Why Building Safety Culture During the Coronavirus Pandemic Is More Important Than Ever
Despite the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has created, companies can still find opportunities for growing safety culture. A clear and consistent safety culture in the workplace helps establish procedures and values for maintaining a safe work environment. Without this, many organizations find themselves falling short with their safety programs. Culture is defined as a shared set of common values, experiences, beliefs, and characteristics. The challenge of any management team is figuring out how to create a shared view of safety throughout the organization that will defend against accidents, illnesses, and injuries.
A safety culture ensures that employees can feel comfortable coming to work and doing their jobs knowing that they will be able to return home to their family and loved ones at the end of the day. If those processes fail due to an emergency, accident, or other instance such as a pandemic, culture will help drive the proper response through employees and management in the organization.
Maintaining Safety Protocols During a Crisis
In addition to the urgent issue of coronavirus prevention at the workplace, other safety concerns will remain present. Workers at all levels may be coming to the facility feeling uneasy about the numerous issues that have arisen surrounding the pandemic. In addition to discussing coronavirus prevention plans, review current safety policies with employees, and clearly update them on additional protocols that have arisen due to COVID-19.
How Leaders Can Engage Employees
To create a strong interdependent safety culture, companies need leaders to engage with the organization internally. Executives, managers, and supervisors can help support employees and build confident communication channels that can give employees confidence in your facility’s safety program. Leaders show that caring for each other’s safety at work is top priority by demonstrating safe behaviors such as mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitization. Watch our Promoting Safety Through Leadership webinar to learn more about how leaders can promote workplace safety.
Empowering Employees to Give Feedback
Employee empowerment in the work environment is a way of thinking that encourages employees to share their opinions and make decisions. Leaders can support their employees by encouraging and acknowledging feedback. Instead of micromanaging employees, empowerment allows them the autonomy to succeed with support from upper management. When employees are properly supported, they are more likely to feel confident in their roles, contributing to a cohesive understanding of workplace culture.
Effective Communication in the Workplace
Never underestimate the value of effective communication within an organization; with social distancing protocols and remote work, it may be more critical than ever. Let employees know how the company is protecting their health and safety during COVID-19 with honest and open communication. Be sure to always encourage staff to contact their supervisors or your company’s Environmental, Health, and Safety team or COVID-19 response team with any health and safety issues or concerns they might have.
COVID-19 prevention has presented a massive environmental health and safety challenge for all workplaces. With a well-organized, fact-based, and empathetic approach, organizations can maintain a healthy and effective safety culture even in during a worldwide pandemic.