Why do people do the things they do? How can I get people to do what ought to be done? How can I motivate people to opt for safety measures? What are they going to think about these measures? How can we change the attitude of people towards safety? Questions along these lines are amongst those that management has to be ready when it comes to changing the behavior of people towards safety. These challenges faced by the management can be overcome by the number of strategies adapted. There are two ways in which the workers can be motivated for safety of self, others and equipment (a) by rewarding them when the safety strategies are put into practice (b) and also best through by self-direction, self-control and disciplinary application.
Indifferent Attitude Towards Safety
We need to motivate workers towards safety so as to avoid and minimize accidents in the industry. The term accident can be defined as an event that results in unintended harm or damage it is a very unpleasant experience where losses can occur. In an industry it is usually a result of a contact with a source of energy (kinetic, chemical, electrical, radiation etc). In terms of damage, an accident could result in property damage such as fire, breakage, distortion etc. Why do these accidents occur there can be lot of reasons for that some of them are mentioned below: –
Lack of Knowledge – The worker was not trained properly on a particular job, or he may not have had experience, skill to handle the job there was lack of orientation. The initial instructions given to him would not have been sufficient.
Inadequate Leadership And/Or Supervision – His work was not supervised properly there was not adequate performance management and evaluation. The delegation of work was improper. There was no proper communication of policies, procedure and objectives. Inadequate communication of safety and health data.
Communication Gap Between The Various Departments – All the departments are not co-operative and would not share their information with each other even if they need to work in close co-operation.
Favoritism – There may be favoritism, which leads to demotion of some employees, which is highly de motivating and leads to indifferent attitude towards safety.
Poor working conditions – In adequate lighting, lack of availability of safety devices and personal equipments, not a clean working environment, will not help employees to carry out work in the most safest manner.
Here is when safety comes into picture it is defined as freedom from accidents or the condition of being safe from pain, injury or loss. It includes both preventing accidents and keeping losses to the minimum when accidents occur. Safety education and training is the only way we can prevent accidents and safeguard our employees the company from making huge looses due to accidents.
Developing Safe Attitude
For the development of safe attitude, there should be a high degree of participation by all employees and the management should be able to sustain their interest by providing them information about the various affects of an accident, consequences by the help of the following:
* Posters – Should be located in places which are prone to accidents like near the equipments, corridors, areas where there are chemicals or big machineries to promote a theme or call attention to a problem, and changed at least monthly.
* Handouts – Can be used in conjunction with monthly poster theme as reinforcement. Usually included in payroll envelope or can be mailed to the employee’s house.
* In-House Newsletters – A separate section can be devoted to inform employees of current and future safety methods in a very informal way, messages by top management, achievement toward goals and ideas that worked. These are some items that will be of interest.
* Suggestions – Employees should be encouraged to submit written ideas and suggestions. Providing a box where they can deposit these, gives them the feeling of having a direct line to management.
* Group Safety Meetings – Are generally most effective when they involve top management, are planned to promote or train, and are of short duration (up to 1/2 hour).
* Individual Safety Contacts – Usually performed by the employee’s supervisor on a scheduled basis, weekly to monthly, with one topic as the basis of discussion (5 to 15 minutes).
* Safety Contests, Quizzes & Campaigns, etc. – These can be designed to reward individuals or groups. The best results are achieved when everyone is involved and many types of activities interface to promote the campaign or contest.
Programs that show an interest from top management, through the supervisors, to the hourly employees, help to create the spirit of cooperation. Effective communication is a motivational tool. When top management knows and participates in the program, it communicates to all employees that safety is a company effort.
Programs should be planned using a systematic approach aimed at the factors that are most influential to the affected employees. This will be much more effective than a hit-or-miss technique.
Motivating For Safe Attitude
When workers do not pay attention or are not interested (lack of proper attitude) managements answers are likely to be found in the realm of morale and motivation. The management knows that the employees have the know-how and are physically and mentally capable of doing the work correctly, conscientiously and safely – motivating these employees is a practical approach. So there to maintain interest, management has to see that the employees benefit directly. Interest will be aroused by activities that will appeal to them personally. However, everyone is not motivated by the same incentive. Therefore, activities that encompass several motivating factors will gain more overall participation. The key motivating factors are:
Self -Preservation – Protection of oneself from harm or destruction is the most important motivational factors. The fear of injury can lead to safety and the management should sustain interest in this by highlighting the consequence of injury by videos, presentations, posters discussions and lectures.
Personal and Material Gain – Monetary gain or getting a reward for their achievement appeals to a lot of people so the management should reward their achievements for outstanding safety performances. Like in a Oil Drilling Company if a particular rig does not have any accident for 1yr then all the employees of the rig get a certificate and a safety bonus.
Loyalty – If a person is loyal towards the organization then he would have a greater interest in preventing the company from occurring losses. He would make it point to thoroughly understand the safety rules and implement it wherever possible because he feels the companies loss is his loss.
Responsibility – The sense of responsibility of an employee will lead to active participation in safety measures. Like if a person would like to do a voluntary service by becoming a Loss Prevention team leader for a specific group so as to keep them updated with the latest in safety.
Conformity – Fear of being different will be able to motivate a person to follow the policies, procedures of the safety measures. Violation of these methods would lead to serious consequence so therefore conformity would be a better choice and also prevent humiliation amongst other employees.
Rivalry – Desire to compete in many people is a way of achieving things this can be used by management as an adequate tool of promoting safety measure by conducting contest on safety.
Leadership – If a person has the traits of leadership then being a leader and training other people on safety issues could motivate him. Like giving presentations on using the different devices and equipments in the factories and this should be encouraged by the management by providing incentives to the leader.
All these factors will help in achieving highest degree of involvement of the workers in the safety measure and help the organization to achieve its goal in a safest possible manner.
Safety has to be taken seriously in the industry. Now days industries are putting lot of emphasis on safety training and implementation as they know safety implementation and effectiveness is worth against the injury caused. If the behavior of the employees has to change for this the management has to change their attitude and motivate employees for taking up safety measure and using them. Although motivation is not a magic wand it takes knowledge, understanding, problem solving, empathy, interaction, patience and perseverance. But if used can work wonders.