Workplace Safety Is More Than a Set of Policies – Here’s Why

The world has seen a much greater effort made toward workplace safety since the start of the 21st century. Over the last 20 years, we become a lot more adept at recognizing what makes workplaces unsafe. We have also become particularly good at establishing safety policies. The one thing still lacking is the safety-first mindset.

Workplace safety involves a set of defined policies. But safety policies alone are not enough. Making workplaces as safe as they can possibly be requires a certain mindset that not only implements policies, but also does so willingly and enthusiastically.

Proving the point is the reality that a workplace can be completely safe without established policies. The truth of the matter is that people do not need written policies to behave in safe ways. Thus, policies are just tools. They are not the means to an end. Furthermore, policies are pretty worthless if they are not supported by the proper mindset.

Assessing Safety Risks

A necessary starting point for policy-driven workplace safety is assessing safety risks. After all, how can management come up with effective policies if they don’t know the risks they face? Here’s the thing to remember: risk assessment involves a certain mindset. It requires taking an honest look at any and all potential threats. It requires honestly assessing how an organization responds to those threats.

It is great that management is concerned enough to conduct safety risk assessments. Developing official policies from the data gleaned is also a good thing. But those policies eventually have to be transformed into action – action among the employees that make a company work. Here’s where a safety-first mindset becomes critically important.

Employees who do not recognize or understand the risks are not likely to willingly follow safety policies. They may do so begrudgingly, but they will not be looking out for their own safety as they do. This reduces the net effects of the safety policies to a minimum, at best. On the other hand, employees who understand the risks are more likely to embrace and practice safety policies.

Implementing Safety Measures

Establishing workplace safety policies ultimately leads to implementation of safety measures. As an example, Vivint Smart Home recently published a blog post discussing essential safety tips for making the workplace secure. Among them were regular employee safety training and the installation of video surveillance cameras.

Both of these measures relate to the workplace mindset in different ways. In terms of training, it is an opportunity to impart the right mindset to employees. Training sessions teach employees about the inherent risks in the work environment. It teaches them how those risks can be mitigated through both policies and safety measures.

Installing video cameras involves an entirely different mindset. Employees may view the cameras as an invasion of their privacy. They might feel as though the company wants to keep an eye on them every minute of the day, looking over their shoulders to make sure they are not getting out of line.

The safety-first mindset looks at it from a different angle. Cameras are installed for the benefit and protection of employees. Cameras deter theft and other workplace crimes. They can alert management to previously unrecognized safety issues. The point being made here is that mindset affects how employees view safety measures.

Change the Thinking

Any business owner hoping to make the workplace safer has to address the company mindset. Safety is more than just establishing a few policies. It is also changing the way employees think. Safety policies only work when the right mindset is there to support them.

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