Identifying Cultural Hazards at Safety+

Safety isn't necessarily a common core value within companies, but with a little expectation management and communication, it could be.

Within every company, there are values that employers want their employees to exemplify. Respect, loyalty, boldness, integrity, trust and passion are just a few. At VPPPA's Safety+ Symposium in New Orleans, La. last week, session speaker Rodney Grieve explained that these values are sometimes not clearly defined, leaving employees and employers wondering where in the world it all went wrong, especially when it comes to the safety of the workers. 

Grieve, a safety leadership speaker from BRANTA Worldwide, told attendees at the symposium that safety isn't necessarily a common core value within companies, but with a little expectation management and communication, it could be. 

To explain his point, Grieve had attendees partner up and curl their fingers around their partner's with their thumbs turned upwards. Attendees immediately started to laugh and begin to pin down their partner's thumb as they realized they were in the classic, "Thumb War" stance. Grieve pointed this out. He hadn't asked anyone to play Thumb War, but they knew exactly what to do. Why? Because it was based on experience.

"Just because you have loyalty and respect listed as a core value with your company, doesn't mean your employees are going to have the same definition of respect and value as you do," Grieve said in his session titled, Identifying Cultural Hazards: Four Clues You Are Out of Balance. "Your employee, based on his own experiences, might take respect and loyalty to mean protecting his buddy at all costs, even if it means he is not being safe on the job."

In a survey, Gallup reported that only 50 percent of employees understand their expectations from their managers. Grieve argued that posting signs and banners reminding employees of safety procedures and rules was not going to help employees understand their safety expectations any better. Only when safety leaders being to effectively and positively communicate their expectations with employees will everyone begin to be on the same page.

"Safety leaders must talk about safety as it relates to their core values," Grieve said. "This then allows employees to hold their leaders accountable cutting down on the issue some company have where employees believe management only does something about safety after someone gets hurt."

Grieve explained that by finding a balance within your communication on safety is the best way to identify safety expectations and the first step in creating a more effective safety culture.

 

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Incident investigation guide

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2020

    July August 2020

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Why Daily Wear FR Garments Make Sense No Matter the Season
    • HAND PROTECTION
      The Magic of New Technology
    • CHEMICAL SAFETY
      Why Effective Chemical Safety Training is More Important Than Ever
    View This Issue