OSH Prevention Better Than Emergency Response

Before OSH, for centuries people intuitively knew that it was better to stop things you don’t want happening, than deal with the fallout. ‘A stitch in time saves times’ I can remember my mother saying. Or the famous ‘Preventions is better than cure’ by Benjamin Franklin. I’m sure if we could go further back in time we’d find many such wise words of wisdom that were used in the home long before they applied to the OSH workplace.

So how do we apply OSH in the workplace today? Basically, we do so by having strict laws at a government level, or reward companies for better safety performance. The idea is if a business cannot see the OSH benefits themselves, then the government will use the carrot and the stick approach to ensure OSH is implemented.

Having got a business to this point, a point which has a system in place and an interest (vice a preferred passion!) for doing right by the workers, than something new is required. To improve OSH performance than we have to change the OSH culture within the business and one way to do that is get the employees involved. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

Give an award – People like positive recognition. I read a book called ‘Whale Done’ which was all about how businesses got motivated when their people were positively recognised. In the story a small whale on an office table was grabbed and given; the whale a the symbol of a ‘Well Done’. Give a person or a team an OSH award of some kind, remembering it’s the sentiment not the actual award which is important. It doesn’t even have to be a public award – give someone a handshake in your office, or quietly at the workplace as personal thanks.

Award a Dinner voucher. Maybe this can be picked from those that had received a ‘Whale Done’ type award over the year. Or month. Some companies give away a monthly $50 movie voucher or even a day off! Go ahead and ask your employees now; what reward or recognition would help them move your OSH safety performance now?