When surveying your workplace for safety issues, addressing problems like exposed wiring or clutter on the floor is easier than scrutinizing your co-workers. Some safety concerns are subtle and hard to spot, and calling out a co-worker for unsafe habits can feel awkward.
Workplace safety depends on every person acting responsibly to prevent injuries. Here’s how to identify and address safety issues surrounding your coworkers’ behavior.
1. Figure out why the mistake occurs.
A safety lapse can be caused by any number of factors. For instance, your co-worker may have simply forgotten. They may lack the safety equipment or training they need to do the job correctly. Or they may feel that they simply don’t need safety precautions – and a work environment that is generally loose about safety may make this problem worse.
When you understand why a co-worker misses safety goals, it’s easier to help them solve the problem.
2. Talk to the person privately.
When you see a co-worker failing to follow safety protocols or acting in a dangerous manner, start by talking to that person privately. Being “called out” publicly can cause feelings of defensiveness, which may make your co-worker dismiss the actual problem.
Make your words kind and constructive. Focus on the importance of safety for everyone involved, and offer to help your co-worker meet their safety obligations.
3. Notify your supervisor.
Often, a quick conversation or reminder to a co-worker is all it takes to help them get back on track. If your co-worker refuses to listen or if the safety lapses continue, however, don’t hesitate to talk to your supervisor.
Gather information like the dates, times and incidents of safety lapses, as well as who was involved. This data can help your supervisor take the most effective steps to address the problem.
4. Set a good example.
The safety culture of a team is driven by the team’s members. Be part of the solution by always modeling safety on the job site. Wear your safety gear, stay alert to your surroundings, and follow all safety procedures properly. Treating safety training as an important and serious part of your work can also help to show your co-workers that safety information matters.
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