Implementing Safety and Risk Control Programs: The Art of Execution

Implementing Safety and Risk Control Programs: The Art of Execution

So, you’ve created a robust safety and risk control program. But how do you transition from a document to full implementation in your organization?

Creating a safety and risk control program is difficult enough (unless you are using our software-we make that part easy) but implementing it in your organization can seem like an impossible task if you don’t have a strategy.

Implementation is where the real magic (and challenge) lies. It’s not about simply having policies (that is where you start), but it’s about embedding them deep into the fabric of your workplace. Let’s delve into the “how.”

1. Master the Basics

Get the Basics Right. Ensure every employee, from the CEO to the intern, understand the foundational elements of your program. Everyone should understand, commit to, and know the basics.

  • Frequent Refreshers: Regularly remind everyone of the core tenets of safety and risk control. Routine is the mother of retention. Safety meetings, regular training, and micro-learning are great ways to do this. My favorite micro-learning app is 7taps. With it, you can roll out 2-minute micro-classes on a weekly or monthly basis that keep safety top of mind.

  • Visible Reminders: Use posters, digital screens, and reminders to keep the basics front and center. Change these often because they blend into the background after a while, and people ignore them.

2. Alignment: More than just Buy In

Alignment isn’t just about getting passive agreement; it’s about actively involving everyone in the organization. For a program to work:

  • Leadership Matters: Employees will follow if leaders lead. It’s that simple. When higher-ups actively participate in safety training and uphold standards, it sets a benchmark for everyone else. Leadership’s behavior isn’t just observed; it’s replicated.

  • Employee Engagement: Engage with employees early and communicate the benefits of the new program. Focus on getting the team pulling in the same direction. Create a safety committee, and have a forum for feedback (more on that later). Safety is a team sport; everyone must participate. Making employees stakeholders rather than just observers will create positive energy around this process. Persuade, don’t push. There are lots of good reasons why you are implementing these programs. Explain that to the employees.

3. Embrace Change, Step by Step

Change can be daunting. Take it step by step:

  • Educate: Help everyone understand the ‘why’ behind the change. When people understand the ‘why,’ they’re more receptive to the ‘how.’

  • Empower: From seminars to hands-on training, ensure everyone has the tools to succeed. When they’re prepared, they’re engaged.

  • Feedback: Employees want to be heard; open the channels and allow them to discuss their reservations. Celebrate and act on constructive feedback; use surveys, suggestion boxes, and open-door policies. You want your programs to improve over time. I can’t tell you the number of fantastic suggestions I have received from front-line employees over the years. Bonus, if you listen, they will know you care.

4. Dangle the Carrot – Incentives Matter

Humans, by nature, respond to incentives. Let’s harness this:

  • Celebrate Milestones: Recognize and reward safety achievements. Everyone loves a pat on the back. Design awards for departments that consistently uphold safety protocols. It could be as simple as an extra day off or a team lunch.

  • Spotlight Stars: Those who lead in safety and risk control? Make them your heroes and elevate them. Monthly Safety Champion awards can motivate employees to go that extra mile; recognition is a potent motivator.

5. Care – And Show It

Genuine care is a great motivator. Show it by:

  • Make the Investments: If you want to build trust with employees, quickly give your employees the tools and equipment they need. Whether it’s ergonomic office chairs or new safety equipment, invest. When employees see tangible investments in their well-being, they feel valued.

  • Well-Being Above All: I have investigated numerous accidents where an employee admitted they were distracted. We are all humans, and we have things that can distract us from the task at hand. Safety isn’t just physical. Consider a wellness program or counseling services. A holistic approach to safety creates a sense that you genuinely care.

6. Be Relentless

This isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing commitment. Stick with it, refine, adapt, and persevere.

  • Regular Audits: Periodically review safety measures, ensuring they’re up to date and effective.

  • Continuous Improvement: Your safety and risk control programs should evolve. Stay updated with the latest in safety protocols and risk control. Always be in the ‘improve’ mode.

7. Clear Expectations

If there’s one thing that can make or break your program, it’s clear expectations. Everyone should be crystal clear about the following:

  • Their Role: Define it. Use clear job descriptions and regular reviews to ensure employees know their safety responsibilities.

  • The Process: Detail it. Create procedures based on your policies and ensure they’re easily accessible. Regular walkthroughs help everyone understand what it means in practice. Use SOPs (standard operating procedures) to define procedures step by step.

  • The Vision: Share it. Share success stories, statistics, and testimonials. Let everyone see the bigger picture and their place in it.

8. Clarity and Consistency: The two sides of the same coin

While rewards are motivating, clear consequences for not adhering ensure accountability. Make it consistent. Make it fair.

  • Transparent Guidelines: Outline consequences for safety violations. Ambiguity can lead to grievances. This process should be outlined in your disciplinary policy.

  • Consistent Implementation: Whether it’s a manager or a new hire, the requirements outlined in your program must be applied uniformly. No exceptions…fairness builds respect.

Developing a safety and risk control program is a great start, but making a safety and risk control program work is all about commitment and relentless implementation. So, turn that page, light a fire (not literally), and let’s implement a first-class safety and risk control program that works for your organization.