workers that safety is their highest priority, and that their family depends on them.
We know that engaging workers is essential, and yet we see very few companies with a successful strategy to accomplish this. Let me offer a radically different method. It involves changing the entire dynamic of the monthly safety meeting.
We all know that most safety meetings tend to be boring, and offer more of the same training that has been detailed 100 times, so why offer more of the same?
Instead, we change the safety meetings dramatically, beginning with a different objective: entertain rather than lecture. We use humor as a vehicle to get workers involved. We make the safety meeting their meeting, encourage participation, have fun with them and show them how much we appreciate their efforts by entertaining them.
The message that gets sent when you hold a meeting like this is that you care about them, and you value them. Conveying those messages does more to encourage safe behavior then another boring, didactic, safety meeting.
Boost participation and you make safety more personal. Make the meetings more enjoyable and you boost morale.
About the author: Joe Stevens founded Bridge Safety Consultants in 2003 to provide companies and organizations with a resource to help them strengthen their safety culture. The company conducts a safety culture audit, then designs and manages safety recognition and rewards program, with bilingual monthly safety meetings. Stevens can be contacted at: [email protected]. To see a typical meeting in action, visit the Bridge Safety Consultants Web site.