Now that you’re committed to making employee safety a priority this year, the next step is to actually enforce the rules. This effort will likely be met with resistance and more than a bit of grumbling from employees—especially if laxity had been a big part of the prevailing culture—but is a quick and effective way to promote the sought-after changes. Here’s how to get started:
- Spell out all safety rules and regulations in the employee handbook or in a separate document, and distribute the materials to all personnel. Require employees to sign a document stating that they have read the rules and agree to abide by them.
- Update the company’s safety rules annually or whenever new equipment or procedures are introduced.
- Post the most critical safety rules on signs in break rooms, locker rooms, the cafeteria, and other areas where employees tend to congregate.
- Have clearly articulated consequences for not following safety rules (e.g. a verbal warning for the first offense, a written warning for the second offense, etc.) so employees understand the immediate repercussions of noncompliance.
- Provide supervisors, managers, and others in positions of authority with guidelines on when and how to issue warnings for safety violations, as well as extra training on how to apply the rules in a fair and consistent manner.
- Incentivize the process of developing good safety habits by offering small rewards, such as free coffee and donuts at breakfast or a pizza party at lunch, when certain milestones are reached. Use a large signboard to keep track of the number of days without an accident and hang it in a prominent location to stoke motivation.
Even the sincerest commitment to employee safety will ultimately ring hollow in the absence of a systematic way to enforce all policies. Use the above tips to promote compliance with safety rules and change employee attitudes and behaviors in your workplace.