Having a Passion For Workplace Safety

Gwen Catherine

Are you passionate about safety in your workplace?

Passion is the driving force of success. When one is passionate about his work, then it shows in all his interactions. Passion gives the determination to overcome obstacles to success. Passion keeps you going through the rough times.

So how do you get passionate about what you do? If you are currently working for someone else, then it may be hard to find the passion in that job. However, there are likely some aspects about he job that you can feel passionate about.

For example, if you are responsible for the safety in your organization, then you might feel passionate about making the workplace a more enjoyable place for people to work. People tend to enjoy working more in a place where the feel safe and secure. In fact, one of the main reasons people have jobs as an employee instead of venturing out on their own is that they prefer to feel safe and secure.

Many employees trust their employers to keep them safe on the job. They take very little responsibility for their own safety. So as an employer, you have a duty to do your best to keep your employees as safe as possible.

These people literally trust you with their lives. So it would be helpful for the person responsible for their safety to be passionate about keeping them safe.

So what does a plant look like where the managers are passionate about keeping their employees safe?

I envision such a plant as being neatly organized, well lighted and inviting. Employees have clear expectations about what they are supposed to be doing. Employees have been well trained in all aspects of their job. They have clear concise work instructions that tell them exactly how to operate their machinery or perform their tasks in the safest and most productive manner.

There are no compromises between safety and productivity because the safest and most productive method of producing high quality products has already been established and taught to the people. The employees do not try to take unsafe shortcuts because they were involved in the procedure writing process and already know that the established procedure is the best way to do the job. They have also been following the procedure long enough for it to become a habit. They don’t just follow the procedure when the supervisor is watching; they follow it all the time because it is the best way.

Having a passion for safety means really caring about your people and your operation. If you take care of your people, they will be more productive and also care about your business and your profitability.

By involving employees in the process of establishing the standard procedures, you give them a sense of ownership and responsibility. You also let them know that you care. Forcing employees to follow a procedure written by managers often leads to resentment and rebellion. Everyone wants to feel as if their opinion is important. Give them the opportunity to provide input into the procedure writing process and you will invoke their passion as well.

Most employees will be passionate about something. By focusing their passion on helping you create better work instructions, you can avoid having them direct their passions to grievances. In fact many potential grievances will be addressed even before they exist if you give employees a mechanism to feel involved in the decision making process.

Just remember that it is always the responsibility of the management to ensure that the workers are kept safe. Managers have to have the last word in the procedure approval process to ensure that the needs of quality, productivity and safety are ultimately met. Having poorly written procedures can be worse than no procedures at all.

As conditions change in the workplace, so must the procedures change to adapt. If someone develops a new and possibly better way of doing things, the procedures must change to reflect the latest practice. New equipment and new customer demands can also change a process. A management of change system must be in place to ensure that procedures continue to perform the task of motivating and instructing the workers.

Audits are also important to ensure that the procedures really do reflect the current work practices. Changing the focus of an audit from seeing if procedures are being followed to one of seeing if the procedures correctly reflect the current best practice is empowering to the employees. No longer do audits seem punitive, but are motivating as employees see your passion for keeping things current and safe.

By expressing your passion for your work and for employee safety through real and visible actions, you can not only have a more satisfying job for yourself, but you can also create a much better work environment for others. And serving others is what passion is always about anyway.

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