Ensuring workplace safety in an organization mostly depends upon the way in which safety is approached by its leadership. It often reflects on the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that the leadership and its employees share in relation to safety. OSHA holds the employer responsible for ensuring workplace safety.

To ensure workplace safety and cultivate a safety culture in an organization, the leadership needs to focus on creating a workplace that has the following:

• Leaders, managers, and employees together commit to a safe working environment.

• Leaders show the way by practicing “active caring” techniques.

• Positive workplace attitudes – from the top leadership to the newbie who has just joined.

• Involving all the members of the organization.

• Measurable health and safety improvement goals and parameters.

• Policies and standard operating procedures in place that can serve as reference tools.

• Continual training of personnel at all levels within the organization.

• Safety is an integral part of the performance appraisal process.

A strong workplace safety and health culture has the single greatest impact on injury reduction of any process.

Safety culture = groups that prioritize safety through consistent beliefs and patterns of behavior. Safety culture is not an event, rather it is a continuous process of training, communicating and rectifying unwanted behavior. Here’s a practical way to explain it: Just having a “safety first” banner hanging on your walls, occasional meetings or seminars on safety, adhoc lectures when things goes wrong – your organization doesn’t have a safety culture! True workplace safety can only exist when all the employees of an organization work as a team to ensure that: • Safety is top-of-mind priority issue for all managers and employees. • Any incident is quickly reported, and not brushed under the carpet. • Risks are anticipated in order to prevent accidents before they can occur.

So, how do you know you have a “workplace safety approach” in your organization? How do you begin to cultivate safety culture? That’s a good question to ask yourself that could potentially save you a lot of money in the long run. Do your employees (at every level) in the organization feel responsible for safety? Is there open communication about safety and health related issues? Is safety valued by the top leadership? Do the employees and management believe that safety helps boost morale and support profitability? Are the efforts to maintain safety organized or sporadic? Are there systems in place that ensure that everyone “walks the talk”?

After you have truthfully answered these questions, you would be in a better position to evaluate where your organization stands when it comes to workplace safety and safety culture as a whole – what you need to build upon and what you are doing well.