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How to Maintain an Excellent Safety Culture
By Jerod Gandy, Safety Manager, Tape Craft Corporation, Oxford, Alabama
Maintaining a Culture of Safety Awareness Has its Rewards
At Tape Craft Corporation, the safety of our employees is very important to us. Tape Craft’s management and employees work tirelessly to maintain a culture of safety awareness and looking out for each other! Having an excellent safety culture has its rewards; from getting to come to work in a safe environment that you helped create to the excitement of hitting that next safety milestone. Along the way, Tape Craft has received numerous awards from the Alabama Department of Labor, received perfect scores on several audits and been recognized as a safety leader within the company just to name a few.
Continuous Improvement is Crucial to Maintaining a Culture of Safety Awareness
Maintaining an excellent safety record is not as simple as it sounds. There are many elements that go into a successful safety program. These elements have to be more than just “maintained,” they have to be improved upon and then improved upon some more. Continuous improvement is critical to an excellent safety record. One way to continuously improve is to talk to the employees out on the floor since they have the firsthand knowledge about the machines and processes and possibly suggestions on how to improve safety, efficiency and quality. Continuous improvement can also come in the form of investigating all near misses and first-aid incidents as diligently as you would a lost time accident. The same circumstances surrounding this near miss might lead to an accident if not addressed. Another part of continuous improvement is also staying up to date with the latest regulations, policies and equipment available. A thorough inspection program will also point out areas that could be improved upon.
Communication is Key to Maintaining a Culture of Safety Awareness
It takes effort from all levels of the organization to keep a safety program successful. Effective communication is the way to do this. There is no better way to show employees that you are concerned with their safety than by talking to them about safety. This could be as simple as a thank you when you walk by someone performing a task the safest way or wearing the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Communicating with each other about safety is something that should be done more than just once a week in a safety meeting or once a month in a safety committee meeting. When communicating about safety don’t forget to celebrate and communicate successes and achievements which you can do by announcing these in your company newsletter, having a company event to reward employees for working safely or many others. Celebrations can generate the level of excitement needed to keep people focused on safety day in and day out!
Top Management Support is Essential for Maintaining a Culture of Safety Awareness
Any company or organization seeking to improve their safety program should first gain top management support and buy-in to the safety program, then communicate effectively about safety on a frequent and regular basis throughout all levels of the organization and finally not get complacent and constantly look for ways to continuously improve. One of the fundamental aspects of the Safety and Health Management System at Tape Craft Corporation is continuous improvement. When it comes to safety you can’t have “too much of a good thing!”