Creating a Culture of Safety

In a high-hazard industry like construction, workplace safety is an ongoing concern. Every company wants to achieve zero injury status and every employee wants to return home safely to their families everyday. Most construction companies likely already have some form of a safety program in place but a program alone is often not enough. To be truly effective, safety must become embedded into the very culture of a company.

Creating a true culture of safety is easier said than done but by implementing the processes and strategies set forth by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), construction companies can build the foundation for a successful safety initiative.

Listed below, are six of OSHA’s tactics for developing and maintaining a strong culture of safety:

  1. Support from Management. Building a culture of safety is impossible without the backing of senior management. With support from leadership, the company as a whole will be much more likely to adopt any safety initiatives that are set forth.
  2. Have a Vision. As with most things in business, without clear plans, goals, and policies, new initiatives rarely last long enough for any real momentum to take place. A vision provides the team with some direction to guide them through initial efforts and implementations.
  3. Self-assessment. It’s important to take inventory of where your company is starting from so you can create realistic goals and track results based on the initial benchmark.
  4. For a safety culture to be successful, employees at all levels of the organization must be involved and take responsibility for their part in keeping job sites safe.
  5. Ongoing Feedback. Regularly communicating results to the entire team is a great way to sustain efforts by providing updates that can drive motivation and keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
  6. Celebrate Success. Recognizing and rewarding success helps to further incentivize employees, maintain enthusiasm around safety initiatives, and acknowledge the progress that is being made.

It’s important to keep in mind that creating a safety culture takes time, it does not happen overnight. Rather, it is the culmination of months and sometimes several years of implementations and consistent communication that create a lasting and effective company-wide culture.