This is the second in a series of 3 posts on better managing your first aid in the workplace. Step 1 was plan and step 3 is review. See the first post here and keep an eye out for the final post coming soon.
You have your awesome plan. It’s been approved by the boss. Now comes the tricky part. How do you get everyone to follow it? Let’s look at step 2 – Implement.
Make it so! Implementing your plan.
Unfortunately there is no magic wand to just make things happen. You need to take the plan and Make It So! You are responsible to make sure that the changes that need to happen, do happen. The following points are some key items to help you implement your changes.
Apart from you or your team, who knows about the plan? If no one knows about it they won’t even know if they are following it or not. It is your responsibility to get the word out that the plan exists and that it needs to be followed.
Have you talked to the workers about it? Have you given them notice that something is changing and they need to get on board? Have you told them how the changes will make them safer? Have you given them a reason to care about it all? You need to be a cheerleader for your plan so that everyone from the top down knows how important it is.
Even more importantly, you need to make sure that it’s accessible to the people that need it. Picture this situation: A worker has a minor injury. They are not sure who their first aider is or who to tell about the accident. What do you think they will do?
How many workers do you know that will leave their workspace and go to an office, just to get a copy of the WHS plan? That’s probably not going to happen and you can’t rely on it. You need to make sure that copies of the plan are stored in easily accessible places so that if a worker has a question they can find the answer quickly and easily.
MAKE THE CHANGES
If your plan calls for appointing more first aid officers or moving the location of first aid kits, don’t hang around for someone else to do it. You need to get moving and make the changes. For example, if you have been approved to appoint two new first aid officers in a department, what can you do?
Don’t just sit back and wait for volunteers. You want enthusiastic first aiders but you also want people that are trusted by their co-workers. Talk to those who will be affected, pick who you want to take on the responsibility and ask them directly if they want to take on the job. If they say yes, get them trained in the first available course.
It’s easy for the initial enthusiasm to die down after a few weeks. This is the time when people can start returning to their old routines and ignoring the changes that have been made. Toolbox talks can be specifically designed to overcome this challenge.
Toolbox talks don’t have to be anything dramatic. They can be as simple as a quick recap of a particular safety point with a few questions to ensure every one was listening.
Why is this effective? There are some specific benefits of regular toolbox talks:
- They keep safety fresh in everyone’s mind
- They can fit the exact circumstances of your workplace
- You can pick topics that match your needs
What often holds people back from conducting toolbox talks is a fear of lost productivity. Is it justifiable to get everyone away from their work “just” to talk about safety?
The answer is most definitely yes! If you get into the habit of conducting toolbox talks at the start of the day, they can have a minimal impact on production and can hugely impact productivity in the long run by contributing to a greater awareness of safety and ideally a reduction in lost work injuries.