Your farm-safety program doesn’t have to be complicated, but, for it to work, everyone in the operation needs to buy into it. These seven steps will help you convince managers and employees to take ownership of the safety program and drive the safety agenda.
1. Get everyone on the same page.
You should do this before anything else. Use frequent, consistent communication to help everyone—owners, managers, full- and part-time employees—understand that the program is ultimately about worker health and safety. It’s not about you; it’s about them.
2. Make a company culture shift.
To successfully run a farm-safety program, you need to integrate safety throughout your entire operation and make it part of how you conduct business. Processes, procedures, training programs, operation manuals and management planning sessions all need to contain aspects of safety.
3. Encourage ownership and involvement.
Employees are naturally motivated to improve safety. Many of them have seen what can happen when safety is compromised. Actively search for opportunities to involve employees, such as safety strategy and planning sessions, and ask questions about how they want to manage safety. Pay attention to what employees have to say. Respond to and resolve the issues they identify. Show people that they can make an impact.
4. Find your true believers.
The managers and employees who are convinced that the program works to keep them safe on the farm will be your best salespeople. For example, you can plan a talk by an employee whose sight was saved because he wore safety glasses. He’ll motivate his fellow employees to get involved.
5. Set clear expectations, and show management commitment.
Managers should communicate safety expectations to the staff and then, visibly support these expectations during facility tours, training sessions and other meetings.
6. Expect accountability, and provide positive consequences.
Predetermine consequences at all levels for following or breaking agreed-upon safety policies and procedures. Safety programs typically motivate people to avoid negative consequences, such as injury or discipline. Providing positive consequences for desired behaviors in the form of sincere acknowledgement from peers and managers motivates employees to be proactive about safety.
7. Show results.
When people begin to see positive results by eliminating hazards around your farm operation, they will all want to get on board. You will end up with a waiting list of employees ready to contribute to safety committees and other activities.
Getting management and employee buy-in is just one part of how to run a farm-safety program. To learn even more, download The Beginner’s Guide to Running a Farm-Safety Program, a free ebook from Good Day’s Work.