Is your workplace safe for the people who work in it or are your employees talking about their safety on your company’s manufacturing floor?

Workplace accidents are certainly not old news to people working in manufacturing plants as they have become a common occurrence in such areas. Although the number of workplace accident rates is currently on the decline in the US, workplace safety culture has grown in importance nonetheless as an aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

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What Is Workplace Safety Culture?
Workplace safety culture specifically refers to the different ways of managing safety in the workplace including workers’:

  • Attitudes
  • Perceptions
  • Values
  • Beliefs

A number of serious and high profile workplace accidents in recent years has continuously served as reminders for workplace managers to improve on safety methods and tools and safety checks.

Who Is UL?
The need to create a safer and healthier work environment has been the driving factor in the formation of UL – a global independent safety science company or group that holds the belief that organizations must establish a culture in the workplace where employees take part in actively identifying indicators of unsafe conditions before a crisis hits. UL has more than a hundred years of expertise in safety solution innovations and dedication in promoting safe living and working environments. By being proactive, organizations or companies learn from safety-related failures or events that point to the necessity of implementing important changes in the workplace.

Round Table Discussion
Based on the long and storied past of workplace safety in the US, often associated with tragic and catastrophic events, UL recognized the need to discuss pressing issues concerning workplace health and safety culture. In 2014, UL hosted its first roundtable discussion among business executives, occupational medicine physicians, research, insurance and risk management professionals, and university faculty members. The objective of the discussion is to come up with processes, methods, or procedures that would reinforce existing safety guards and policies and improve safety measures already in place.  In the Fall of 2014, they created the WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY JOURNAL ISSUE 1.

Preventing Workplace-Safety Related Events
According to the UL’s director for global workplace health and safety, the sure way to prevent future workplace-safety related events is by learning what happens in the day-to-day engagement of employees or workers not just when a crisis occurs. The roundtable discussions center on:

  • How organizations/companies can save money and improve performance by implementing process change
  • How top management plays an important role in creating a workplace safety culture
  • How productivity can be increased by addressing employees’ health risks in the workplace
  • How an organizational structure can enable a health and safety culture

Role Of Management
In the past, organizations or companies have separated their health and safety functions. And this hinders collaboration. The need to integrate these functions is important in successfully addressing the safety concerns of employees. UL believes that workers or employees should be allowed to discuss organizational alignment, outcomes, and structures in order to improve performance. In addition, UL believes that the management role does not start and end when machinery dealers deliver and install the required plant machinery and equipment.  It goes well beyond making sure that all machinery and equipment have to fail safe features.

Better Financial Performance For The Company
Succeeding in creating safer workplaces in effect directly contributes to the company’s better financial performance. Data from the National Safety Council shows that every six seconds, a workplace injury takes place. And the American economy spends an estimated $250 billion every year on cost of medical expenses and lost productivity resulting from occupational illnesses and injuries, according to a professor of Health Economics at the University of California, Davis under the Department of Public Health Sciences, J. Paul Leigh.

The roundtable discussion has collectively concluded that “business health relies on employee health and safety.”

Are you working in a company that places importance on workplace safety culture?

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2 thoughts on “Creating And Promoting Workplace Health And Safety Culture”

  1. After the Chernobyl disaster, the authorities failed to alert the public to the danger for three days, putting thousands of lives at risk. Today, there is still a need for total transparency when it comes to nuclear accidents. Soviet authorities were initially in denial over the extent of the crisis and failed to move people living close to the reactor to safety in the hours and days after the incident. If they had acted sooner, countless lives would have been saved. That’s just one lesson learned from this incident.

  2. I think this subject matter is an important one that needs to be discussed, especially for those who work in the industrial sector. Psychosocial risks and work-related stress are among the most challenging issues in occupational safety and health. They impact significantly on the health of individuals, organizations and national economies. This may not apply as much to those with desk jobs or IT jobs. But whatever your job may be, there is no doubt about the benefits of having an enjoyable work place.

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