This is our second part on empowering your employees within your restoration company.
Idea 4—Obtain feedback from workers by administering periodic surveys and informally touching base during the workday
Workers feel empowered and part of a larger effort when they are asked directly for their opinions about the safety climate on the job site and ways it can be improved. This can be done through surveys or in-person. If surveys are used, it’s important that they be anonymous and may be better if administered by an outside party. Surveys are most effective for identifying program disconnects when supervisors and workers both participate using similar questions and results are compared to identify differences in perceptions and actions.
Idea 5—Create joint worker-management committees to address specific safety and health concerns
Joint worker-management safety and health committees are often used in larger companies and include management and workers who focus specifically on identifying and addressing worksite safety concerns. Their collaborative nature regarding power and responsibility for safety-related decision making helps to produce mutual trust between management and workers. Where smaller companies are limited in their capacity to establish a standing committee, they should create ad hoc safety action groups or “safety circles” where workers and management come together to address issues raised at weekly and daily meetings. Prompt follow-through on concerns using these groups demonstrates the company takes workers’ suggestions seriously which in turn encourages workers to stay involved and engaged in improving safety. For many companies it may be helpful to integrate safety into regular production meetings so it is not seen as something separate.
Idea 6—Frequently encourage and reward workers for reporting safety concerns and/or injuries. Address problems voiced by workers visibly and promptly, and communicate the impact and results of worker engagement processes.
This helps build trust that safety is valued, and encourages workers to become proactively involved in helping to identify and address safety concerns. Consider developing an “action list” to show which (and how) issues raised by workers are being addressed. Place the list in a prominent place for all to see to ensure accountability for making progress. There should be on-spot recognitions (e.g, “attaboy”, tokens such as Good Catch coins) as well as management recognition. The latter requires implementing a system (e.g., on-line incident report system) that notifies management when a close call is reported and then management can personally call and thank the employee who reported it. All of these activities demonstrate to workers that their contributions to improving project safety climate are valued.