Cultivating good workplace safety habits

December 18, 2018
3 min
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Safety should never be relegated to a special consideration – something to be discussed once in a while – but be an essential habit that makes up the fabric of the workday and engages employee attention. Because, when it comes to safety, trial and error isn’t an option – one slip up could cause an irreversible injury. There’s no room for error.

So, creating a workplace safety culture is all about forming the right habits as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, the process of habit formation has come down to a science – paving the way for better, more actionable, safety strategies.

How to form any new habit

Research into the formation of habits has uncovered that the process breaks down into three basic parts: giving cues (reminders), developing routine, and offering rewards.

While successfully addressing each of these elements is easier said than done, knowing these three basic components allows you to construct the framework for any habits based strategy. Like anything worthwhile, building better habits takes commitment.

How habit formation applies to safety

The same rules apply to the formation of habits in safety as they do anywhere else. However, safety habits bring some advantages to the process.

Most habits are hard to just witness, they involve many of the subtle automatic things we do everyday, but safety habits tend to be much more deliberate and demonstrable. This is why to begin any new safety habits initiative you should discover who your “safety captains” are. These are the key people who are already exemplars of the safety habits you want to promote.

Cultivating good workplace safety habits

By leveraging safety captains you can create an extension of safety leadership that works side by side with your front lines team. These captains help keep the team accountable and provide a concrete model to follow.

Another essential element to bring into the process is public commitment. Researchers have shown that by making such commitments you can increase the chance of follow through by up to 95%.

How to scale safety habits

Traditionally, the problem with organization wide habit formation is that it is a very individualized process – everyone has their little quirks and it’s hard to fit everyone into a neat little box. With so many moving parts how do you change the habits of an entire organization?

This is where ProHabits’ software comes in – allowing users to individually build safety habits while scaling it across the organization. ProHabits addresses each of the essential elements of habit formation – specified to each user with custom content capabilities for the distinct needs of an organization.

Here’s how ProHabits addresses each essential area of habit formation:

Cue: morning email or text calling users to engage in positive workplace behaviors. This allows users to make a public commitment to their daily habit – which has been shown to increase the likelihood that they follow through.

Routine: messages are set to the individual time specifications of each user.

Reward: gamification offering a leaderboard and streak for a little friendly competition. Leaders can use the leaderboard to uncover their organization’s safety leaders.

What are you doing to build better safety habits?

John Paul

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