Four Key Steps to Changing Unsafe Behaviors in the Workplace

Queue 1980’s smash hit “The Safety Dance” because Rural Mutual Insurance has partnered with the Wisconsin Safety Council to celebrate National Safety Month in June. Through a statewide study to learn more about the safety risks Wisconsin workers face, we found safety hazards are common on-the-job. Whether it’s due to environmental factors, like high noise levels, or physical factors, like standing for long periods of time, the majority of respondents said they experience safety risks. Now more than ever, workplace health and safety should be a top priority for Wisconsin workers.

For example, almost 80% of Wisconsin workers say they stand for more than two hours in a row. So it’s time to take a seat and read through these key four steps—they’re sure to help you take a stand against unsafe behaviors in the workplace.

1. Encourage a Safety Culture

More than three in four Wisconsin workers (76%) say they work in high noise levels where a raised voice is needed to talk to people less than four feet away. Yet, it’s common for people to stay silent about unsafe working conditions when they feel their culture doesn’t support open communication and safety. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate noise from manufacturing facilities with massive machines, it is possible for leadership to stir up excitement around the topic at hand by investing in preventative safety programs.  

2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

The good news is that if you are reading this blog and downloaded our free Work Safe in Wisconsin e-book, you are willing to take necessary steps to learn and implement safer workplace behaviors. Never be complacent—even if you have worked in the same role your entire life, it’s important to stay proactive. If we wait until an accident happens to address unsafe behaviors, we’re never going to get ahead of them.

3. Take the Time

It’s also wise to slow down and take the time to do things right the first go-around. Frontline employees might not be taking enough time to apply proper PPE or if they drive on the job, they feel rushed to get from point A to point B. Ownership and management must take the time to gain sufficient knowledge of the impact these unsafe behaviors are having on their employees’ wellbeing, and the company’s bottom line, in order to dedicate the proper amount of time and resources to correct behaviors.

4. Build a Safety Program

Finally, a new safety program may be needed to change unsafe behaviors. A great time to build new safety programs from scratch is when you are opening a new plant, hiring more staff, or working on a new project or with new equipment. For success, you’re going to need management on board, a clear actionable plan, expert training and of course, an open mind.

Connect with your local agent to learn more about safety solutions for your business, and don’t forget to download the complimentary Work Safe in Wisconsin e-book.