Highly Engaged Workers: The Key to Better Safety Management
Making the workplace safe is not just the responsibility of the employer but the employee as well. ISO 45001,Section 5.4 requires businesses to facilitate worker participation and consultation at every level in the development, planning, implementation, evaluation, and actions for improving workplace health and safety management system.
This is echoed by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which also lays stress on worker participation in safety and health management to make it more effective. The two key reasons for this are:
- The success or failure of the health and safety program impacts workers.
- They are on the ground and aware of the potential hazards associated with their jobs. They can provide insights that will improve the success of safety management programs and initiatives.
The workers refer to not only full-time employees but also contractors, subcontractors, temporary staffing agencies, and worker representative bodies.
7 Ways Companies Can Improve Worker Engagement
Apart from regulatory requirements, improved worker engagement also benefits employers by increasing productivity, proactive participation, retention, and compliance. However, despite the mutual benefits to employers and workers, workers may hesitate to be proactive in contributing to safety management due to fear of retribution and the absence of a nurturing culture. Therefore, it falls on the employers to create the right environment to encourage workers to be more engaged and proactively make suggestions and recommendations for improving safety management.
OSHA recommends the following:
- ‘Real’ Worker Participation: Employers must empower workers with the time and resources to participate in the program. Positive reinforcement by acknowledging contributions and safe behaviors will encourage them and their co-workers to be more proactive. Safety leaders and top managers must also be approachable for workers to share their views and suggestions.
- ‘Intuitive & Seamless’ Near-Miss/Incident Reporting: Workers are the first to know when there is a safety and health concern or if there is a shortcoming in the safety program. They can detect emerging hazards and unsafe conditions and identify near misses and lapses in safety behaviors. They must be provided with tools to report the incidents without fear of retribution, recommend corrective and preventive measures, and track and report progress.
- ‘Make it Easy’ to Collaborate and Share H&S Information: The workers must be made aware of the organization’s safety and health policy, SOPs, and other relevant rules and regulations to help them align with the safety goals and conform better. Share information on hazards and control measures, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), injury and illness data based on permission, other performance details of safety parameters, and job hazard analysis insights to help them be prepared. They must also be provided with relevant training, where needed, to ensure they conform to safety requirements.
- ‘Seeking Feedback’ From Workers: Leverage worker experience to gather insights and improve the safety management program design and implementation to determine workplace hazards, increase the sense of worker ownership among workers, facilitate their better understanding of the program, and ensure its sustenance over time.
- ‘Removing’ Participation Barriers: Workers must feel assured of the organization’s commitment to their safety and health. Business and safety leaders must be seen to act on the workers’ suggestions, respond to reports, and ensure the implementation of controls and measures to reduce the risk of safety incidents. They must lead from the front in adhering to SOPs and demonstrate their commitment, which will encourage the workers to take it seriously and comply.
- Measuring Impact with the ‘Power of Data’: To ensure that worker engagement is happening as expected and to assess the impact, safety leaders must also identify key performance indicators. This will help identify any lapses and correct them immediately to minimize risks and damage. Measuring leading and lagging indicators will help get a historical perspective of the effectiveness of the safety management program as well as predict future events to implement appropriate controls. Surveys can be conducted to elicit their views on the robustness of the health and safety program in the workplace. The number of training programs attended by the workers is another measure to assess the effectiveness.
- Performing Safety Audits, ‘Powered by Automation’: It is important to conduct inspections and audits of the work site. This should include reviewing the work conditions as well as interviewing the workers. Using the right EHS solution with world-class audit and inspection management software will really help here.
ComplianceQuest’s SafetyQuest: Designed for Engaged, Proactive Worker Involvement
ComplianceQuest’s cloud-based EHS Solution is built on Salesforce and provides businesses with a ready-made solution to improve compliance as well as engage workers to create a culture of safety. MyCQ is a personalized user interface from ComplianceQuest that allows infrequent/casual users to access CQ and perform any assigned actions such as training, approvals, or sign-offs, access documents and quickly enter reports such as complaints, incidents, or change requests from wherever they are.
Its features enable the following:
- Incident Reporting System: Workers can report incidents as they unfold with audio and video as supporting evidence. This can help safety leaders respond quickly to contain the damage and ensure worker and workplace safety.
- Safety Observations: Workers can report near misses, unsafe conditions, unsafe behaviors, and more to help identify hazards and put in controls to prevent events from happening.
- Inspections and Audits: Employers can schedule and conduct internal and external audits, interview workers to seek their input, and use the data gathered for meaningful decisions and continuous improvement of safety practices.
- Document: Manage reports, records, and other documents related to safety policies, SOPs, incidents, and safety observations in a centralized location and provide permission-based access for further action and demonstrate compliance.
- Training: Based on gaps identified, provide training to workers to improve safe behavior, increase reporting and observations, and more worker participation.
- Risk Management: Rank the hazards and risks based on frequency and impact to address critical issues in a timely manner and make the workplace safer.
To know more about ComplianceQuest safety management and how it can help with improved worker engagement, request a demo here: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/ehs/
For a demo of MyCQ, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/demo-video/mycq-personalized-employee-portal/