MSHA is drawing upon the wisdom of John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches of all time, to communicate the importance of developing a safety culture.
Wooden once said he would "rather lead with a banner than follow with a whip." To build a total safety culture, leaders must give employees feedback through praise in order to build a safety culture. Corrective action is certainly needed at times to correct at risk behavior. However a pat on the back is often times just as powerful.
A safety culture is one where safety is integrated into the operations daily activities and never compromised. Most unsafe acts result from poor safety attitudes, not from a lack of knowledge.
To encourage safety oriented attitudes consider adopting the following safety culture practices:
- Actively involve your workforce and have them commit to producing safely.
- Report near misses.
- Empower all employees to recognize and report unsafe conditions
- Remove unsafe conditions.
- Remind coworkers not to perform unsafe acts.
- Give positive feedback when working safely.
- Utilize mentoring programs.
Many companies are using behavior-based safety programs and job-observation programs. Some companies reward with positive feedback when a job is performed in a safe manner.
For example some companies may look at the following instances:
- Was the employee wearing PPE?
- Were they using the appropriate tools?
- Were proper lifting techniques used?
Consider adopting a behavior based safety approach and incorporating it into your existing safety program for enhancing your safety culture.