Improving Safety In Your Workplace


I wrote earlier about reward bonuses as a means for improving and motivating leadership in safety. Leadership is often used as the example on how to improve safety – because it is. Without the support of the boss, or senior managers, you are pushing the proverbial uphill. However, the first stage to improve safety is to acknowledge you have a problem: ‘Hi, my name is Joe’s Business and I have a safety problem.’ Or the positive spin is to recognising the potential to improve.

Honestly, however that motivation is derived does not matter –whether a legal shake up, want to get a reduced ACC levy, concern over morale or a head office dictate etc is to my mind almost irrelevant because it’s the DOING that counts. I liken it to my Dad learning how to put on his seatbelt. For years he used to always just drape the shoulder strap over his shoulder, because to a following cop it would like the seat belt was on. To us <10 year old kids this seemed like madness and we couldn’t understand why he didn’t just click in the belt. So we started working on him. There were questions about why he did what he did, why we have to wear belts and he doesn’t, what would happen in a crash. Then we just started reaching over and doing up the belt and eventually he started wearing his seatbelt. I never forgot this growing up and it was my first lesson in people. He didn’t want to click his seatbelt because of some nanny-state law telling him he had to – it was his way of giving the bird. But the coaching method did work; finding out what was important to him, and then making it unacceptable in our eyes not to wear a seatbelt.

The lessons apply equally today for people in a workplace safety situation. If you are the person trying to get your business to acknowledge ‘they have a safety problem’, you do not know which angle will work. A business is made up of people who are all different – so you need to find different means to encourage and teach the people within the company. Maybe they need the blunt approach – the law says this, you do it. Wear this safety equipment or you won’t be employed here. May be for managers the dollar incentives will appeal. Maybe the emotions of looking after your people and getting them home safely will motivate people.


At Safety Hub we have a series of newsletters you can sign up to as well as the website to help determine ways to motivate. Improving safety can only happen by acknowledging you have a problem and then having the urgency to take action.