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Use these tips to lead your staff in safe habits and adherence to protocols.

No one wants employees to be hurt on the job, but many companies avoid involving everyone in daily safety improvement. "Though most safety programs are based on compliance to OSHA or some other industry regulations, daily safety protocols that engage employees in safety improvement can dramatically improve safety awareness in any facility," says Robert Hafey, author of Lean Safety: Transforming Your Safety Culture With Lean Management. He advises using two fundamental practices for creating an accident-free workplace.

First, start each shift with "toolbox talk" meetings. These five-minute gatherings give supervisors the opportunity talk about safety in the work to be performed that day. By requiring supervisors to initiate this safety dialogue meeting each and every day, a company makes safety a priority for them. Providing a calendar of topics for the daily meeting makes the supervisor's job easier. It might include reporting near misses, basic forklift safety, emergency phone numbers, lockout/tagout, personal protective equipment, and so on. The topic cycle can be repeated every three months.

Then, follow a formal safety improvement program. Create a form employees can use to submit their safety improvement ideas. Establish a suggested number of safety suggestions for each team or department to submit regularly and review their progress at weekly team meetings. This process sends the message that everyone's involvement in safety improvement is a condition of employment.

Hafey says that, together, the daily toolbox talk meetings and the safety improvement program can dramatically impact the safety culture of any business because they require individuals to think, act and interact on the topic of their safety while at work.

Robert Hafey has more than 30 years experience in manufacturing operations management, and is a regular workshop leader at industry events. Lean Safety is available from Productivity Press or Amazon.

 



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