We talk and think a lot about workplace safety here at DISA; we offer advanced background and drug screening services with the goal of creating safer workplaces worldwide. This effort is as critical now as ever: Each year, an average of 3 million people experience some kind of injury as a result of their jobs, with injury costs that can exceed annual profit for their employers. Workplace safety is a holistic issue that can be effectively managed by establishing what’s become known as a ‘culture of safety.’
Safety culture is generally defined as a shared set of beliefs, norms, attitudes, and social and technical practices within an organization that are concerned with minimizing the exposure of employees, managers, customers and members of the public to unsafe conditions. In practice, a culture of safety is implemented at a workplace through policy, top-down leadership and example-setting, and ground-up appreciation for and adoption of best practices. DISA’s services are structured to support this approach, from advanced pre-employment screenings and background checks to ongoing testing, training and compliance education.
Within each workplace, the factors that affect safety fall into the same overarching categories:
- Culture: The values, assumptions, norms and everyday behaviors of an organization’s people
- Compliance: Meeting mandated regulatory standards
- Risk Management: Processes to better identify risk and to control exposures
- Governance: Establishing controls by which an organization can validate and ensure compliance standards and policies
Once an organization’s top-tier leadership teams identify their company-specific factors within each of these categories, they can outline appropriate measures to ensure that safety is implemented throughout their organization. At this stage, a partner like DISA can offer specific services like safety training or drug testing to help empower those in leadership positions with information that can lead to widespread adoption of safer workplace practices. Leaders at all levels are the key to a prioritization of safety in every workplace.
With open lines of communication and feedback channels that allow for incremental improvements and fine-tuning of safety solutions, a safer workplace is all but guaranteed. One example of such success is Kroger Manufacturing, a division of the grocery chain. After realizing the need for safety culture implementation, the company invested in implementation and, over a span of 20 years, reduced their recordable injury rate by 77%. The payoff for a sustained commitment to workplace safety should serve to motivate leaders from all industries to start enacting change within their own workplaces.