How to influence worker OHS attitudes

We can all agree that the development and maintenance of good Health and Safety attitudes is an important aspect of workplace Health and Safety. The correct attitude will provide you with the foundation on which you will implement interventions that will minimize hazards, prevent incidents, and create a safer, healthier workplace.

Here is a list of 6 strategies that you can employ:

1. Talk about Health and Safety. The more you talk about the importance of Health and Safety, the more you encourage discussion at management level, supervisory level, and employee level. The more you talk about OHS, the more you generate interest, inclusion, and the sharing of information. Just talking about occupational safety and health, draws attention to it and makes it important.

2. Encourage Health & Safety suggestions. Who knows their jobs better than the workers who perform them? It is important to listen to them. Encourage workers to talk to you about their ideas for making their jobs and other workers’ jobs safer. This approach not only produces some excellent ways to improve safety conditions and performance, but it also involves employees in the improvement process. Involvement creates buy-in.

3. Act promptly to correct hazards and improve safety conditions. Whenever you identify hazards or employees bring them to your attention, act promptly to correct the situation. Then take it a step farther and try to create an even safer situation. If you don’t get in there and fix safety problems-even the minor ones-right away, employees will think you don’t care, so why should they. If you ignore safety problems, so will employees.

4. Provide excellent Safety and Health training and information. Make sure employees have the skills, knowledge, and understanding they need to work safely and avoid incidents. Well-trained employees quickly develop good Health and Safety attitudes and make safety a priority.

5. Reward safe performance. Catch workers doing something safe and make a big deal about. Praise safe performance loud and clear for all to hear. When workers who have bad or so-so attitudes see that others are getting recognition for their good attitudes, they’ll want to get in on that, too.

Make it clear to employees and supervisors that safety performance is a key part of employee performance appraisals. When employees realize that raises, promotions, and other rewards depend on having a good safety attitude, they’re going to take workplace safety more seriously.

6. Set a positive example. Make sure that managers and supervisors throughout your workplace set a positive example and always exhibit a good Health & Safety attitude. Workers will notice and emulate their behavior.

Developing and maintaining good Safety & Health attitudes among employees is vital to the success of your OHS program.

One thought on “How to influence worker OHS attitudes

  1. Nice article. If I may add one more thing on that list. Visual awareness. Posters and newsletters and photos. A sort of “H&S is in your face non stop” approach. I find this works best. Bright and colourful posters work the best. People are always attracted to bright things taht catch their attention. Plain old boring black and white text procedures do not interest them. Rather take important points from a procedure relevant to a department/ area and brighten it up. Make it big and stick it up.

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