Health and Safety in work, in whatever industry, is a big deal. It can be life and death for some workers, and it really is the bread and butter of any business. A positive health and safety culture can have a huge impact on your workers (it increased buy-in, motivation, and productivity), and it can also have a massive impact on your business’s bottom line. Consumers, for example, will look upon your business kindlier if you have a good record and will be more likely to spend their hard-earned money with you. The importance of health and safety is clear then, and below we will outline some ways in which you can motivate your employees to make health and safety central to their practice.
First, knowledge is power
If your employees don’t know your health and safety policies, they cannot stick to them. One source found that 58% of all workers do not know the basic health and safety rules and that 33% of workers thought their company did not have any rules in place. With their sample being a wide variety of industries, this is worrying: if workers do not know the basic rules that they need to stick by, how can businesses be safe. Take heed from this and do what’s right. Some strategies to make employees more aware of policies include holding regular health and safety meetings, publicize the around your workplace effectively, and to use e-learning to spread the messages. Doing these things will surely motivate your employees to be more effective health and safety practitioners.
Give rewards for following health and safety guidelines
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive believe that, if you give rewards to those who do it well, health and safety will be a top priority in your workplace. For the HSE, this method will reinforce positive health and safety behavior and will make sure other employees follow suit. Some methods that could be used include;
- Prizes for individuals or groups
- Moral incentive scheme – e.g. giving a small amount to charity for each safe behavior observed
- Give work time back as a prize – e.g. allow staff to leave early on a Friday
As a business person, you will undoubtedly want to grow your businesses profit margins to do better against KPIs and to increase consumer confidence. For David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Effective Software, there is one effective way to do this: though more effective health and safety policies.
As an employer, employees’ attitudes about safety change when you involve them in the discussion about health and safety and allowing them to participate in developing policies. This is useful for many reasons. first, it will allow you to find out what is important to your employees in terms of safety in your workplace. As well as this, it will increase buy-in: motivating your employee to be more safety conscious by letting them know that you care about their input and want to act upon their safety concerns because you care about them.
Act swiftly on any infractions
If your employees think you don’t care about health and safety, they will not care either. Thus, to motivate your employees, you need to act upon any health and safety infraction. This will motivate your employees in two ways. First, it will show your employees you care, and will thus encourage them to take pride in their health and safety practices. Second, acting on the slightest infraction will act as a deterrent to the employees that may be more predisposed to breaking health and safety laws in the workplace. Thus, as an employer, you need to make sure that you act swiftly if any of your employees break health and safety rules. As you have seen, this will have an impact in two very important ways.
Make everything you do about health and safety
Health and safety, if it’s treated as a separate matter, may be left by the wayside. Effective health and safety practice are integrated into normal working practice. So, Donald J. Eckenfelder, principal consultant of Profit Protection Consultants, says that you should not start any meeting title with ‘safety’. Instead, you should integrate health and safety into everything that you do. Some suggestions include not having designated safety professionals, as everyone is a safety professional and focusing on the process of health and safety rather than the numbers. If you do these things, then health and safety will be integrated into the way your business operates, as opposed to being a thing that is tagged on, an optional extra.
As we have seen, health and safety are incredibly important and are an often-misunderstood part of any business. If you want to motivate your employees to give health and safety concerns the attention that they deserve, you could do worse than follow the above tips. Though it is not an exhaustive list, these tips are based on the evidence and will help bring health and safety concerns and important government requirements into the center of the stage, where it deserves to be.