WORK SAFE: 3 Ways to Inspire Safe Work Habits
There's no way to police the safety of every worker on your jobsite 100% of the time. That's why it's important to actively inspire, educate, and coach workers on the importance of safety. We know this isn't easy work and nothing happens overnight, but if you can start by reaching at least one worker, you’ve made a difference.
Here are some key strategies to keep in mind when inspiring safe work habits.
1. Get Workers to Perceive Hazards as Dangerous
When referencing work hazards, there must be respect for the fact that they can cause serious injury or death. Sometimes, when a person has been working around something for an extended period of time, complacency sets in and they can forget about how dangerous it can be. This complacency can lead to workers taking unnecessary risks that they might not even be aware of. There should be a healthy paranoia when it comes to hazards on the jobsite. Never approach them lightheartedly.
2. Be the Example
The quickest way to undermine your efforts to make safety a priority on your jobsite is to have your safety supervisor strutting around without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or engaging in an unsafe activity. Everything you ever said will get thrown out the window, even if it's correct. Double-check with OSHA to ensure you're using the right PPE for the job. Avoiding double standards will also help improve how you're perceived on the jobsite. Don't let anyone onto your jobsite without the proper adherence to safety, regardless of who they are. Nobody outranks safety. Remember, actions speak louder than words and consistency will help you earn respect.
3. Know Your People
Don’t talk at the people you want to inspire, talk with them. Have a conversation and listen to what they have to say. Everybody is different. It might seem like everyone should have the same reasons for being safe but they don’t. You have to find out what motivates people. If you're a leader, you have to understand the fears, desires, and dreams of the people you lead. This builds trust. At the end of the day, that trust is why they will listen to you and follow your example.
Remember, it isn’t always about the numbers. Building trust doesn't happen overnight and it isn’t something you can force. Effective change is progressive and if you stay the course and do it right, you will make a difference.