A few years ago, I was working as an intern at a construction company. The internship involved working on project bids, going to project meetings, visiting job sites, and even some asphalt laying fun. One thing I remember about this internship was the company’s focus on safety. Employees were constantly reminded about safety, and for the most part, all of the employees did their part to keep everyone safe on the job. A big part of the company’s effort was focused on simple safety. After all, it’s the simple stuff that gets ignored the most. Simple safety included wearing hard hats, safety vests, and eye protection. Simple acts that can become second nature if done consistently. It was here that I heard a great example of how simple safety had truly become second nature for one employee. The employee was on his way into work one morning and was stuck in traffic on I-15. With the stop and go traffic, the driver behind him ran into his truck, causing some damage. He and the other driver pulled off to the side of the road and got out of their vehicles to exchange information. Without even thinking about it, he grabbed his safety vest and put it on as he got out of the truck. He wasn’t on a job site. He wasn’t required to wear the vest on his way into work. But after having visited numerous job sites, and after having grabbed his safety vest hundreds of times when getting out of the truck, putting it on had become second nature to him. If I were a business owner, I would hope that simple safety would be second nature to all my employees. Whether it is wearing safety glasses anytime they are on the shop floor, putting on their seatbelts when they get into a vehicle, or wearing their hard hats on job sites. These simple safety measures can go a long way in preventing a lot of injuries. An emphasis on simple safety is also an important part of improving any safety program. Creating a culture where safety is second nature may seem difficult, time consuming, and costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions to help your company start creating a culture of second nature safety:
- Short daily or weekly safety meetings
- Provide and require Personal Protective Equipment on job sites, shop floors, etc.
- Regularly inspect work areas and walkways for potential hazards
- Maintain and inspect equipment to prevent injury
- Reward employees for their safety efforts (pizza, prizes, time off, etc.)
As important as safety is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes the simplest solutions have the greatest impact.