Not all consequences are bad, even when we are talking about injuries.
Yes, it is true that every injury in a manufacturing environment adds a whopping $15,000 to the premium, on average, and it is also true that every injury has the potential to explode into a nightmare of litigation. However, every injury also provides an opportunity to prosper.
Since the vast majority of injuries are avoidable, we know that the decisions workers make determine the company’s injury record. The way employers choose to influence those decisions is a key to their safety culture. One of the most important ways to influence behavior is to show the consequences of unsafe or careless behavior.
Our advice is to discuss every injury. Bring injuries out in the open. By discussing every injury in front of the entire work force, the employer accomplishes several things:
- He lets everyone know that unsafe behavior won’t happen in a vacuum.
- By discussing, and in some cases recreating how the injury occurred, the employer turns it into a teaching lesson. The reality that an injury occurred makes that discussion more meaningful than a “what if” scenario.
- By soliciting answers to the question, “How could this have been prevented?”, the employer creates the opportunity for discussion and engagement. Engagement is one of the most important components to a strong safety culture.
- By not ever mentioning the name of the injured worker, the employer demonstrates integrity.
So don’t hide your facilities injuries – bring them out into the open where employees can learn from them.
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.