Three Major Safety Cultures That You Can Use in Your Workplace
Every safety professional or anyone assigned the role of safety in the workplace should focus on keeping the workers safe and keeping the company compliant. There are quite some approaches that can be used to achieve this, but they can be categorised into three groups: Safety-First, Compliance-First, and Cost-First safety cultures. Read on to understand what each approach means and their effectiveness in establishing and maintaining safety culture in your workplace.
This approach is what most safety officers and safety-oriented companies like to emphasize. They believe that safety should come before anything else, regardless of the costs to be incurred. However, this may hardly be the case since almost every business is there to make profits. Investing in budget-busting methods could mean no profits, which translates to no work and no jobs. To avoid compromising the safety and well-being of the employees, safety officers and committees should look for methods that meet the safety requirements and at the same time fall within the budget.
Perhaps you must have seen or worked with safety officers who insist on doing things by the book. This person can also be you. While doing things by the book can be a good thing, more so when dealing with safety in your workplace, the rules and regulations can sometimes be vague. This can be because rules are subject to change for different reasons such as the introduction of new technologies and interpretation errors.
Also, some regulations haven't been updated for years. This makes the Compliance-First approach not the safest option to go for. Most work situations are not ideal and could require some creativity not found in “the books.” In such situations, safety professionals and committees may need to come up with something never thought of before, provided it keeps the workers safe and complies with the letter of the law.
Usually, for most safety professionals, cost is never the first factor to consider. The Cost-First perspective is often evident when someone in the production department is put in charge of safety. Perhaps to them, the idea of getting the job done and done on time comes naturally, as opposed to whether the method is safe for the workers or not. Safety-First may not be a perspective they were trained to approach from. They work by the bottom line. For instance, if a safety product is to be purchased, they may purchase an inferior product simply because it costs less.
In this approach, the best solution will hardly be chosen if it’s not the cheapest solution. It’s the polar opposite of the Safety-First perspective and can be a dangerous approach. When purchasing safety products, you need to also consider the quality of the product. CE marked fabrications, for instance, are products designed and constructed as per the relevant health and safety directives, which means they’ve been tested and approved for use.
The Bottom Line
The best perspective to use in your workplace is a combination of the three cultures. Safety professionals and anyone assigned the responsibility of workplace safety should look to find methods that embrace safety, achieve compliance, don’t compromise the quality of the work, and don’t cause huge dents on company finances. This doesn’t mean compromising the safety of workers, but rather on the methods applied to keep the workers safe.