The foundational success factor in achieving a “loss-free” corporate culture, and in lowering workers compensation cost, is in how we explain (or fail to explain) our approach to safety to new employees.
It’s a big mistake to begin a safety orientation by outlining how much injuries cost the organization, or how work comp fraud will not be tolerated. These topics, while internally relevant, send the wrong message to new employees.
We need to assume that new employees are honest, committed, and have joined us to bring their “A-game”.
The Right Approach
The primary goal of a winning, new employee safety orientation is to let people know that their safety is top priority and that safety is everyone’s responsibility. We need to have each other’s back. The focus is on teaching them the “agreements” everyone in the organization must adhere to in order to prevent/minimize injury.
Alignment in 15 minutes
Here’s the orientation message in bullet points…these are easy to embed in a customized slide presentation.
- Your safety is our top priority! (place over or beneath a photo of the workplace and/or the company logo).
- Level of Importance – Team Member Safety = Customer Safety (Aligning our safety commitment to the level of our brand. We need to be 5-star in both. Encourage participation and feedback.
Ask for thoughts about this statement. Is this a normal comparison in the industry?)
- W.I.N. What Is Normal (We operate using a concept we call “WIN”…What Is Normal. Things are normal either because that’s the way they have always been or because that’s the way we want them to be. At (company name), we choose to be very purposeful about what we make “normal”.)
- Safety as a Corporate Value – Every job is designed so that it can be performed with as little risk-exposure as possible. We believe safety is everyone’s responsibility. No one should become injured on the job.
- Safety as an Agreement – Working at (company name) means you agree to follow our 1. Code of Safe Practices, 2. Injury and Illness Prevention Program (Each new employee should receive a copy of these two documents. Briefly describe the intent of each document and identify who employees should discuss safety issues or questions with.)
- We deliver Multi-Layered Care – customized care service if you are injured on the job (The shift here is that the care is customized to the injury…from first aid to an emergency/911 call. Our approach to care is as an upgrade and enhancement over the traditional “one size fits all” approach)
- (Company Name) also maintains an active return-to-work program including many modified duty opportunities to help support you if you are injured and require temporary, limited, or light duty while you recover.
- Our goal is to help you become “well and working” as soon as possible. We are committed to helping bring people back to modified work while they heal.
- A Safety Attitude is required to work here!
- Your safety is our top priority! (repeat the first slide)
- Takeaways (what was the one thing you learned today that stood out for you? Any other questions?)
When team members understand that their safety is truly top priority and know their role in helping everyone stay safe, the “loss-free” outcome emerges.