Safety is the one aspect of the work environment that has a direct impact on employees. For example, the United States Department of Labor estimates that one in ten workers are injured on construction sites each year. And other industries have similar numbers. This is the reason that worker engagement in safety measures is essential to maintaining a safe workplace. Unfortunately it’s not always enough to motivate them. When employees are engaged in the safety strategies of their workplace, they are more productive, help others, and are eager to provide feedback to improve safety efficiency. While connected safety strategies may be a new concept in the workplace, methods can be used to encourage your employees to embrace them to improve overall safety.
Give Them a Voice
Like any good relationship, communication is key. And this is no different in the workplace. With all of the smart devices we have access to connected to one another through the Internet-of-Things (IoT) in the work environment, communication is easier than ever. Using these digital tools to find out the concerns of workers can make a big difference in your approach to safety - and even more importantly, worker enthusiasm. When workers adopt the Industry 4.0 model in regards to safety measures, valuable information can be aggregated. For example, areas and equipment that have the most safety hazards can be photographed and documented in real time, as well as safety efforts that have failed in the past. Letting employees voice concerns in person, through email, text, or an integrated online platform not only makes them feel heard but it also can give you valuable and sometimes surprising information about safety measures in your facility.
Give Them Ownership
In addition to opening a discussion with employees on worker safety, engagement also means giving workers ownership of safety strategies. Enable them to become part of the problem solving process as well as creating new safety measures. Digital platforms provide easy ways for worker collaboration in a digital space. Sure, you can pull out the old whiteboard if you want, but allowing employees to post pictures or share ideas in an online space can create enthusiasm for better connected safety strategies. Plus data captured in real time can give a snapshot of when some accidents are more likely to happen, such as late night shifts or when fewer employees are on site. And surprisingly, millennials aren’t the only generation that is comfortable working in the digital space. Generation X all the way to Baby Boomers have easily embraced the malleable digital space and are eager to share and collaborate. So giving them this type of ownership of is a great way to encourage participation and give them a feeling of responsibility for the strategies they help put into place.
Give Them Opportunities For Growth
Launching a new safety campaign is a great way to build excitement, but ongoing education and development is key to continuous employee engagement. Employees should have access to safety strategies documentation and training so they can reference it at anytime. And not just any training, but better and more efficient training. Statistics show that we all learn differently at different times, whether by visual, auditory, or kinesthetic means. This is where videos, infographics, social media, and even Augmented and Virtual Reality can benefit the learning process. Using a variety of digital tools can improve safety training and improve engagement.
Give Them Measurable Results
Allowing worker input can go a long way to encourage a commitment to ongoing safety. But after measures are put into place, methods of measurement through real time reporting can give employees a sense of where they actively improved and areas that still need work. Using a platform that can record data and provide sophisticated reporting is crucial. That’s why digital safety platforms are not only an asset for companies, but they also add value by allowing employees to see the results of their efforts. For example, a reporting system that employees can freely access at any time that lets them know that a particular safety strategy has been achieved by them, or all employees, for a certain period of time, can give them a sense of pride and responsibility for their work environment. Ambiguous ‘no accidents for X days’ signs are no longer needed. Digital safety strategies that measure individual safety efforts also give you a means to reward and recognize workers, whether this be through incentives or recognition on the digital platform or company social media.
Workplace safety is the foundation for employee satisfaction and productivity. If your core business statement is to provide improved services or products to society while nurturing a safe and healthy work environment for employees, you value effective workplace safety programs. You also realize the importance of worker engagement in those measures. Giving safety measures a name and face gives your employees accountability and a sense of pride, a combination that is often hard to obtain. But digital safety strategies open up possibilities for worker engagement and remove the limitations of older methodologies.