Originally posted 4/20/09 here: http://safetyphoenix.blogspot.com/
All employees want to stay safe. The best safety management programs encourages employee involvement at all levels. Once training is done, there must be a system in place to allow employees to contribute to their own safety and health. On too many factory floors, employees worry their suggestions will fall on deaf ears, or worse bring that employee unwanted negative attention.
A safety suggestion system allows employees to point out safety issues (anonymously if desired). This proactive approach can catch many issues before they cause accidents. Suggestions and the resulting corrections can be tracked as a leading indicator in a total safety management program.
An effective safety suggestion program not only asks employees to point out hazards, but also stimulates problem-solving thinking by having employees offer solutions. Encourage on-going participation by giving incentive cards, savings sharing, etc. for suggested solutions that are implemented. Even something as simple as publicized thanks quite often works well.
A safety suggestion system takes time and commitment. Suggestions must be gathered frequently, and addressed in a timely manner. Whether employee suggestions are used or not, the safety issue must be resolved as soon as possible. The system can not be allowed to fall by the wayside.
Employees must know their suggestions are valued. Communication throughout is vital. All employees must understand the procedures and time-lines from suggestion to implementation to reward. Employee’s whose suggestions aren't used must be given a reason why. The program must be fair, impartial, and non-retaliatory.
Potentially profiting from suggestions creates proactive thinking that encourages consideration of every step of a job. This results in decreased accidents and increased production, adding real value to the program. Whether you use a simple suggestion box or one of the myriad third-party set-ups, a safety suggestion system is an essential part of a total safety management program.
As always, I encourage comments and suggestions.