All of us at one time or another has felt invincible. We feel that we can "get away" with doing something that we know is something dangerous and often times do. We humans like to believe that accidents only happen to other people. Psychologically, we reason that we have better skills than all of those other people that have bad things happened to them. Because of this, keeping employees interested in their own safety is often times a difficult task.
While safety precautions can and should be a mandatory part of any work environment, many employees are uninterested in mandatory training meetings, and generally do not appreciate the seriousness of using correct safety procedures. Although training is a necessity, it is virtually impossible to make every employee use proper safety procedures all of the time. So how do you get your employees to take safety seriously?
Safety needs to go beyond the training session and into the work environment. Safety is the responsibility of every person in the work environment, so make it everyone's job to ensure the safety of everyone and keep it fun and challenging. Create a contest. Divide employees into teams, educate them on various safety violations to watch for and then devise a method for them to gain points when they catch another team not adhering to your safety rules. The team that is caught using unsafe procedures will in turn lose points. This contest must have a time limit and a good reward for the winning team.
The most important points to understand about this method or something similar are this:
- Keep the contest fun, not a form of punishment or loss of job security.
- Safety violations that pose a serious threat of injury must be dealt with promptly and should not be a part of the contest.
- The purpose of this contest is to make everyone more aware of their own safety habits in addition to the safety of their surroundings.
- Make the prize something that encourages participation.
- The improvement in safety awareness and reduced injuries should help offset the cost of the prize.
Encouraging every employee to keep an eye out for unsafe conditions and rewarding them for their vigilance can be much more effective than using a method of punishment for general safety violations.