Magnus Karlsson discusses how taking a pragmatic approach to improving safety in the workplace helps to promote a ‘safety never stops’ mindset and improves managerial accountability.
In terms of raising awareness of safety risks, when we introduce or change a rule that reduces risk and improves safe working practices, we often see a trend that suggests employees are taking these lessons outside of the workplace and into their homes. So, for example, using raised platforms instead of ladders to fix the roof at home or knowing how to lift heavy packages to prevent injury. This change of mindset is good for them as they are less prone to accidents and ill health. For us as a company it improves production performance through less days off work. However, changing mindsets and behaviours is not an easy step to take. The move to a ‘safety never stops’ mindset only works when employees can see and experience the benefits of safety initiatives. Those initiatives must also be constantly reinforced, first and foremost, in the workplace.
Achieving cultural change
Key to improving safety performance is for safety professionals and leadership to take ownership of initiatives. This not only drives change forward, but helps to engage with those who are more at ease with a results-based approach. So the fact that at SCA Wood we have halved the number of accidents at work helps quantify why safety is important. By highlighting these results, and with the right training and support, we can begin to change hearts and minds at all levels. Again, reinforcement is key and our annual weekly focus on safety issues is helping to emphasise the benefits of safe working practices.