Safety Culture and Behavioral Safety

The Role of Employee Engagement in a Safety Culture

By Eric Svendsen, PhD, Principal, safetyBUILT-IN

One thing successful safety leaders do to help build a stronger safety culture in the organization is to build levels of employee engagement.  An engaged employee thinks and acts like an owner, and because of that, they not only remain safer on the job, but they are also much more likely to help you lead a safety culture.

There are many side benefits to raising levels of employee engagement, including higher levels of employee retention (engaged employees enjoy their job and are not looking for a reason to leave), higher levels of individual performance (engaged employees outperform non-engaged employees on the job), and greater business outcomes (a fully engaged workforce is collectively much more productive).

But the primary reason building employee engagement matters for a safety culture is that, according to at least one study (“Employee engagement and commitment,” Effective Practice Guidelines, Robert Vance, Society of Human Resource Management, 2006), engaged employees are five times less likely to get hurt and seven times less likely to have a lost-time injury than all other categories of employees and end up costing the organization one-sixth of what other employees cost in terms of workers’ comp, insurance premiums, fines, lawsuits and shareholder confidence.

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