12 ways to promote a positive safety culture in your workplace
By Joanna Weekes
A recent study by Safe Work Australia has highlighted the attitudes of Australian workers towards risk-taking and rule-breaking in particular industries.
The report indicates a laid-back attitude towards safety in some of the more high-risk industries, including construction, mining and transport.
Alarmingly, workers in the transport, postal and warehousing industry reported a need to regularly break safety rules in order to meet tight deadlines.
If you operate in a high-risk industry, ensure that you don’t set unrealistic deadlines that could place undue pressure on workers to forgo health and safety rules.
Many also revealed they felt pressure from managers and co-workers to break or ignore safety rules. This indicates a negative safety culture in many high-risk industries, where workers are encouraged or expected to break rules in order to complete tasks on time.
Take these steps to promote a positive safety culture in your workplace:
- Conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment;
- Thoroughly investigate all incidents and near misses, and examine the root cause;
- Communicate all changes in equipment and work processes to workers;
- Encourage workers to report health and safety concerns;
- Respond promptly to all health and safety issues you become aware of;
- Measure and support any changes required;
- Implement positive changes in values and attitudes towards workplace health and safety;
- Develop a safety leadership culture at all levels of the business and ensure all leaders of the business uphold the principles of a positive safety culture;
- Make health and safety of primary importance when inducting new workers into the workplace, e.g. include the health and safety policy in induction material;
- Make health and safety part of all workplace communications;
- Install a safety noticeboard to clearly communicate the latest safety information; and
- Promote and attend safety training sessions.
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