Q & A: Safety Accountability
Question: “It is pretty easy to instill safety with our workers who work in our fabrication shop, but we have trouble keeping our installers, who move to different sites daily, to follow some of our safety rules. I think they know we cannot watch them all the time.”
Answer: This a cultural problem for your organization—you’ve two different employee groups each with different attitudes about the value of safety in relation to their scope of work.
I’ve got some thoughts on where to start…
- My suggestion is to start with a meeting. It’s likely the installers perceive some safety practices as barriers to getting the work done, or moving forward with their day. Hence, shortcuts, and shortcuts lead to accidents. Get your installers together, ask the hard questions, then listen and learn. You never know what you’ll discover after starting a candid, professional conversation with these guys. For example, maybe some of them have broken PPE or do not know how to properly use what they do have?
- Working safely needs to be a condition of employment and part of performance evaluation. Write the necessary policies and procedures or revisit them with your installers, and hold those employees accountable.
- Your installers may need education and perspective realignment so they understand the value of certain safe working behaviors. Start connecting the dots for this workgroup in new ways. Get creative with training for awareness and prevention.
If what you discover amounts to a plain lack of inattention or a willful bending of the rules, then your installers need a dose of accountability, and that’s where policies and discipline come into place.