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5 Ways To Lead Safety In The Workplace

Posted on October 21, 2013
Keebie ClementsWritten by Keebie Clements | Email author

Safety in the workplace

With the recent tragic events at the Navy Yard in Washington DC, many organizational leadership teams have begun the unnerving conversations on ways to keep their most valuable assets safe in the workplace.  Unfortunately, those talks are no longer about how to prevent slip and fall accidents, or even fire safety.  In coming to terms with the world in which we live, a reality has to be faced, and those conversations are now strongly focused on saving lives in the event of a gun toting disgruntled employee or a complete stranger’s ambush.

So what would you do if the unthinkable were to happen in your workplace?  What plans are currently in place to safeguard your employees?

Here are 5 ways to lead safety efforts in your workplace:

  1. Develop proper safety plans: If someone were to show up waving a gun or with a bomb attached to their body the same safety procedures would not be as effective as if someone were to mistakenly put aluminum in the microwave causing it and maybe even the rest of the kitchen to catch fire.  As such, multiple safety plans need to be developed and the proper safety plan needs to be executed during the situation at hand.  Organizational leaders need to proactively develop these plans with their employees, their location, and the nature of their business in mind. Considering the size of the organization, consulting with a professional safety expert to develop the most effective plans may be in the best interest of your employees.
  2. Communicate the safety plans: Encourage team leads and departmental managers to have routine meetings with their employees to communicate the safety plans and any revisions to those plans.  Allow for employee input thereby increasing the likelihood of employee buy-in.
  3. Identify safety leaders: Identify a leader capable of maintaining responsibility  for themselves as well as others with a sound mind in a harmful situation.
  4. Plan alternate exit strategies: Proper planning often includes multiple plans within a plan.  Exit strategies are no exception. Having a plan “B” and even plan “C” when it comes to an exit strategy ensures a higher success rate.  In addition, doing routine drills with several exit strategies that include exact exit routes and safe spots within your location(s) will ensure that everyone is familiar with the exit strategies and will not be caught off guard or confused when it’s time to move.
  5. Remain Calm: Easier said than done in a traumatic situation, I’m sure.  However, chaos has proven to have a greater negative impact on traumatic situations. Even if you must divert from all established plans, remain as calm as you can and get to safety as fast as you can.

As much as we would like to think that this would never happen to us- “not in our work place”, and not with our beloved colleagues, the reality is that bad things happen to good people.  It is important that at the very least, we open the lines of communication, address concerns, and plan accordingly to keep our most valued assets safe in the workplace.

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