manager talking to employees in a meeting

Twenty Eyes Are Better Than One

Turn Every Meeting Into A Safety Meeting

Everyone juggles multiple duties in their job. This makes it hard to devote time to preventive topics like safety. While some districts have a dedicated safety manager, tight budgets can make these roles a luxury.

But even if you cannot afford a dedicated safety role, you can still transform each employee into a safety resource.

Start Every Meeting with a Safety Moment

Staff meetings are a great place to discuss goals, expectations, and upcoming projects. Set the tone by starting staff meetings with a safety moment. This is a great way to show your commitment to safety and spur engagement.

A safety moment doesn’t have to be a long story. Instead, apply safety to example scenarios. One could be helping an employee move boxes they were struggling with. If there are any recent real instances, take the time to recognize them. The goal is to make the district a safer work environment for everyone.

Expand the Safety Circle

Getting your employees involved can be a challenge. There is a lot you can do, but the most effective remedy requires their help. Since they are doing the work, their input on forming policies and protocols is vital. They each have different strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

Involving them in the process leverages those attributes. You might put them on the safety committee, or include them in a conversation about operations. Anything that engages your employees also grows your safety culture.

At district-wide meetings, give managers the chance to brag about safety in their departments. Invite them to share about past safety success and plans for the future. Encourage them show pride in their team’s work. It is a good way for different departments to see what others are doing to help themselves improve. Safety programs are all about sharing knowledge and learning from the successes of others.

Craft a Simple Message

Every good effort needs a rallying cry, or in this case, a safety slogan. Your slogan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as “Work Safe Every day,” “Support Safety,” or “Nobody Gets Hurt.” Widefield Water and Sanitation District developed a slogan with staff input by doing just that.

Their catchphrase is: “We are Widefield, Well trained, Safety smart, Daily!” This year, we gave Widefield the Safest District of the Year award at the SDA Annual Conference. We chose to recognize them based not only on their exemplary record, but on their commitment to a safer work culture.

Actions, Incidents, and Consequences

At staff meetings, talk about incidents and what corrective actions the district took. If something has become a recurring issue, brainstorm about how to stop it.

For most Pool members, 2 or 3 kinds of accidents make upward of 70% of all incidents. If you focus on these categories you could see some encouraging results.

In any workplace, focus must start at the top. This is especially true of safety. If the board and managers do not talk safety then no one else will either. Managers must demonstrate the district’s expectations by both words and actions.

Remember, making a safer workplace isn’t one person’s job. It’s everyone’s job. Even if you have a safety manager, they can’t be everywhere all the time. It is important, therefore, that everyone be on the same page.

You can accomplish this by clarifying expectations to ensure everyone has a common goal. If they have questions, figure out a good forum for everyone to discuss these concerns. From there you can give employees a chance to commit to the process.

Show Results

A simple plan that states your expectations is better than an outdated policy or no policy at all. If you are having trouble building a program, start small and add to it.  The first step is always the hardest. Once you have a good foundation, it will be easy to add more later.

Weighing results is critical to any process. Your staff need to know if their efforts improved safety outcomes.

Sharing these successes and shortcomings allow your team to identify areas needing continued improvement. Rewarding employees for their efforts is a last, but important, step in the process. In addition to rewarding behaviors, this is also about expressing gratitude.

These are not the only ways to get people involved in your safety program. If your goal is to decrease the number of safety violations and incidents in the workplace, the best way to do that is by increasing the number of hands addressing those issues. Twenty sets of eyes are better than one, but anything is better than none.

Districts of every size can have admirable safety programs. Most of us spend more time with our work families than our families at home. Show everyone you care and want them to go home safe every day.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.