By Jena Williams

Teamwork

Just as everyone on a sports team is vital to the success of the team, everyone in a company is necessary to make the company safe. This is what it means to have a positive safety culture. Everyone in the company needs to feel that they can speak up on issues regarding safety and that when they do, management will be responsive.

There’s the catch. Management might believe they are projecting safety as a priority, yet they are bombarded by workers’ compensation claims that suggest employees aren’t working safe. Workers may believe that they aren’t given enough time or the right equipment to work safely and that speaking up won’t change anything.

If someone asked you if workers and managers at your company work together to ensure the safest possible conditions, how would you answer?

VitalSmarts, a research company that specializes in human behavior, interviewed 1,500 employees at 20 companies to find out why workers let unsafe practices slide. They found 5 areas where workers felt either unable or unwilling to address concerns about safety. Their conclusions will show you where to target discussions at your company to make the most impact:

1. Get It Done. These are unsafe practices justified by tight timelines. According to the results, 78% of respondents see their coworkers take unsafe shortcuts. These common and risky shortcuts are undiscussable for 75% of the workforce.

2. Undiscussable Incompetence. These are unsafe practices that stem from skill deficits that can’t be discussed. 65% of respondents see their coworkers create unsafe conditions due to incompetence, and 74% of workers say safety risks sustained by incompetence are undiscussable.

3. Just This Once. These are unsafe practices justified as exceptions to the rule. 55% of respondents see their coworkers make unsafe exceptions. Only one in four speak up and share their real concerns with the person who is putting safety at risk.

4. This Is Overboard. These are unsafe practices that bypass precautions already considered excessive. The majority of respondents—66%—see their coworkers violate safety precautions they’ve discounted. Almost 3 out of 4 either say nothing or fall short of speaking up candidly to share their real concerns.

5. Are You a Team Player? These are unsafe practices that are justified for the good of the team, company, or customer. 63% of respondents see their coworkers violate safety precautions for this cause. Only 28% say they speak up and share their concerns with the person.

Are any of these topics undermining safety at your company? Start by getting rid of the undiscussable issues. Shine light on these topics and make them discussable. Then, if someone asked you if workers and managers at your company work together to ensure the safest possible conditions, you can confidently answer – yes, we do.

Read the entire conversation with VitalSmarts here: http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=567&e=238843&elq=09e9f07deeb14067ab3aef5077b7518d

Open the door to the team approach to safety with this safety poster: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901422014.pdf

More on safety culture: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/hazardpreventiontools.html#safetyplanCompanysafetyculture