Be a Workplace Safety Champion!

Workplace safety champions are the beating heart of a robust health and safety culture. They are passionate about safety, take an active role on safety committees and lead by example among their peers. The best part? Any employee can be a workplace safety champion. It might be a shift supervisor skilled at supporting safe behaviour, or it could be an accountant who sits on an H&S committee and pushes for cutting-edge human error training. 


No two workplace safety champions are identical, but almost everyone has at least one standout quality that helps them excel.  


Today, let’s discuss further some of the qualities to look for when identifying potential workplace safety champions: 


Lead by example 

Looking out for the safety of others and adjusting their behaviour to inspire change is one of the hallmarks of a health and safety champion. Champions don’t tout the importance of safety to others, only to apply a different set of rules to themselves.  


Even entry-level employees can lead the way with their enthusiasm, inspiring confidence and helping develop a healthy safety culture. Safety champions in leadership positions will know that workers are more likely to take safety seriously if their top managers regularly show up to training and follow the rules just like everyone else. It helps build an understanding that safety applies to everyone, and that those in charge are not above anyone else. 


Safety is 24/7 

A world-class safety system requires a 24/7 approach; safety champions are LEADERS. They are natural motivators, treating their safety with deep respect whether they’re in the middle of a task at work, or enjoying time off with their family. They recognize that injuries can happen at any time. 

They wear the appropriate PPE consistently, report damaged machinery or equipment, and take care of it whenever they’re on the shop floor. They take the same careful approach to safety when they’re off the job as well. Safety champions increase their peers’ views of health and safety by sharing this attitude with their team. 


These individuals participate in workplace training regularly and do their best to extend their knowledge to others, improving overall performance on the job and awareness outside of the workplace. They are superstars who demonstrate concern for their well-being and the well-being of their peers, regardless of whether they’re at work, at home, or on the road. 


Start safety conversations 

For conversations to influence change, they must occur. Workplace safety champions are often the ones leading these discussions. They bring up problems and work hard to resolve them, showing their dedication to safety improvements. Safety champions are always open to discussing safety issues and growing awareness. They lead, or actively participate, in toolbox talks, which helps foster an open safety culture that welcomes input and rewards questions. Even if they’re not overly talkative, they genuinely commit to communications regarding safety. 


 Take initiative 

Safety champions who hold higher positions will create safety policies that guarantee employees receive proper orientation and training. They will also ensure regular safety visits are scheduled, and training is updated as needed. Moreover, whether they’re management or staff, they will have the courage to endorse practices that reinforce a culture of safety in the workplace and make sure the rules are followed. When they witness bad habits, they bring them up and try to influence positive change. 


Willing to learn and engage with new ideas 

Discoveries, new research, and new equipment continuously build and shape an organization’s safety culture. For example, more efforts are being put into training, safety harnesses are widely used, and new regulations are being added to modernize safety laws. However, sometimes, people can get stuck in the past, and companies might ignore or miss out on more unique approaches as they concentrate on compliance. 


Safety champions are open to new ideas and discoveries. If there is a chance to improve the safety of their team, they will be excited to try it. Sometimes implementing something new might seem to take extra effort but, in the end, the possible improvements to everyone’s safety is worth the work.  


Recognize human factors that prevent compliance 

A person’s state of mind dramatically influences their compliance with health and safety. Champions seek to understand and address these factors to reduce errors and improve decision-making. Rushing, fatigue, frustration, and complacency are often just as responsible for injuries as the hazards. 


Champions will encourage their team to take breaks, slow down, and always take the safest route.  

They will also provide training and support so that employees have the skills required to identify and deal with human factors in real-time. For a safety champion, safety is the most critical aspect of the workplace.  

 Encourage others  

As much as a champion will bring issues to attention, they will also celebrate their coworkers’ successes, thank them for being mindful and, when in a supervisory position, reward their employees for being perceptive and taking care of the communal well-being of the workplace. 


The first step to creating a strong safety culture is to notice those doing a good job; you can generate improvement and build upon existing structures through them. Rewarding these champions accordingly is also prudent, encouraging them to continue promoting workplace safety.

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