16/06/2004

Employee attitudes - A must have

Employee behavior is arguably one of the greatest determinants in workplace
safety, especially as employees interact amid a host of varying safety issues.
But what determines employee behavior? The answer is attitude.

In the June issue of Occupational Health & Safety, Dina Schultz, vice president
of operations for Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, discusses the importance
of employee attitude in keeping workers injury-free and the challenge of
getting workers to embrace safety. "Employees don't seem to have caught on to
the importance of their attitude keeping them safe at work," she writes. "A
recent national study showed that 64 percent of Americans don't think a
workplace injury will happen to them, and nearly 70 percent say they think
about themselves or a loved one getting injured on the job only a few times a
year or less."

So what is a concerned safety manager to do? According to Schultz, you can't
change employees' attitudes overnight. The process must start at the top, with
a cultural change that begins with top management stressing that safety is a
top priority. In addition, she writes, safety must be considered a team goal.
Workers must feel that they have a role to play in keeping their fellow
employees safe.

Once a safety culture is established, tools including monitoring employee
behavior, safety coordinators and committees, training and outside advice can
be employed to keep everyone's attitude focused on safety. Employee
responsibility and ownership for safety throughout an organization is critical
to creating a safe environment. Once this mile marker is reached, the company
is well on its way to an effective safety program.

Further Information


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