Are You Encouraging Your Employees to be Safe at Work?


Having a safe work environment is one of many top priorities of any organization. It is the responsibility of the employer to empower their employees to operate safely on the job. This can be through safety impact programs, employee training and/or instilling safety measures from day one. It’s important that employees are equipped with the tools they need to be safe at work at all times. Below we highlight measures employers can take to empower a safety culture in their organization.

Four Tenets to Empower a Safety Culture

  1. Traditional approach:
    • Eliminate and isolate workers from physical hazards
    • Provide proper training in conjunction with other methods of instilling safety measures
  2. Non-occupational hazards:
    • Comorbidity risks and physical capabilities
      • Employees with the following characteristics are at an increased risk of work related injuries including strains:
        • Obese
        • Smoker
        • Diabetic
        • Disabled
  1. Policies and procedures:
    • Documentation that demonstrates how a company should operate
  2. Company operations:
    • Leadership and management strategies that promote safety through observed behaviors and direction
    • Financial impact should be considered

Leadership and Management – Be Safe and Lead Safe

Employers should take a top down approach to safety and focus on the fact that employee protection is crucial. And with good safety controls in place, training becomes educational. It’s vital to educate employees on policies surrounding why safety is important in their day to day work functions. On the other hand, employees are expected to be able to perform their jobs using  their best judgment to operate safely within their limits. They are not only expected to produce high quality work but to also exhibit safe working behaviors which in turn contribute to an organization that thrives. Part of being an exceptional employee is adhering to safety standards and using your best judgment when on the job. There are three main factors that can impact an organization should employees disregard proper safety measures.

  • Organizational Impact:
    • Brand - Each employee represents your organization and brand. Just as when something good happens to heighten brand awareness, accidents and injuries can leave a negative impression of a brand (e.g.  a vehicle accident hitting the news with your organization’s  name clearly on one of the vehicles).
    • Safety - Accidents and injuries lead to loss producing claims and that cost impacts the ultimate cost of producing your products or delivering your services. Higher expenses drive product costs up and you become less competitive.  Careful investment in risk control and prevention can lower overall losses and give you a competitive advantage.
    • Liability - Safety does not only apply to your employees. Products and services can expose the general public and your customers to personal injury.  In promoting a safe culture within the organization, this can extend to product design, instructions, and the way you deliver services.  Here the return is lowering the organization’s risk of liability claims and is one more way to demonstrate a leading safety culture.

Overall, employers have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that they promote a safe work culture and environment at all times. It is up to the leadership team to set the example. The organization must effectively educate, train and communicate with their employees on the proper safety measures necessary to effectively manage their work lives. This includes conducting training, providing procedural documentation and/or implementing safety impact programs. Learn about how PMA’s Risk Control solutions can help your organization develop a solid safety plan.

Jack Aspen, Vice President, Risk Control Services

Jack Aspen is the Vice President of Risk Control Services of PMA Companies. He leads PMA risk control operations, providing loss prevention guidance and expertise to its field risk control, underwriting, and claims service areas.