Topic Employee Benefits,

Improving Your Safety Culture with HR Outsourcing

Improving Your Safety Culture with HR Outsourcing

Originally published March 29, 2021

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 field or factory work.

Companies should protect their employees' safety in offices with the best possible resources – which includes an HR outsourcing partner trained to help create and maintain a culture of safety. 

In this post, we’ll discuss how HR outsourcing can be a helpful guide to developing and implementing a culture of safety and what that looks like in companies.

Understanding Safety Culture

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, you must do more to make a workplace safe. You can't force workplace safety with requirements, demands, and negative reinforcement. Taking it further to develop a strong safety culture helps turn safety compliance into a positive that makes safety easier to maintain. 

The Characteristics of a Strong Safety Culture 

A strong safety culture requires these elements: 

  • Prioritization: A safety culture won't be maintained by short-term initiatives. Make it clear that a safety culture is a long-term priority by making it a topic that won't be dropped to the bottom of the list or pushed to the next quarter. 
  • Leadership buy-in: This is a subset of prioritization. Leaders across multiple departments must be willing to put safety education and safety culture above any other priorities in their department. Only this will signal to employees that they can add to the safety culture without an opportunity cost or retribution. 
  • Knowledge: Training courses, educational materials, and experts are a required element to build, monitor, scale, and improve every safety culture. 
  • Feedback and cooperation: Just like there must be leadership buy-in, there must be employee buy-in. The best way to secure it is by having employees meaningfully engage with it. Feedback, easy processes for suggesting improvements, and communication tools should be part of your safety culture. 
  • Establish safety plans: The individuals primarily responsible for your safety culture should have a plan for its initiatives, training, discipline systems, and onboarding new hires.  

An HR outsourcing partner is an excellent source for many of these required attributes of a strong safety culture. Their expertise can guide you through the process, making it simpler for your team to implement and helping you avoid any glaring oversights.

Developing safety culture with HR outsourcing

How HR Outsourcing Partner Improves 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: 

Create a World-Class Safety Program 

HR outsourcing partners are safety culture experts and can quickly help your company build safety procedures that are entrenched in universal best practices and personalized to your business's unique needs. They do so with these two elements: 

Empowering Employees

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 about raising concerns. 

Offer Training and Education 

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. 

OSHA Compliance Assistance 

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. 

Implementing Return-to-Work Programs 

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 re-injury. It improves the safety culture by showing your company is invested in your employees' long-term health and safety. 

Provide Employees With Effective Safety Knowledge and Resources 

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.  

Improve Employee Communication 

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.  

Bolster Your Safety Culture With HR Outsourcing 

Achieving a safer workplace with fewer risks requires time, effort, and a culture rooted in safety. This isn't an easy task. Your HR outsourcer can help support your company by providing trained expertise, resources, and organizational tools to build a thriving safety culture. They have the expertise and know-how to develop your safety programs to keep your company safe and compliant.

An improved safety culture keeps your people safe – making them feel protected and supported – but it also helps you lower your liability and risk management.

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