An all-encompassing, holistic approach to safety is needed in the workplace, safety leaders emphasized last week at a global conference in New Orleans.
More than 5,000 occupational safety and health professionals attended the American Society of Safety Professionals’ Safety Conference to share best practices, case studies and the latest in technology.
“Moving forward, it’s important that we adopt new generation approaches, such as total worker health and risk-based management systems,” ASSP President Rixio Medina said during the conference’s opening session. “Total worker health holistically addresses the employer’s well-being, moving beyond traditional wellness initiatives, and risk-based systems are critical in protecting workers and achieving business success.”
Now more than ever, says Steven Simon, a psychologist and president of Culture Change Consultants in Larchmont, New York, companies want to find the behavioral causes for unsafe acts. Simon reportedly was the first to coin the term “safety culture” three decades ago.
“In the last couple of years, we’re starting to move toward the next frontier, which is psychological safety,” Simon said during one of the sessions. “At its essence, it’s about making it safe for employees to speak up. For the last many years, I thought of safety needs as being exclusively physical. Only recently have I begun to realize that psychological safety needs are also a basic need.”
He noted that if employees feel threatened, fear retaliation, are insecure in the workplace, or are bullied by a supervisor, “you’re never going to get the most out of their participation. You could even say that you can’t have physical safety without it.”
Read the full story from 10/12 Industry Report about how companies can improve safety for staff using new approaches.