Submitted by E3 HR
Safety culture can be defined in many different ways but the most prominent is the way OSHA defines it. “Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior. I simplify this a little more. Simply, it is a sincere feeling that employees are cared for by the company and each other. It’s really that simple. OK. Simple to understand, not so simple to execute. It is however important when assessing risk at a worksite.
Now more than ever safety and health is on the forefront of employers minds. It has quickly evolved to become priority number one for most. For those employers who already had a strong and engaging safety and health culture in place, the roll out of additional precautions to handle the current pandemic went smoothly. Employers who have never integrated safety and health into their everyday operations might have struggled a bit.
We are true believers that having a healthy safety culture is the best defense in keeping employees safe, healthy, and productive. Not to mention keeping workers compensation costs down.
Staffing businesses find themselves in a tricky situation when it comes to the health and safety of their associates (not to mention how tricky it is for a PEO). They not only need to make sure that they are doing all they can to keep their associates safe, but also have to rely on clients to provide a safe atmosphere everyday. The most successful relationship comes with a complete understanding of each other’s culture.
Now is a great time to visit your client’s worksites to gauge the safety culture and make an impact. For example, If you walk in right now and don’t notice the site taking any of the recommended precautions related to COVID-19 you can pretty much get an idea of the current safety culture in twenty seconds or less. Now comes the challenging part. Influencing the client to take the proper precautions.
Telling the client how to run their business is not the goal here. The goal is to help your client protect their business which includes your shared workforce. Frame the conversation that way. Let them know you are concerned for people’s health and also want to help keep the client compliant. Make it a true partnership. Be honest about the changes you had to make in your own business. Give examples of things they can do such as screening employees, posting signage, distancing work stations, providing PPE, etc. Let them know you can assist them with some of these precautions and follow through. This is a great ice breaker for explaining your safety culture and also laying the groundwork for future safety and health conversations.
While the spotlight is currently on worker health and safety, use it as an opportunity to integrate your safety culture with your clients. Keep the culture focused on caring for the employees first. An employee who feels cared for is one who will pay you back by going above and beyond in caring for your business.