If you manage a manufacturing plant, your people are your greatest asset – and protecting them from injury and illness is critical to your ongoing success. Achieving an injury-free workplace starts with one critical decision: Make safety a core value and adopt a safety culture.

The best manufacturing operations create a culture of safety. And it naturally spills over into quality, delivery and production. When safety numbers are met, everything else adds up as well.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any manufacturing process. Such a culture consists of shared beliefs, practices and attitudes that shape positive behavior changes. Everyone goes beyond the call of duty to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, as well as intervening to correct them.

You can do it. Here’s how:

Involve everyone – at every level of your organization.

As noted by OSHA, “the best safety and health programs involve every level of an organization, instilling a safety culture that reduced accidents for workers and improves the bottom line for managers.”

  • The best programs are owned at the manufacturing line. Production-level employees serve on safety teams to develop and implement better processes. Safety is aligned with all other business functions so it consistently receives the resources and attention it deserves.
  • Employees are safety leaders. Successful organizations create career paths that ensure everyone is trained and motivated to exceed safety expectations. Workers have a genuine sense of ownership of the safety process. They are driven to eliminate unsafe practices and focus on a zero-injury environment, as opposed to simply meeting regulatory requirements.
  • It starts at the top. If senior leadership is not on board, safety goals will compete with core business issues such as production and profitability – a no-win situation. Leadership employees must walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

Certify your safety leaders.

To be successful, create career paths for employees that turn them into safety leaders. Enhance their development and marketability by certifying them. At the same time, you’ll solidify your safety progress and take a giant step in achieving your other business goals.

There are numerous safety certification options including:

  • ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers): This large, well-established organization offers manufacturing certification in safety management.
  • OSHA: Many OSHA certifications are one or two-day programs that can be completed right at your facility. They often have to be renewed annually. Many companies require a 10-hour certification for general employment with a 30-hour mandate for safety-related jobs.
  • CPT (Certified Production Technician): Safety is one module in the CPT program. (Others include quality, manufacturing processes and production and maintenance awareness.) CPT recognizes employees who demonstrate mastery of the core competencies of manufacturing production.

At the end of the day, nothing trumps the value and importance of safety. But maintaining your solid safety record can be challenging. Partner with the HR and workforce development experts at Magellan Search & Staffing to plan and implement your industry-leading health and safety strategy. Read our related posts or contact us today.