As you move into what is the busiest season for most facilities, I want to share some reminders about safety, especially if you have an influx of seasonal workers to manage.

While I will very cheerfully sell you safety equipment to protect your people and systems, my experience has taught me that floor marking tape, guard rails, safety lights, signage, and so on are only part of the solution.  Instead, I want to address the people’s side of the equation.

Assuming you’re conducting annual safety training, one of my favorite continuous improvement tools is “Management By Walking Around”.  By taking the time to informally observe and check in with employees, you can accomplish many positive things.

  • Trust Grows.  The simple act of showing up and talking shows your workforce that you care.  This improves the likelihood that employees will participate in identifying and correcting safety issues.
  • Safety is Integrated.  By observing what’s going on, you have an opportunity to identify and correct at-risk behavior before it becomes a problem that requires paperwork and disciplinary action or worse.
  • Lead by Example.  By routinely following all the company safety practices you make a powerful statement without saying a word.
  • Find a Champion.  If you happen to spot an employee who routinely demonstrates excellent safety practices you can provide additional training and give them some safety supervisory responsibilities.  This increases employee ownership and has the side benefit of giving you more eyes on the floor.
  • Reinforce the Why.  One of the major reasons that employees don’t follow rules is that they don’t understand or remember why the rules exist.  Informally reminding your staff about the reasons for the rules will make it more likely that the policies will be followed.