I was talking to some clients the other day. They are a fair sized manufacturer and we have been implementing a new safety management system into their business. The first was with one of the management team, and the conversation went a little like this
Client: I can’t wait to get this system fully implemented
Me : Why’s that?
Client: Because it will make everyone accountable, we will be able to see what everyone is responsible for and if it is actually getting done. The guys on the floor won’t be able to avoid things like they have previously.
A little while later I was talking with one of the floor staff and the conversation went like this
Staff member: Wow, this system looks really cool, so if I report something here it goes straight to the management and I can see what is being done to fix the issue?
Me: Yes, and management can also see that you are doing your part to maintain safety.
Staff member: So they can’t tell me that its my fault when things aren’t getting done when it is actually them holding up the process?
Me: Thats right.
This seems to be a fairly common situation in many of the businesses we visit, the management aren’t getting the whole picture and are blaming the workers for things not being done by the book and as efficiently as they could be, while the workers are frustrated by the apparent lack of motion coming from the management.
If this is the situation in your workplace what can you do about it? Here is a few tips to get you started
- Ensure that all your staff are aware of any relevant company policies or procedures, If you don’t have any written policies then, in consultation with your staff create some. Publish them and use them. That way the goal posts are the same for everyone and you don’t end up with a case of “chinese whispers”
- Make sure that the ultimate responsibility for any single Role or Task rests with a single person. That way if it doesn’t happen then that one person has to be accountable. There can be no shifting of blame because of the old ” everybody thought somebody would do it, and anybody could have, but nobody did scenario” Ensure that the person responsible understands what their role is, how to achieve their objectives and what the effect is on the rest of the workplace if they don’t.
- Find appropriate communication channels. Communication is one of those things that if done well you hardly notice it, but doing it poorly can be disastrous. Picking an appropriate communication channel depend on your work environment. You may need to select multiple channels of communication to reach the entirety of your organisation. For example the safety management system we have implemented in the above example is cloud based and can be accessed by PC, tablet or smartphone, but the supervisor can also print tickets for the factory floor staff who don’t have access to a device while they are working. These slips are handed out at the morning toolbox talk and returned to the supervisor as they are completed.
If you would like to find out more about how to stop the blame game in your your workplace when it comes to safety then leave a comment below or contact us to discuss your situation or request a demo of our safety management system.
Always excited about safety !