When safety procedures boost productivity
There is a perception that safety hampers productivity. However, this flies in the face of our research and consulting work.
Maintaining a safe work environment can enhance productivity, not hinder it.
While adhering to well thought-out safety procedures can take time, employees are going to be much happier and more engaged if they know why they need to adhere to these procedures, as well as when they know that their employer is committed to their safety.
If a person’s work is noticed, valued and rewarded, you’ll end up with a happier, more alert employee that is engaged. As a result, they are likely to take more care with tasks at hand and in a more efficient way. They may even contribute to the company in ways that are not even close to being part of their job description, just because they actually feel invested in the success of the whole team.
And the opposite is also true. If workers ‘don’t care’ about their job because they have the feeling that no-one else does, that’s when shortcuts are taken, at the expense of safety and ultimately productivity.
Similarly, unnecessary and impractical safety procedures that waste time can foster bitterness and resentment, so it’s important that employees are given the responsibility to look after themselves and their co-workers, and contribute to system refinements based on the operational reality.
This approach is something at Integrated Safety Support that we call ‘safe production’. It’s a simple philosophy that boils down to the fact that productivity and safety are at their optimum at the same when employees are engaged and alert. This is not theory, because we have been involved in client projects were hard data from the business has shown reductions in risk simultaneous with higher employee satisfaction, improved safety, enhanced compliance, and more efficient use of resources.
In the future, making gains in safety while also making gains in productivity will become a minimum requirement of a Fatigue Management project. Right now, we seem to be lone wolves in the wilderness but we are enjoying the clean air out here. For more information about the philosophy or hard science of ‘safe production’, contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 416 231 456.