An accident-free work environment does not stem solely from respecting occupational health and safety (OHS) standards. You must be able to rely on the genuine commitment of each employee of the organization. In order for your workplace to become as safe as possible, “accident prevention must naturally be integrated into the behaviour of the employees,” specifies Alain Daoust, EHS Expertise Director at SPI. In short, an OHS culture must take root within your company.
And what can you gain?
In addition to reducing the accidents (sometimes dramatic), this culture will bring many advantages. Here are a few:
1. Increasingly, employees are looking for an improved quality of work life. This way, you will raise your attractiveness and your retention rate.
2. A company where OHS is controlled internally is usually a well-managed organization. This is considered a good management indicator.
3. To reduce your costs. Each accident affects your productivity and can reduce your direct and indirect costs that can amount to thousands of dollars.
And it’s mandatory
The Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety in Quebec clearly states in Article 51 what are the employer’s obligations. The fifth paragraph specifies that every employer must “use methods and techniques intended for the identification, control and elimination of risks to the safety or health of the worker.”
How can we do it?
In that situation, how can we implement a culture that will ensure optimal OHS? Alain Daoust comments that the change has to come from the top “like parents, we must lead by example.” We should promote it AND live it. There can’t be a culture change if we don’t do it this way.”
At this step, do not hesitate to consult with professionals who will be able to guide and support you throughout the cultural change process.
However, once you have taken the path toward prevention, you have to stay on course! To confirm this culture, follow-up mechanisms will have to be put in place. Precise requirements must be specified for each hierarchical level of the organization, and each of these levels will be held accountable. These requirements will include a periodical risk review. Ideally, the leaders will also be the main drivers of this implementation.
The implementation process can take a long time to complete. You will know if this culture is going to stay when the employees start getting involved in the process and apply more transparency. If everyone participates and prevention becomes second nature, we can now speak of an OHS culture.
To help you implement such a culture, SPI is there for you. We can provide the coaching for your management team, offer the services of our specialized team to guide you through the process as well as provide you with practical tools to help manage your risks.