Be a safety champion – and do it loudly!
By Madison Hanscom, PhD
A safety champion embodies the notion that safety comes before everything else. These individuals always have safety on the mind. They understand how safety connects to the big picture both inside and outside of work, and they are the backbone of a strong safety culture. Those who work with a safety champion know it, because it feels like someone always has your back.”
Researchers were interested in this topic of strong safety support. They conducted a study with railway maintenance employees to explore the extent to which perceived safety support from those around you at work might influence hazardous events. The results showed that when you are stretched thin from role overload or a heavy workload, you’re more likely to encounter hazardous work events. For the railway workers, these were things like needing to move quickly to get out of the way of a train. These near misses are incredibly dangerous and can be life threatening.
Now this is where safety supporters come in. The researchers found that this relationship between overload and hazardous events is weakened when the employee works with managers, supervisors, and coworkers who care a lot about safety. Thus, working around safety champions acts as a job resource that functions as a protective factor.
This highlights the importance of being a safety champion — and doing it loudly! We should all think of ways to promote safety, especially when demands (like workload) are high.
At Propulo Consulting, we care about the health and wellbeing of all workers. We partner with you to improve the world of work using the latest insights from research. Our team has the expertise to help your business build a safer and healthier culture.
Turner, N., Chmiel, N., Hershcovis, M. S., & Walls, M. (2010). Life on the line: Job demands, perceived co-worker support for safety, and hazardous work events. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15(4), 482.