While every worker undoubtedly wants to make it home safely at the end of their shift, on a day-to-day basis, it can often appear that ensuring safety is a low priority among staff.

Although getting the safety message across can indeed be difficult, before you blame your employees, there are a few factors that need to be considered.

In many cases, the attitude and conduct of workers are the products of their environment, meaning senior employees also play an integral role in the development of staff behaviours.

According to EML Mutual Benefits Partnership Manager Kirsty Smith, there are a number of key issues that employers need to look at to ensure staff are receiving the right message.

“For example, do you actually focus on numbers and meeting targets over the welfare and safety of your employees?

“Just stating that safety is a priority is not enough, it needs to be reflected in the actions of managers and the way the whole business is carried out,” says Ms Smith.

Other issues might include:

  • Staff can see that outlined goals are important to the organisation but the perceived benefit to them doesn’t feel worth the hassle – can you streamline your health & safety system to make reporting hazards and implementing risk controls easier?
  • Workers don’t feel like their contribution is valued – have you considered the ideas and opinions of your employees before making decisions that will directly impact their work?
  • The work environment might be tense and unpleasant – are employees comfortable approaching you with an issue or do they fear that they will be blamed or punished for speaking out?
  • Employees don’t feel confident that you will do anything – do you take the time to listen to their concerns or ideas and implement actions as soon as possible when issues are identified?  
“Consultation and open communication are your two best friends in improving your work safety culture,” says Ms Smith.

“Valuing the feedback you receive and taking action to promote safety will put you in the best possible position to reduce the risk of injury and keeping your workforce productive and safe.”