Developing a safety culture
Peace of Mind & Safety Cornerstones
At Holiday, we often talk about creating and enforcing a “safety culture.” By safety culture, we’re referring to an environment where safety is a priority and is taken seriously. Safety is a value. When a concern is raised in a safety culture, it isn’t laughed at or dismissed as unimportant. Anything Holiday can reasonably do to promote a safe working environment for its associates, it will try to do.
Many elements contribute to creating and sustaining a strong culture of safety. While it is likely that some of these elements vary from community to community, there are four distinct cornerstones that, I feel, create a foundation on which our safety culture can be built.
Human nature is to react and fix the problem after it has already happened. This applies to resident injuries, associate injuries, and near misses we see every day. The key to keeping your peace of mind is to proactively recognize these hazards and report them to the leaders in the community. For associates, completing your quarterly safety inspections is exactly a way to start this process. We are looking for hazards specifically we might not see during the normal hours of our busy day. These inspections are critical in reducing injuries and being proactive instead of reactive.
Accountability is essential in all aspects of our business, but particularly for safety. Unfortunately, accountability too often is synonymous with blame and negative consequences. This should not be the norm.
Effective safety cultures accept that mistakes are an inevitable part of the workplace, but are relentless about learning from those mistakes. We all have made mistakes and some may have impacted our life negatively. The key to these mistakes is learning and sharing them with the people we work and care about in the community.
Relationships matter a lot in safety. Great safety cultures are characterized by good relationships at all levels, which enable open, honest conversations about what is working, what is not, mistakes that have been made and what needs to change.
Lastly, having a good relationship doesn't mean being nice all the time or being soft on safety. Good relationships include accountability and constructive feedback. Positive employee-management relationships include mutual trust and respect as a foundation for a partnership around safety.
Teamwork and Effort
Having peace of mind requires that people don't just follow procedures, comply with OSHA standards and wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Exceptional safety happens when people look for and report hazards, give peers feedback on safe and at-risk behavior, volunteer for safety committees, make suggestions for improvement, and, most difficult of all, admit when they have made mistakes so lessons can be coached. Having this team concept in our communities is what makes us stand above the rest of our competition, and gives residents and associates the peace of mind they desire every day.
These four cornerstones are largely the work of leadership in our communities. Leaders build the foundation for a good safety culture and peace of mind. Once the foundation has been built the other work force will increase its contribution. It’s through this joint effort and discretionary effort from all areas that organizations can create and sustain a safety culture that works.
To learn more about Holiday's corporate culture, visit http://www.holidaytouch.com/about-us