You have probably already read in many newsletters that the true success of any structured corporate safety program begins with the employee "Buy In". With that said, let us take a minute and focus on the process of "Culture Based Safety". I for one am a dedicated safety professional that has, over the years, been fortunate enough to thoroughly evaluate the safety performance of both management level as well as the field worker level. I can now - through years of such evaluations say without professional ego that the confidence level of any field employee's belief that safety is the prime function of the organizations success solidifies the employee "Culture of Safety" mind set. Now, I am not saying that management buy in is not as important, what I am saying is that to "BUILD" a sound safety culture we must focus on the field level employee who is performing the work. This process begins with not only providing critical industry specific training but also providing critical safety related resource information and effectively communicating that information. Once the information is effectively conveyed it is paramount that followup evaluations and monitoring of how the information is absorbed into the employees work process is continuously addressed. Weekly safety meetings are a large part of this process but all to often we see that the ability for an employee to gain the full effectiveness of the safety resource information is limited. How many employees truly know how to not only safely perform work on a scaffold, but actually know when a scaffold is not in compliance with OSHA standards. An employee need not be a qualified scaffold erector to have the ability to recognize an unsafe scaffold condition and have the trained "Qualified Person" make the necessary corrections.
I again stress that we as safety professionals can become a greater support to employees by providing such necessary information at the field level. We can continuously train employees in the recognition of worksite hazards but we must also provide the ability to have the followup resources to maintain the information absorbed. Worksite designated sign-in sheds can be converted into mini resource libraries that provide worksite employees access to information they wouldn't normally know existed. Posting areas that provide crane hand signal charts, lifting capacity charts, first aid procedures, material lift inspection processes and so on are some of the resource processes that send a positive safety message that their involvement is key.
I am a convinced that a well established safety culture is the cornerstone of any successful corporate safety program. When we instill the support for an employee who is unsure about how safety is obtained, we gain the dedicated drive that the employee will be willing to give each and every day in ensuring his/her own safety as well as the safety of others.