In fact, according to a recent release from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 45,800 fewer recordable workplace injuries and illnesses reported by employers in 2017. And data also shows that there’s been a steady improvement rate across industry sectors for the last 14 years.
Of course, this all boils down to fewer injuries, worker’s compensation claims, and days away from work – ensuring your employees can feel safe and be more productive, and helping your organization bolster its business.
From better technology to increasing health and safety commitments, there are a myriad of reasons why work environments are safer than they were a decade ago. But we’d also wager that your contributions to guiding and managing compliance, and employee training and engagement have been big helpers.
But now is not the time to sit back and rest on your laurels. If you want the EHS momentum to continue within your own organization, you need to stay focused. Below we offer some strategic and tactical advice to help you on your way.
1. Audit your EHS strategy
EHS isn’t just about compliance; compliance is the minimum. A successful EHS strategy not only helps mitigate risk and decrease workplace injuries, but it also helps engage employees in regular health and safety best practices. And creating a culture of EHS within your organization can help ensure that EHS becomes a part of your employees’ everyday lives.
Even if you think EHS is working like a well-oiled machine, we recommend regularly reviewing your existing strategy and the data you have at your disposal. Gather your team and ask:
- What’s working and what’s not?
- Where are our greatest opportunities to gain momentum?
- Where do our greatest risk points exist?
A safer work environment is a more productive work environment. And a productive work environment leads to a healthier business and more provable EHS value.
2. Renew your investments in ongoing training
Ongoing EHS training is critical to the continued success of your programs and compliance. Not only does ongoing training ensure your employees are apprised of the latest policy changes or best practices, but it also keeps EHS top of mind — contributing to that culture of safety.
Work with your human resources department to build or refine a formal process around continual learning and training. In addition, consider incorporating new hands-on exercises or activities to spur better engagement.
For example, consider adding exercises that are designed to improve observational skills. The goal here is to improve hazard recognition, arm employees with the right steps to mitigate the issue, and empower them to take action.
3. Double down on employee engagement
Employees, whether they be part of the leadership team or in the daily execution trenches, are the ones who are vulnerable to workplace safety risks – and they have the power to mitigate them.
But in order to take action, employees need to understand what EHS is, why it’s important, and how they can play a meaningful role. They need to be sold on it, which means you should focus on creating a tailored employee engagement strategy. We suggest taking steps to:
- Position EHS as a benefit, not an obligation;
- Add context around EHS in employees’ everyday lives;
- Praise and share the good work being done.
Beyond creating compelling EHS messaging and sharing wins, consider adding an element of flair and fun. For example, sponsor a regular, informal, on-site activity such as a lunch and learn or doughnut day, invest in EHS swag, or add a gamification element to your program that encourages participation. (…)
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