Safety culture: 2 ways it gets undermined

by on February 9, 2012 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

What can undermine a good safety culture?

Scott Geller, a behavioral-based safety expert with Safety Performance Solutions, Inc., says watch out for the following:

1. Not flagging small behaviors.
You may see workers engaging in small, at-risk behaviors. If a worker knows you saw them cutting a corner on safety, they’ll think it’s all right to do it again. Ignoring small at-risk behaviors also sends a subconscious message that you don’t care, even though you really do.

Example: A boss needs workers to move faster when handling sharp-edged materials. One worker cuts a work glove. The boss ignores the damaged PPE.

Better: You have spare PPE available. That way, when a worker has damaged his or her safety gear, you can immediately provide a replacement. Now the worker gets the right message – hustle, but don’t cut corners on safety.

2. Too much stick, too early.
Geller says one of the most damaging traps for supervisors is to grab the stick too fast.
Punishment should be a last resort, not a first one. Initially, be supportive of the worker and make all efforts to train and communicate with the worker.

Example: A worker struggles with lockout/tagout procedures. Instead of disciplining, you ask the worker about his or her understanding of the procedures. If the worker doesn’t understand them, you can patiently retrain accordingly. However, if the worker simply refuses to follow lockout procedures, then you can follow up by getting tougher.

(Scott Geller, Safety Performance Solutions, Blacksburg, VA.)

Click to View Comments

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.