When I was going through a VPP inspection with OSHA the inspector in charge told me “I should be able to stand anywhere in the facility and see signage that tells me where the exit is, the first aid is, and some sort of safety awareness”. This always struck me and after auditing hundreds of locations, I can see the difference in culture between places with little safety promotion and those who go all out in safety promotions.
What are Safety Promotions
Safety promotions can be awareness materials, actual promotion items, kickoffs, program-specific promotions, or incentives.
I am not going to talk about incentives here, but you can head on over to the couple of blog posts I wrote about creating proactive safety incentives.
The Importance of Safety Promotions
Safety promotions should be part of your overall safety program. We say that safety is a part of everyone’s job and that it shouldn’t be separated from other activities. But that doesn’t mean to forgo the safety specific promotions.
If you think about it all of the departments have some sort of promotion going on. It could be goals for operations or the latest benefits for HR.
The purpose of the safety promotion is to bring awareness to the subject. If you recently did a safety training, your safety promotion can become part of your follow-up plan to reinforce the training topic.
In safety, we are competing with a lot of ingrained bad behaviors. It takes doing more than just having a policy to break through the habits people were raised with.
Various ways to promote Safety
- Safety Signage is Safety Promotions – This could be the data plates on machines or the load weight on racking. All that regulatory signage needs to be in excellent condition and in place. Putting up more than what is required is never a bad idea
Direction signs are another way to promote safety – “This way to the SDS’s”
- Safety Awareness Materials – These are your posters, banners, table tents, bulletin boards, and break room monitors. Always update these regularly and rotate the locations of your posters. The brain is attracted to new information, the more you change them, the more likely they are to notice it.
- Personalize your Safety Promotion – Add in a safety section to the company newsletter or have a safety newsletter. Include training information and how they can take your latest safety meeting topic and apply it at home. Make your articles relatable to the work they are doing and they are more likely to read it.
- Safety Celebrations – annually, quarterly, or monthly celebrate how safe they are working. Don’t apply numbers to it, such as when we hit 100 days we’re going to have a party; this hurts morale and hides safety problems. But just celebrate safety. You can do it based on compliance with safe work practices if you want to give them a goal. But unexpected safety celebrations go off well too.
- Kickoffs and Promotions – Whenever you have a new program or following your latest safety training, promoting it will reinforce your training. In marketing, they say that you need to show the customer the information 7 times before they will buy into it. That goes for safety programs too.
Safety Promotions Should be an Ongoing Part of Your Program
As you are planning your regular tasks or your monthly safety meetings, work in how you will promote safety. This could be a weekly task to change the posters, monthly to change the table tents; or a promotional kick off after the meeting.
Just be sure you add something in, otherwise, your training will be seen as just another checkmark on the regulatory requirements and not an effective behavior change.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
I want to hear about how you promote safety in your facility. Leave a comment below and share how you build safety awareness in your facility. And, don’t forget to click one of those fancy share buttons to let you Best Safety Friend know about this week’s episode.
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.