There are several common, identifiable reasons why safety programs fail. By being aware of these potential barriers to the success of your safety program, you can modify your program to guard against them. Commonly culprits of safety programs failure include:
Support from the Top Down
When employees don’t perceive their superiors as visibly committed to their organization’s safety program, they likely will not invest themselves in the program either. Senior management and department leaders need to epitomize the procedures of a successful safety program. They also need to be actively involved in both recognizing safety successes and implementing consequences for program violations.
To be committed to a safety program, employees need to understand the critical nature of safety and how accidents impact the organization and its employees. They need to understand why they are investing their time and energy towards the safety program. Specific achievable goals should be developed and rewarding employees for success should be considered. Structuring goals in a manner that produces short-term successes can help build enthusiasm for the program.
To keep the program in the forefront, safety leaders need to regularly communicate with staff about their expectations, the successes of the program, the consequences of not participating in the program and other key issues. An ongoing training and education component should be central to the program. Using multiple communication methods can be very effective.
A highly decentralized organization can be detrimental to standardizing a safety program. A company needs to find methods to impose uniformity and consistency across various departments and offices of their company.
The Time Factor
In every organization, time is an extremely valuable commodity. Management needs to assign priority status to safety and allows its employees to take the time to maintain a successful safety program.