If you’re a responsible shop owner (and we bet you are), safety is already on your mind. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of OSHA inspections, and more importantly, you’d hate for a member of your team to get hurt. But the truth is, it might not be a priority for your employees. To really protect your staff, it’s important to move safety to the forefront for everyone in your shop. The following tips can help you do it.
Name Some Safety Leaders
As the manager of your company, it’s important for you to get behind any new programs, but don’t plan to do everything yourself. Is there someone on your team you trust to help ramp up interest in safety? Ideally, they’ll have a good mix of responsibility and enthusiasm.
Bring in Outside Help for an Assessment if Needed
An assessment is a great place to start when it comes to a safety overhaul. Requesting an inspection from an outside entity will help you get a clear picture of where you stand. For example, OSHA offers free on-site consultations that are separate from inspections (so no penalties are involved). They’ll look for things you haven’t thought of, and an inspection will help give you a roadmap of changes that need to be made.
Empower Everyone to Get Involved
Use the info from your assessment as a launchpad. Share it with the team and put together a plan (or have your safety leaders do it) to get everyone on the team involved in making the necessary changes. You’ll likely have a wide range of things to address, which is a great opportunity to get many different people involved. For example, your front desk personnel could be responsible for making sure outside walkways are free of snow and ice, and your welding tech can make sure aluminum fumes are handled properly.
Encourage Day-to-Day Safety Dialogue
There will be plenty of safety conversations as you make initial changes, but it’s important to keep those going even after you check things off the list. One way to do that is by setting up daily safety tasks for everyone to complete. They don’t have to be huge, but they do need to be (and feel) important.
More than anything, it’s vital to just keep the momentum of the changes going. Make it a point to recognize safe behavior (maybe even offer a monthly award), and keep it at the forefront in your conversations. You should also encourage people to point out and help address any safety problems they see. Listen to any concerns that are brought up, and make it a point to follow through on changes.
Incorporate Safety Into Initial Training
When you bring in new team members, make sure they get on board with the safety initiatives, too. Hire people who you think will take it seriously, and make safety a prominent part of their training. When you get existing and new employees on the same page, you’ll be on your way to running a shop where safety is a part of the culture, and that can bring big benefits.
For starters, you’ll save money on injuries and worker absence, but the advantages don’t stop there. Concentrating on safety demonstrates that you care about your staff, which will increase loyalty, boost retention and help attract new employees. All that leads to an even better shop.