Safety In The Workplace | How To Include Employees In The Safety Solutions Process
If you’re an employee for a construction company, a supervisor, a manager, or you are on outside contractor, you are already aware of the fact that there are many rules and regulations when it comes to working in construction, manufacturing, mining, shipping, or any other related industry. However, something a lot of employees and workers on job sites forget is that the most successful and effective safety programs are programs that allow for input to be given from the people who are actually working on the job site, or in the warehouse, or out in the field everyday. It should come as no surprise that the best ideas to improve your company’s, or work site’s, safety programs will come from the very people who are working in these environments on a daily basis. They see problems in real time and they will probably have good ideas on how to solve those problems as well. So how can you as a company take advantage of this? There are actually several factors that come into play, but the main points you want to remember are how can employees effectively create solutions to workplace safety problems, how can they communicate these ideas to their superiors, and how can they ensure that these ideas are taken seriously by managers and supervisors? Safety in the workplace is one of the most important, if not THE most important, aspect of running a successful and profitable company. Use this guide to help better your safety program using the expertise of your employees’ who are in the field.
The best way to include your employees in on decisions regarding your safety program is by using a structured approach to solving the problems and implementing a formal process for employees to give their suggestions. First, let’s take a look at the steps necessary for the problem solving process.
- Recognize and Identify the Problem – The particular problem in question needs to be clearly defined as it is. The more specific your employees are with this description, the better. If they are able to include an approximate cost to fixing the problem, all the better. This will make the issue much easier to explain to management while also making the actual solution much easier to come to.
- List Your Options – What steps can you take to fix the problem? What possibilities exist? What results are you wanting to get? Collectively brainstorming ideas will make the problem solving process much quicker and easier.
- List Consequences Associated With Each Solution – Yes, you may have a solution to your particular problem, but will this solution cause a problem somewhere else? Any and all ideas and actions have consequences associated with them. Make sure to view the problem from all possible angles before moving forward with action.
- Compare Your Options – How much time and energy will each possible solution require? How much effort will be needed? Employees will want to consult a manager or supervisor to help calculate the time and costs needed for each possible solution.
- Choose the BEST Option – This should be easy after going through step 4. Employees will want to discuss this step with their superiors as well. Remember, employees have great insight into problems that arise within the workplace, but managers and supervisors will generally have a better grasp on how that problem affects the overall picture.
When it comes to employees submitting suggestions, you will want to develop a formal process for this so that everyone has the opportunity to submit suggestions. Your formal submission process should look something like the following. Keep in mind that these steps are written as if an employee was reading them.
- Clearly and concisely describe the problem in question. Be as objective as possible when explaining the issue to decision makers. Also, be sure to explain the disadvantages the problem in question presents.
- Outline your idea as simply as possible. Detail your suggestion briefly while giving suggestions for improvement. ALWAYS avoid negativity. You are trying to solve a problem, not cut someone else down.
- Accurately detail the costs associated with your suggested solution. Also be sure to anticipate how your solution will affect other employees and departments within the organization.
- Approximate the cost savings associated with your solution. There should be some type of financial benefit from your solution, whether it be short-term or long-term. Answer the questions; what will be saved on future injuries that will be prevented or avoided? What other benefits are there? Is your solution more efficient that the previous method? Will your solution take less time? Remember that decision makers such as managers, supervisors, and especially CEOs are very conscious of the bottom line, so if you present a solution that benefits both safety and the company’s finances, your voice is much more likely to be heard.
- Conclude with an in-depth description and analysis of your solution. Break it down into simple components that can be easily understood by all levels of the organization. Visual drawings can help with this. Be sure to communicate your idea clearly, concisely, and persuasively.
By using the two-fold method of addressing safety issues within the workplace, you will be giving employees, as well as management, the information needed to make an informed decision. With the formal submission process, employees also have the chance to make themselves stand out among their peers and position themselves as the next in line for a promotion. Safety in the workplace important for a multitude of reasons, so having safety minded employees, managers, supervisors, and even CEOs can only benefit the company as a whole. Including EVERYONE in on safety decisions only encourages this mindset.