How to Keep Your Employees Safe

workplace safety

Safest workplaces are safe workplaces if they achieve the following:

As a leader, your number one responsibility is the safety of your employees and the safety of the business. Implement these 8 simple and yet effective strategies to ensure your employees are safe.


You must ensure everyone on the team is aware of safety rules immediately and is able to report unsafe behaviors instantly.

It is also important that when you receive unsafe behaviors, you have the ability to tell the employee who to notify, and how often, and what the consequences will be for violations of the safety rules.

It is also important that all rules be written in a way that makes it easy for the employee to understand and practice.

Periodic Safety Awareness Test

This goes hand in hand with safety training. If you aren’t careful, early unsafe behaviors or activities can occur without warning. Regardless of whether it’s something minor, like the ticket you hand out at the door, or something more serious, like code red, it is important that you look twice at the activity before you start to write it down. It’s not fair to allow someone to seven times a day to do something unsafe.

Visual Management

You can only know about and prevent unsafe behaviors and practices after you know what they are. Customers are much easier to spot after they leave the door. However, if you are getting little to no nose to nose conversations you can also see the other employee either engage in unsafe behaviors that you need to let them know about, or someone on the other side who may volunteer unsafe behavior.

Involve your employees

Once you institute an effective workplace safety program, this isn’t simply something you talk about. You must look at unsafe behaviors, unsafe conditions, unsafe practices by monitoring the behavior yourself, as well as by other employees. Incorporate an effective process for reporting of unsafe activities and behaviors during all work hours.

Timely corrective action

Integrity is key when addressing unsafe behaviors, practices, or working conditions. If you ever look at your treatment of the employee, or worse yet the situation yourself, the proper action must be taken when behaviors or practices are unsafe.


You cannot change behavior through a memo. There must be a written policy and procedure that clearly describes the safe working protocols along with the prescribed penalty policy for incidents that fall short of the standards.

Have a plan

Industry specific training or a formal corrective action program is in order if you want to maintain a high level of safety. Otherwise, you are just putting out a random inspection of the workplace. This is not an effective way to retain our top performing employees and instill confidence in the team.

The Two Words of unsafe

Safety drill

Most safety programs that incorporate an identification of unsafe behavior often translate to a fun and informative drill that employees participate in. A great way to kick off a program is to do the drill ” Safe Workplace Safe Working Conditions ” and ensure everybody understands the desired behavior. Limiting the message prior to actually doing the drill will further break the ice and get members into the specific behaviors required.

In addition, it is a good idea to set a time limit around your drill and then have another 30 or 60 minutes set aside for debriefing activity. If for some reason the drill goes over the planned time, make sure to debrief for at least another 30 or 60 minutes. The debriefing activity will allow the leaders to share how things went and to debrief follow up plans.

Always Positive

In third world countries, all safety is positive. Yes, some may take the shortest way to work somewhere else. However, workplace conventions encourage a positive approach instilling a belief that safety can be expected throughout your organization. For example, you may have a policy that any product that is damaged, missing, or worse, stolen from the company will be replaced for free. While this may seem like a great policy, it doesn’t readily translate into a positive one. What does the policy say to your employees? Unless it is crystal clear, your employees will interpret that as a good as good policy at any point.

Keep Them Informed

Providing employees with the proper information, and making it just as easy as possible for them to view the information, makes a difference. It is important to inform your employees what constitutes a safety hazard for your organization, and when a specific action must be taken to protect. Whether your list is represented by a sticker on the wall or PHsyx tabs, ensuring that every employee is informed of the safety awareness will cause less potential reporting of unsafe work conditions.

A Better Workplace Environment

Many times, people fear what is reality. This fear can cause hundreds of unsafe situations. The sooner you identify the problems, the safer you can be. Your upcoming safety assessment may save a life, and if you have a plan for finding and correcting root causes, you will have a completed audit with no adverse results. Keeping a safe culture is an absolute must. To achieve it, your company must start with a plan. A Time Out program can alleviate employee fear of catastrophic failure, and the safety audit brief will provide a valuable tool for that.

Employees must feel empowered

Ensure your employees are empowered, but also empowered at the same time. Develop programs so that employees are responsible for their own safety. During the audit, it is important to underline the abilities of employees. A secondary strategy for completing the audit is to get the entire staff together to change the culture from one of fear to one where the need for safeness and success will determine the type of action taken.

Remain aware and on the lookout

Wherever you go, your focus will be on safety. Keep your eyes on employees, work equipment, and surroundings for potential occupational hazards. Repairs need to be completed, and any important work procedures need to be reviewed. You should also have safety practices in place. A company of a similar size to your organization should have similar conversations with your company. Listening and having direct conversations even when the site isn’t your property is a sure way to find areas for improvement in safety. You can continue to review and revising these type of discussions and changes. It isn’t necessary to be the newest expert, the cheapest, or the company with the most advanced practices. Your goal is to have a consistent understanding. The successful companies know they don’t know.

Maintain safety culture regardless of the size of your organization. Consider adding cage to your woodworking facility or fenced areas to prevent vehicles from backing up. One of the most important steps to developing safe practices is to communicate these procedures to all employees. They need to understand what is acceptable for your company. Without the proper amount of new information, your policy statements will most likely not work.

Avoid the occasional catastrophic incident

Don’t let circumstances, and worse, an accident or incident change your work environment. If an accident matters more than the protection of your employees, then create a legal case in favor of the safety of your employees. Since so many circumstances come up for the occurred, you will want to have a comprehensive insurance program. Purchase business specific lists of what they may have done in the event of an incident. Some common accident Proofing Expense (CPA) exposures can be big costs when employees are injured. Without that insurance, you may be faced with significant damages, legal fees, and the loss of your data. This risk is something you don’t want happen. Make your workplace more safe with a documented insurance policy.

Practice safety 24/7

Smoking should be banned so that each employee has a visible sponsorship. Employees need to understand ways they can correctly recognize a fire or electrical hazard. You may want to consider specific location of the wheelchair ramp or bathroom. If you are a larger company, buy or rent signs. Start a safety program that requires employees use a specific yelling light or loud alarm as the last resort. Before you bring in the maintenance, repair crew, or clean up team, you should make sure they understand the action they will take.

Post and communicate relevant emergency notifications. Giant prints fool insurance can be hazardous situations. Indicate the process and give employees a sign prior to the scaffolding dangers or unsafe areas. Use vinyl decals or signs above lights and continue to remind them of their responsibilities.