Safety experts believe that, by implementing a culture of accountability for safety in the workplace, businesses in the manufacturing industry can reduce avoidable injuries and increase efficiency and productivity. However, there are challenges involved in implementing a culture of accountability.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 343 fatal and 395,300 non-fatal injuries in the manufacturing industry in 2018. Although these statistics mean the rate of fatal and non-fatal injuries per 100 Full Time Employees has fallen by a third over the past ten years, manufacturing is still one of the most dangerous industries to be employed in.
The table below lists the top five safety hazards in manufacturing; and, in many cases, injuries from these safety hazards are avoidable. Safety experts believe that, while many businesses make great efforts to implement physical safety mechanisms, not enough is being done to develop a culture of accountability for safety in the workplace.
The Top 5 Safety Hazards in Manufacturing
Slips, trips, and falls
Poorly installed or missing machine safety guards
Powered industrial trucks, fork lifts, and platform lifts
The failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures
What is a Culture of Accountability for Safety in the Workplace?
A culture of accountability for safety in the workplace is one in which, rather than employers taking responsibility for policing compliance with safety policies, employees are accountable for the safety of their tools, equipment, and workspaces, and those of their colleagues. This type of accountability is claimed to foster individual initiative, open communication, and co-employee support.
Admittedly, there are challenges involved in implementing a culture of accountability due to existing working practices and an entrenched culture of blame. To overcome these challenges, employees must be encouraged to report safety issues, be given the tools to report them (anonymously if necessary), and feel confident the reports are being attended to.
How to Successfully Implement a Culture of Safety
One of the easiest ways to successfully implement a culture of safety is via a text messaging safety app. Using the app, employees can text their safety concerns (anonymously if necessary) to maintenance, security, or management teams, who can review the messages via a central dashboard on which all text messages are recorded. This enables the teams to prioritize reports and organize remedial action.
The way in which the concerns are recorded, prioritized, and remediated introduces a degree of accountability for maintenance, security, or management teams. If, for example, an employee reports a missing machine safety guard, and nothing is done about it within an acceptable period of time, the concern can be escalated with proof a report was made.
Further Benefits of Text Messaging Safety Apps
Text messaging safety apps also function as emergency panic buttons, so that if a workplace accident occurs, employees can call 9-1-1 with two taps of a smartphone screen. The benefit of using this system is that the app relays the nature and location of the emergency to call dispatchers automatically - which saves call dispatchers time asking questions about the accident and accelerates emergency response.
The text messaging safety system can also be integrated with workplace alert systems so that, in the event of an emergency requiring an evacuation or lockdown, co-employees are notified simultaneously. Call dispatchers can also get access to facility plans through the system in order to further accelerate emergency response and better prepare first responders for their arrival.
Find Out More about Workplace Safety Technologies
Evidence suggests that, by exchanging a culture of blame for a culture of accountability, businesses benefit not only from fewer avoidable injuries, but also from increased efficiency and productivity.
If your business would like to improve its safety posture by implementing a culture of safety - and increase efficiency and productivity at the same time - discover our business solutions below.
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