What is a safety culture?
Culture, by definition, is “the way of life, of a group of people”, meaning the “way they do things”.
If we look at safety as the “way we do things” in our place of employment, you could summarize it this way:
- Safety is learning – training, education and hands on experience
- Safety is money, just like time is money – Workplace injuries have a big human and financial cost, so it pays for your employer to invest in safety meetings, safety training, and PPE.
- Safety is a priority – and is supported from management down to labor
- Safety is a value – with fewer or no accidents you save money and give employees peace of mind.
- Safety is instinctive – we automatically perform work tasks safely.
We challenge you to think differently about safety and how to apply it in your work activities.
Safety is learning
From a young age we learn about safety. For example, putting that fork or knife in the electrical outlet we learned a hard lesson about the shocking power of electricity. We all learned lessons by watching others experience events that caused them some pain. Hopefully we never witness a dramatic life changing event from an unsafe action.
As we matured, training became a constant companion, in sporting activities and sometimes with our first job. We learned the do’s and don’ts either flipping burgers or helping a parent build and repair things around the house.
Now, our job requires “safety training”. Safety training plays an important part in the workplace and our own development.
It’s the law for employers to provide training for hazardous tasks. Employers are required to show workers the proper use and hazards associated with equipment and tools. Employees also need to know what to do if the equipment is damaged or defective.
The employer is required to have an accident prevention program i.e., a safety manual that addresses their policies and requirements.
This level of protection, training, and education is considered to be an administrative control – the safety manual, new hire and site orientations, task specific training, company policies and enforcement, are all important and required by law.
Training is what we are doing now, as we have this Toolbox Talk. These training requirements are not meant to hinder your ability to do your job, but to enhance and keep everyone at the worksite safe.
Take a moment to know where the safety manual (Accident Prevention Program) is located, take some time to read what’s in the manual and ask questions of your supervisor.
Also, use training as an opportunity to engage others to learn from your experience and expertise. Be willing to learn one new thing each week to keep you safe and going home healthy.
Let’s be safe out there!!!