Creating – and maintaining – a safe work environment should be a high priority for organizations. Indeed, under Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) law, employers have a responsibility to create and maintain a safe workplace – and comply with OSHA regulations. But putting up a few safety posters and running safety training sessions once a year is not enough.
Organizations need to actively foster and promote a strong culture of safety, year round, so that safety becomes a part of the enterprise’s DNA. This means not only making safety one of the organization’s main values, it means taking concrete steps to make sure employees have a safe work environment and are constantly striving to improve safety in the workplace. In order to improve safety culture in an organization there must be an ongoing commitment to communication. One popular method of promoting safety awareness is through workplace digital signage, which harnesses visual communication to promote messages.
Following are six ways to ensure a safe workplace and promote a strong safety culture.
Eliminate potential hazards. Keep the workplace free from recognized physical and chemical hazards and make sure it is in compliance with OSHA standards, rules, and regulations. Use your digital signage systems to remind employees about proper body mechanics, forklift safety, safe backing, what PPE is necessary, and ways they can avoid slips, trips, and falls. Encourage workers to identify and report potential problems and safety violations and take immediate steps to have those issues resolved.
Make sure all workers are properly trained. The organization must provide all workers with safety training using language they can understand. This training should be given to all new workers, with refresher courses offered to (or required) for existing workers or when workers change jobs (within the company). Use your electronic message boards to reinforce safety training, serving it up in bite-sized messages.
Ensure workers have the proper equipment. Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment. Workplace digital signage is an effective tool for reinforcing injury prevention. Raise awareness around proper handling of hazardous materials, lock-out tag-out and machine guarding.
Provide visual safety aids and messages. Use color codes, posters, labels and/or signs to warn employees of potential hazards. Additionally, place OSHA posters in all work and recreational areas – and use digital signage to broadcast important safety information, updates, and messages. For example, employers can display their safety recordables using automated counters. This visual aide displays real time data and reminds employees to stay safe.
Digital signage can be incredibly helpful in emergency situations as, unlike static posters, you can use it to instantly warn or notify workers of a situation in areas where mobile phones and computers aren’t allowed. You can also use digital signage to post daily or weekly workplace “Safety Tips”, recognize employees who have demonstrated outstanding safety awareness, and keep employees up to date on new rules and regulations.
Create a safety committee – and hold monthly safety meetings. Establish a workplace health and safety committee made up of workers from different departments, from senior management to shop-floor-based employees. The committee should meet at least once a month and keep employees and senior management informed about safety topics, inspections, injury and illness statistics, and other safety-related issues. Use your digital signage systems to share key safety updates to the entire workforce.
Similarly, hold departmental or company-wide safety meetings once a month or quarterly to solicit employee feedback. Getting regular feedback from employees is helpful because it opens managers’ eyes to potential hazards that may have gone unnoticed, lets managers know how employees are doing/feeling, and makes employees feel valued, which improves mental health and productivity.
Make safety fun. While safety is no game, one way to help incorporate safety into company culture is to make learning about safety fun. Use your workplace digital signage to create safety-themed trivia, quizzes, and videos of safety dos and don’ts. Friendly competition including prizes, and chances for company-wide recognition are great motivators. By adding a little fun, there’s a higher chance that employees will stay engaged, retain the information and therefore help prevent accidents.