Every Health and Safety Manager aims for zero injuries, but how can your protective workwear contribute to the strong safety culture that will help you reach that goal? In this blog, we will focus on eight concrete ways to protect employees from potential risks by motivating them to correctly wear their protective clothing — and so reduce the number of injuries on your watch.
#1. Show that safety is in everyone's best interests.
If an operator is injured because he did not properly close his overall, there's much more at stake. An accident does not only cause physical harm to a person; it can also cause financial harm to the entire company, not to mention the impact on your reputation, employer branding (ability to attract new hires), and future business opportunities. That is why, regardless of team or department, everyone in your company should be investing in safety.
#2. Be transparent about accident numbers
The more specific you can get, the more real safety becomes. This is why some businesses openly display the number of accident-free days outside their facilities before you even enter through the security gate. Create an incentive for workers to correctly wear their protective clothing by leveraging company pride, and don't forget to celebrate your successes! Visible objectives are always more motivating.
#3. Build an emotional commitment
With an emotional focus on safety, you can assist your employees in discovering their self-motivation. For example, remind your employees each morning to promise their families that they will return home safely that night. Wearing their protective clothing correctly allows them to keep their promise to their loved ones.
#4. Focus on the wearer’s needs
While it may appear to be more efficient to launch a new protective clothing tender based on the same technical specifications as in the past, it is far more reasonable to assess your wearers' current needs (i.e. for good-looking, breathable garments they can move comfortably in). When you involve your employees early in the selection process and allow them to express their preferences, they are much more likely to wear protective clothing later on. Getting wearer buy-in is crucial for achieving zero injuries.
#5. Take every opportunity to educate
Perhaps your company holds a yearly Safety Day campaign, or perhaps you share best practices at quarterly meetings. Either way, experience has shown that repetition is the key to making safety education stick — the more frequently, the better! Try holding a daily standup meeting with your team, and always include a point about safety to keep it at the forefront of your mind throughout the day. When they choose not to wear proper protective clothing, they endanger their own lives.
#6. Create a safe space for feedback
A standup meeting is also an excellent opportunity to instill openness in your company's safety culture. Why don't people put on their protective clothing correctly? Because it's too hot, too heavy, or too uncomfortable. But how often do you welcome this kind of honest feedback from your employees? Allow them to raise any concerns that are preventing them from working comfortably and demonstrate that you appreciate their opinions.
#7. Help workers understand their protective clothing
Take the time to visit each department and clearly explain the features and benefits of the new garments when introducing a new line of protective clothing. If a welder has previously worn heavy garments made from traditional solutions, he may not feel safe wearing a comfortable lightweight FR jacket. He'll only confidently wear the new solution if he understands how it protects him.
#8. Activate collective behavior and responsibility
Self-preservation is a natural human instinct, but teamwork is ultimately the only way to achieve a zero-accident workplace. Encourage your employees to look out for one another and challenge one another if they see a rule being broken (as well as report it). Keeping everyone safe requires you to keep yourself safe, and vice versa.
The path to zero injuries starts here.
It all usually comes down to making your employees feel invested in their own safety as well as the safety of the people around them. Make an effort to raise their level of awareness about how to properly wear and care for their protective clothing and involve them at every step of the way by keeping their needs in mind. Then brace yourself to see your strong safety culture reflected in fewer injuries.