Workplace accidents don’t discriminate for ignorance or experience; an accident can happen to the best of us if we are caught in a distraction.
This includes our most experienced employees. Risk management professionals in many industries are adept at new-hire orientation and developing awareness of risks in a new workplace. However, most need improvement with keeping safety interesting and fresh for more experienced employees. Interestingly enough, outside of new hires, many accidents tend to occur with employees having many years of experience. Because of complacency and a sense of security, employees get comfortable in their role and suffer injury due to carelessness and taking safety for granted. How can you keep an experienced employee engaged in the safety process in relationship to their experience? The key is employee involvement. Here are some ideas to foster continuous improvement in experienced workers:
- Rotate membership on safety committees.
- Have experienced employees conduct safety training for new hires under appropriate supervision.
- Tie safety performance into annual employee evaluations.
- Allow experienced employees to develop and present “toolbox” talk topics.
- Rotate and reward participation in PPE checks, machine guarding reviews, and self-inspections.
- Host a lunch for injury-free employees and include a safety topic talk.
Including experienced workers allows for a sense of accomplishment and personal achievement outside of an employee’s everyday task. This fosters company loyalty, job satisfaction, and increased participation in the safety process.