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The Journey of Health and Safety

In this day and age health and safety are in the forefront of everyone’s mind. It is expressed through the healthier food decisions we are making, and by simply wearing a seatbelt. Why is this?  There are many theories, but we at Fehr Graham believe it is because people are making a conscious decision to create a healthier and safer environment.
 
As a professional Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) company, we are hearing a refreshing change in mindset when speaking with clients and industry

leaders. The once common statement often heard was, “Just tell me the minimum I have to do in order to be compliant with the law”. That dismissive philosophy is being replaced with the more proactive question “How do I get our employees to understand how important our safety & health program is?” 

What is Fehr Graham’s response to this question? It begins with the question, “What are you doing to cultivate a culture that shows safety & health is a high priority?” 

In the past, once the EHS program was distributed and the training was completed, there wasn’t much more thought given to safety & health. The components of a EHS program are important, but are only effective if they are continually updated and training is consistent and on-going. A successful EHS program is one that engages employees. A strong EHS program needs to be a part of the overall culture, in an environment where safety & health is understood and accepted as a high priority, and permeates through the daily decisions and activities of the organization.

As stated by Rex Tillerson, Chairman & CEO at Exxon Mobil Corporation,
“Every company desires safe operations, but the challenge is to translate
this desire into action.”  “Written rules, standards and procedures, while
important and necessary are not enough. Companies must develop a culture
in which the value of safety is embedded in every level of the workforce.”
 
Changing the culture of an organization to include focus on safety & health requires two things; time and transparency. The only way to achieve this is to take the time to do it right and involve everyone in the process.

Creating a strong health and safety culture can take years. We’ve all been part of a new initiative where everyone is overly enthused in the beginning and they dive right in. Then what happens? They realize the pool is deeper than they thought, they don’t know how to swim, and no one thought to bring a life preserver!  Well, the same holds true for building a strong health and safety culture, you cannot expect it to occur overnight.
 
The process involves taking small and continually improving steps to bring about awareness to begin building a strong foundation. The first step in the process may be simply to heighten awareness about health and safety. This can be achieved by displaying health and safety posters and warning signs throughout the facility. From there, you might progress to identifying and addressing physical hazards, followed by creating a health and safety committee. Although each of these may appear minimal, they are necessary, as they will slowly begin to change behavior and bring awareness to the importance of health and safety.
 
As time progresses, the norms and beliefs of the organization shift focus. The focus of eliminating hazards turns towards eliminating unsafe behaviors and, thus builds systems and programs that proactively improve health and safety conditions. The ultimate goal is to breed a culture in which the health and safety of employees takes precedence over short-term needs and pressures.
 
Are you ready to begin the journey?  Call Fehr Graham today.

 

Our mission is to improve the quality of life
for our clients in the communities where they live and work by providing
collaborative, insightful, results-driven solutions.