Every seven seconds a worker is injured on the job, and in Wisconsin, private industry employers reported 70,400 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2018. The positive news is that most accidents are preventable when companies make workplace health and safety a top priority.
That’s more important than ever for businesses based on a new statewide workplace safety study conducted by Rural Mutual in partnership with the Wisconsin Safety Council. The research finds that employees experience a number of workplace risks from interacting with hazardous materials (80%) to working in high noise level environments (76%).
Business leaders who take proactive steps to develop a comprehensive safety plan and integrate it into their company’s day-to-day culture, will be a step ahead when it comes to managing these risks. Companies with a strong safety culture have:
- Higher productivity levels
- Improved employee engagement
- Lower employee turnover
- Reduced accident and injury rates
Here are three ways to encourage a safety culture in your organization.
Encourage Employee Engagement
Engaged workers are safer workers who can play a defining role in determining whether a company’s safety policies are heeded. Make safety messages personal to help ensure employees feel comfortable reporting any concerns when they see them. An anonymous suggestion box to track unsafe behavior also encourages this. Providing snacks and breakfast at safety meetings is a simple way to make sure people attend.
Provide Consistent Safety Messaging
Although it may sound simple, talking with your workers about safety can be challenging, especially when dealing with personnel changes or multiple shifts. There’s an old marketing adage that says audiences need to see a message seven times before it sinks in. That kind of repetition makes behavior change more likely so be sure to include key consistent safety tips and policies in newsletters, your website, social channels and emails. Better yet, gather employees in person when that’s possible and open it up to Q&A.
Whether you are starting at ground zero or have a comprehensive safety strategy in place, there’s always room to further educate your employees about the importance of safety. Have a continuous improvement mindset that encourages involvement in outside groups like the Wisconsin Safety Council so you can keep up on the latest trends and enhance your existing initiatives. Trade shows and webinars are excellent tools to offer to your team, but make sure that training is customized to your industry or role so it relates to the challenges of your specific work environment.
Connect with your local Rural Mutual agent to learn more about safety solutions for your business, and don’t forget to download the complimentary Work Safe in Wisconsin e-book which offers easy to implement solutions for a safer and healthier workplace.
 Wisconsin Bureau of Labor Statistics