Safety: It’s Not About the Chances You Take, But the Decisions You Make, Part 2
In this three-part series, Safety Speaker Mike Hourigan will be examining everyday decisions that affect workplace safety.
Last time, we got into how managers often face risky decisions when it comes to workplace safety. There’s concerns not just for very physical jobs and complying with laws as well as procedures, but also in creating and fostering a culture that values employee safety. Are your decisions creating a culture that encourages employees to speak up if they feel threatened or that harassment is persistent? What about actions being taken to address communication breakdowns that can quickly escalate to harm done if left unchecked?
It’s easy enough to consider meeting the bare minimum for a safe workplace as just complying with physical safety regulations (opposed to skimping on them with the temptation or pressure to save money.) But decision-making needs to entail both adopting an outlook and culture that prioritizes safety through communication, listening, and enabling employees to have better people skills so that no one feels like they’re being put in harm’s way at work.
Let’s face it: we’ve somehow reached this point where people simply don’t know how to talk to one another. What seems like a friendly conversation or gentle teasing to one person can actually be perceived as a threat to another employee’s safety, especially if there’s a power imbalance in roles and responsibilities. This kind of antagonistic environment can lead to poor performance and higher employee turnover rates. While employees ultimately make their own choices based on personal needs, this hostile environment that demonstrates their safety and inclusion isn’t being prioritized will lead to more two weeks’ notices. The last thing you want is to make decisions that will give candidates and current employees the impression that their welfare will be blatantly disregarded.
It’s impossible for managers to mitigate every single risk that comes with human interaction. But by taking the reins on fostering a safety culture, that mitigation becomes a lot easier.
In case you missed Part 1 and 3 of this series:
Mike Hourigan is a workplace safety speaker who shares his ideas on creating safer workplace environment all over the country.
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