The Importance of Why while Drafting your Workplace Safety Policy.
If you’re reading this blog, then we’re pretty sure that you’re concerned more about workplace safety than the average worker. Kudos to your initiative! In today’s post, we take a look at what constitutes a good safety policy at work and why is it needed in the first place.
Without further delay, let’s dive in!
You may be a safety manager at work, a supervisor, an interested employee or a business owner. But the one fact that connects all, irrespective of the position you hold is that – safety is of paramount importance in the workplace and the rules and regulations to ensure workplace safety starts with a safety policy.
Before you continue reading; we urge you to try to answer each one of the following five questions sincerely. Remember that there are no wrong answers. Instead, your replies denote your attitude to workplace safety and help you get to the core of the issue.
- Do you follow safety policies and rules at work?
- If yes, why do you do it? If no, what makes you skip the rules?
- Why does it matter?
- Why is it important?
- And, why do you think your previous answer matters?
Here, at Totalika, we have a team of trained safety officers who conduct regular safety training sessions at several workplaces spanning across verticals. Everywhere our squad goes – we ask the set of questions mentioned above. The answers help us to understand the attitudes of employees and the management team. It helps us to identify underlying values and the reasons why people enforce or follow safety rules at work.
Start with the Why’s and then move on the What’s
Very often, when businesses try to implement a safety policy at work, they are more concerned about the What’s rather than the Whys. They start by focusing on what to include in the safety policy and what to avoid. This doesn’t cover the whole issue. To frame an excellent safety policy that works right for you, you need to begin with the Why.
Instead, of just telling your employees, what the safety policies at work are, try to get them understand Why you have them in the first place. Stress on the importance of safety policies and why it’s essential to follow them.
The Technique of the 5 Whys
Here, we introduce one technique that is hugely popular worldwide and is often practiced by industry leaders. Known as the 5 Whys technique, it helps to solve problems and get to the root causes of any issues.
The 5 Whys method was introduced by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the famous automobile maker, Toyota. It’s simple and straightforward, but highly powerful and effective. The idea behind this technique is that you have to ask 5 Whys to get to the core of a problem.
The 5 Whys methodology is a prominent technique used in the Six Sigma Principle and lean manufacturing processes. When it comes to workplace safety, this technique is used to analyze and identify the causes of safety incidents, accidents, system failures and other injuries at work.
How to Apply the 5 Whys Principle?
The 5 Whys methodology is used to conduct root cause analysis of an accident or injury at work. By using this technique, you can identify the precursors and other reasons that led to the accident and caused damage to a person or property. This method can be used to analyze and examine both latent and active failures in a system like equipment failure, wrong decisions by the management, etc.
You can also apply the 5 Whys methodology to personal attitudes regarding safety. Here’s an example. Let’s say you come across the scenario where you find an employee instructing another person to wear his hard hat, before entering the factory floor.
Here’s how to apply the 5 Whys:
- Why did employee 1 remind employee 2 of wearing his hard hat?
Answer: Because we have a strict policy about wearing hard hats before entering the factory floor. Failure to follow this rule could lead to fines and penalties.
- Why do you think the workplace has a strict policy about wearing hard hats?
Answer: We guess that without hard hats people could be exposed to falling objects.
- Why does that matter?
Answer: Because hard objects falling from above could lead to severe damages to the skull and can even prove fatal.
- Why is that important to me?
Answer: Because I care about my fellow employees and that’s why I warned him.
Answer: If something were to happen to anyone of my co-workers, I would be immensely sad. My colleague would end up losing his pay, and his family would suffer as a result.
This is just an example of responses that we’ve received from a group of trainees when we introduced the 5 Whys principle to them. By asking these questions, we were able to get employees understand the “core reason” behind the safety policies stressed by upper management.
So, if you’re planning to create a safety policy at work, we urge you to take a step back and focus on the Why’s before you head on to the What’s.
Ask yourself a few questions like:
- Why does my business need a safety policy?
- How is it important for my employees?
- Why it matters that I customize it, instead of taking a template-based approach?
- Why should I spend time and resources on drafting the safety policy?
- What happens if I neglect it?
- Why should I worry about the negative consequences of not having a safety policy at work?
- And, so on.
If you require any help getting started with your workplace safety policy, remember that our team of expert safety trainers at Totalika is just a call away. Get in touch with us to get started on the safety procedures and policies for your workplace.