March 29, 2021 | By Christie Obrien
On-the-job safety applies to every job. While safety concerns might commonly be associated with high-risk jobs like construction and mining work, office jobs are held to the same standard of safety for every employee. Fire safety, equipment safety, and best practices to reduce the risk of injury apply to corporate jobs just as much as fieldwork, and offices should protect their employees' safety with the best possible resources. This includes an HR outsourcing partner trained to help create and maintain a culture of safety.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines safety culture as:
"[the] shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment [about safety]. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior."
By putting a safety culture in place and constantly building on it with employee buy-in, your company can create a proactively and cooperatively safe work environment for everyone. Your employees need the resources, education, and motivation to create safe behaviors.
While establishing rules and having the physical tools to maintain a safe environment are essential, they're not enough to make a workplace safe. You can't force workplace safety with requirements, demands, and negative reinforcement. A strong safety culture helps turn safety compliance into a positive that makes safety easier to maintain.
A strong safety culture requires these elements:
An HR outsourcing partner is an excellent source for many of these required attributes of a strong safety culture.
Whether your internal team doesn't know how to build a robust safety culture or doesn't have time to take on the project, an HR outsourcing partner can create the program and help it stay on track. Outsourcing partners bring these strengths to the table:
HR outsourcing partners with safety culture experts can quickly help your company build a safety culture that's both entrenched in universal best practices and personalized to your business's unique needs. They do so with these two elements:
Good safety culture programs start with available processes and resources for employees to give feedback, address concerns, and make their opinions known. HR experts can roll out these processes immediately with tested mechanisms for helping employees feel comfortable being honest.
Third-party HR services can provide training modules, on-site classes, safety manuals, and other resources for both managers and employees. It's important to use proper materials that satisfy any applicable requirements and regulations for hazards in your business's workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to develop safety standards and enforce those standards. Your safety culture and programs should ensure your employees are knowledgeable about any standards that impact their work. A third-party HR and safety expert will know what standards your business is accountable to, how to establish compliance, and how to prove compliance in the event of an audit or investigation.
Even with robust safety cultures, accidents happen and injuries may occur. Build your safety culture with the tools and resources for injured employees to return to work. Return to Work programs establish protocols for time off, returning to work with part-time hours or lighter duties, and getting rehabilitated so employees can enjoy a healthy return to work. This gives employees a return to income and normal life without rushing recovery and risking reinjury. This improves the safety culture by showing your company is invested in your employees' long-term health and safety.
Training and knowledge resources aren't enough — access is crucial for every safety culture to succeed. When you partner with an HR outsourcing organization, you gain immediate use to time-tested web portals, online resources, and vetted safety manuals that your employees need to stay educated.
Ultimately, a strong safety culture prioritizes communication, and an outsourced HR partner can help with that. They act as a third party to mediate communications between employees and management, provide knowledgeable answers, and have the resources and training to strengthen relationships throughout your company.
Achieving a safer workplace with fewer risks requires time, effort, and a culture rooted in safety. This isn't an easy task. HR outsourcing can help support your company by providing trained expertise, resources, and organizational tools to build a thriving safety culture.