How to Create More Realistic Workplace Safety Goals Employees Will Buy Into

How to Create More Realistic Workplace Safety Goals Employees Will Buy Into

Let’s face it: not all workplace safety goals are attainable. As a matter of fact, setting unrealistic workplace safety goals can do more harm than good. It can result in unethical behavior, the over-focus on one business area while neglecting another, corrosion of organizational culture, distorted risk preferences, and reduced intrinsic motivation.

One excellent example of when setting unrealistic goals went wrong is with the Ford Pinto. The Ford engineers were presented with a goal of building a car for under $2,000 and under 2,000 pounds by 1970.

In order to meet this unrealistic goal, employees systematically overlooked safety testing and ended up creating a death carriage where the gas tank was extremely vulnerable to catastrophic explosions from rear-end collisions. These unrealistic workplace goals resulted in the deaths of 53 people.

Instead of pushing beyond the brink of reality, it’s best to set realistic workplace safety goals that your employees will actually buy into. Continue reading to learn more about setting realistic workplace safety goals.

What Are Unrealistic Workplace Safety Goals?

Unrealistic workplace safety goals can cause you to miss the mark on your overall organizational safety strategy. It may also cause a few bumps along the way that can have devastating implications.

For instance, if your construction company currently has 30% of the staff receiving workers compensation and you would like to lower this percentage. An unrealistic workplace safety goal would be to get to 10% by the end of the year.

Attempting to reduce the amount of injured workers in this short span of time isn’t feasible, especially within industries like construction. Instead, a more realistic workplace safety goal would be to decrease claims by 10% year over year.

While the latter workplace safety goal is more attainable, it’s still challenging to meet and would require a significant change in how your employees identify and work around hazards as well as approach safety.

Tips to Create More Realistic Workplace Safety Goals

Make It a Team Effort

The first step toward creating more realistic workplace safety goals is to incorporate others in on the goal setting. Even if you’re the owner of a manufacturing firm, your safety goals will be more realistic if you involve people from throughout your organization.

A great time to do this is during your monthly or annual safety team meeting. By making goal setting a more inclusive process, they’ll be more likely to take ownership of the goals and actively work to achieve them.

Base Workplace Safety Goals on Previous Year’s Performance

Another tip is to set safety goals based on the previous year’s goal performance. Just as other organizations base their annual profit forecasts on previous performance, your workplace safety goals should be the same.

By analyzing previous goals and performance, you can gain a sense of the types of attainable goals. This can help you make them more suited to your organization and staff.

Departmentalize the Goals

While organizational goals are important, they usually fail to connect to the individual worker. These types of goals may be so far removed from the individual’s job that they may deem it as unattainable.

The key is to take the larger organizational goal and departmentalize it. Each department or section of your company should be assigned goals associated with the larger organizational goal.

Create a Roadmap to the Workplace Safety Goals

Once you have the departmentalized workplace safety goals, you can work with department managers to determine the steps each employee can take to support the goals. This results in a clear roadmap to attaining the workplace safety goal.

Let’s say you operate a nuclear plant and are looking to reduce the number of safety incidents across the organization by some percentage. You could work with department managers to define the steps each employee could take to contribute to the larger organizational goal, such as requiring employees to:

While the individual goals can vary, it’s important to define the steps necessary to reach departmental goals, which support the overall organizational goal.

Contact Premier Safety Partners

As are health and safety experts with decades of experience across a variety of industries, we provide a long list of customizable and scalable services designed to help move your organization forward and increase productivity. With the New Year approaching, now is the perfect time to start reviewing your workplace safety goals. In the process, make sure to ask:

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    Are the workplace safety goals realistic?
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    Have you departmentalized the organization’s safety goals?
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    Have you created a clear roadmap of how your organization can attain these goals?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, we can help you confidently answer “yes”. We’ll use our decades of industry experience to help you define feasible workplace safety goals and empower you with the tools to ensure those goals are met.

Contact Premier Safety Partners today to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Scott Ray is an industry leader in Health and Safety. Recognized for his business acumen and innovative approach, Scott has a track record in successfully implementing H&S systems that result in fostering a culture of operational excellence. His 25 year Health and Safety career includes both technical and leadership experience within diverse industries including energy/utilities, manufacturing, higher education, construction, defense and aerospace.