“Am I comfortable with the values and practices of my company, and do they align with those I want to live by?” This is an ethical question Jozef Opdeweegh often directs to those in leadership positions and address on his blog and recent book, Fair Value: Reflections on Good Business.
So, what kind of leader are you? Do those in your employ consider you a strategic and transformational trailblazer who ensures a safe, injury-free environment? While work safety should be everyone’s obligation, leaders of the most successful companies hold employee wellbeing in high regard and, therefore, are proactively committed to safety.
A safe work environment makes good business sense because competent, motivated, and secure employees are more productive, which is ideal for a company’s bottom line. Here’s how you can fulfill your moral obligation as a safety leader as you navigate your path to an ethical career:
Have a Vision of Safety Excellence
This can be anything from ensuring compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to inspecting worksites for potential hazards or establishing safety protocols to mitigate workplace accidents. Likewise, craft your vision for your company-wide health and safety statement. Email it to employees and post it on workplace news boards, not forgetting to periodically update the company’s safety program.
Walk the Talk
You cannot preach water and drink wine. Lead by example. Establishing effective safety policies and procedures does not begin and end with regulations. It takes all-around collaboration. This means that everyone from top executives and middle management needs to comply with all internal and regulatory safety requirements and policies. Therefore, whenever possible, schedule bi-monthly training to ensure:
- New or existing safety policies are understood
- Safety policies make sense to all departmental employees
- The safety manual uses the correct terminologies (according to OSHA)
Make Safety a Core Value
Company core values have far-reaching consequences. When implemented correctly, they make the most impact on personnel, shareholders, and customers. That said, you can lead by example, but if your company’s safety values do not make sense to your team, it could spell trouble for your firm.
- According to Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, “Companies should make safety values committable.” It sends a stern message that actionable measures will be taken against those who don’t comply with company safety protocols.
- Seek employee feedback to determine if the active protocols effectively foster overall safety and wellness.
Make Follow-Ups and Communicate All Safety Incidents
Safety managers must create an open culture where workplace accidents and safety concerns are reported promptly. By following up and communicating every safety matter brought to their attention positively, you send a strong message that they are serious about workplace safety and incident prevention.
Reinforce a Positive Safety Culture
A notable way to ensure ongoing safety excellence and that it’s incorporated into the very fabric of your company is by positive reinforcement. Recognizing an employee’s contribution to the success of the safety culture ensures safety remains a priority for every employee. When a leader is proactively engaged in shaping a company’s corporate culture, they enhance the safety performance and cause a significant decline in the firm’s loss experience.
Now that you know the tenets of a great safety leader, ask yourself, “What values do you instill on those around you, and most importantly, are your values open to fresh ideas?”