Like pretty well anything else in life, an effective safety culture has to start with motivation. As we all know, motivation can come from different directions…
Countries with a basic regard for human life have government ‘watch dogs’ that monitor, evaluate and enforce workplace safety. This is the big stick waved to convince us that worker safety really matters.
In New Zealand we have WorkSafe New Zealand, a Crown regulatory agency, established in December 2013, to promote the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
The Health and Safety at Work Act of 2015 (HSWA) sets out the principles, duties and rights in relation to workplace health and safety.
A Healthy Safety Culture
Here we really cut through the clutter of data, threats, fines and penalties.
Instead of edicts from on high, a state of mind develops from the inside out.
Of course, management has to take charge – it would be irresponsible not to.
But think of all the happenings in a warehouse on any given day, while Mr Manager is possibly closeted in his office.
Who is Responsible to Build an Effective Safety Culture?
The quick answer is EVERYONE.
The longer answer takes more thought.
This stands for a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking.
It's a broad concept used throughout HSWA to describe all types of modern working arrangements which we commonly refer to as businesses. The buck stops here.
1) The Warehouse Manager
Obviously this person has a wide range of responsibilities, but in reality, every one of his/her tasks need to be handled in the light of health and safety. As orders pass through the system it’s up to him to ensure that the right equipment for the job is not only available but that it is actually used.
He knows what materials handling equipment is on the floor, and whether it is able for the loads demanded of it. He would have a handle on lighting, aisle widths, etc. In a smaller outfit he may have to take on the roles and responsibilities of the Occupational Health and Safety Manager.
2) The Occupational Health and Safety Manager
This is the one who really has to have a pulse on everything that’s going on in the warehouse.
This manager will develop a safety strategy for the warehouse, including the incorporation of best practices and the provision of a comprehensive risk analysis. He will also evaluate details such as adequate lighting, aisle widths, barriers, access equipment, safety equipment etc.
3) General Warehouse Workers
Never underestimate this resource. These are the boots-on-the-ground people who are most vulnerable to accidents.
ENCOURAGE them to share their ideas about safety issues and listen when they give input. After all, they’re more involved with the dangers than you are. The team approach benefits everyone.
EDUCATE. Instill safety principles and instigate good work habits.
EMPHASIZE the importance of pre-shift equipment checks.
REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR – you can’t count on all staff spotting dangers – look out for each other.
To quote WorkSafe: …recognising that worker engagement and participation in health and safety is one of the most effective and productive ways of identifying and finding solutions to managing risk.
4) Government Agencies
These can give you a bit of a ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ type of feeling, but think about this Vision Statement from WorkSafe:
That everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe
What could be simpler, more reasonable, and more motivating than this?
Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, willingness and goals
TELL DEXTERS WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT ABOUT YOUR CHALLENGES