There is likely a “Safety First” reference in every employee handbook in the United States. Every company wants to mitigate the chance that one of their own could get hurt or worse. While the work has been done to establish safe practices, the ability to translate a protocol into real-time, real-life risk reduction is often disconnected.
For us at Cambridge, while establishing safe practices by identifying and reducing risks have always been components of our training and day-to-day work, it is fair to say that we have not always effectively communicated the expectations to the entire organization – especially for those outside of operations. We are just now taking the steps to ensure that our protocols are communicated, understood and being practiced to truly make for a safe environment for the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives that create our work community.
Identifying safety goals & our 2022 strategy
Our first step for improvement was to evaluate what we had in place and find opportunities for improvement in terms of the protocols themselves.
In 2022, we are focusing on increased proactivity though job hazard analysis, identifying hazards as a metric and are working towards getting SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) certified.
In terms of moving these strategies from paper to execution – it comes down to expectations. “Setting clear expectations from management about our priorities will help our employees understand what’s important and what our goals are. Employees who know that our organization values their health and safety are more productive. They can participate in the process to ensure we have a safe and efficient work environment” says Connor Lalonde, our Safety Coordinator at Cambridge.
Educating through a six week internal communication campaign
As mentioned earlier, creating the safe procedures was generally the easy part for us. However, we had low recall and implementation among our employees. We needed to break it down to expected specific behaviors and translate the training to actionable items across departments.
Rather than a single intensive seminar, we decided to drip communication over half of a quarter could help with implementing and practicing learnings, and still leave room for mid-campaign questions and improvements.
Week One: Why safety is our highest priority at Cambridge
Week Two: Identifying the safe behaviors in our work areas
Week Three: Responding to safety incidents
Week Four: Our 2022 strategies for safety incident prevention
Week Five: Review of all the key concepts
Week Six: Close with a review and celebration of our safety culture
The design of the companywide communication was simple: each member of the organization tackled a weekly exercise with their team. To ensure proper guidance, people leaders were first introduced to the exercises with their own leaders and then would use that learning to help the team they manage through the same exercise.
To share learnings across teams, insight was shared via signage and in our daily morning meetings. The meeting emcees were also encouraged to share stories of incidents or “near misses” that help remind them why we are putting this work into being proactively safe.
Following the safety campaign Cambridge will celebrate with another key component of our culture: celebration. We will review the successes of the organization and ackowledge the advances we have made in workplace safety.
This first companywide campaign kicks off the first of many internal campaigns Cambridge will work toward in this year, with later topics covering continuous improvement, quality, and leadership development.
Join us for a morning meeting if you’d like more ideas on the daily habits of a safety and continuous improvement culture!