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Doubling down on safety and health

Empowering employees and focusing on wellbeing has been winning bet for the Oregon State Lottery. Here are five ways to improve the odds at your organization.

posted July 07, 2017

Doubling down on safety and health

By Dawn Jacobs, SAIF senior safety management consultant

In 2015, leadership at the Oregon State Lottery doubled down on its commitment to employee health and safety. It's turned out to be a winning bet. Over the past two years:

  • Workplace injuries are down 38 percent.
  • Claim costs are down 70 percent.
  • Time loss claims are down 60 percent.

With support from leadership, the lottery has built an innovative program that focuses on worker wellbeing and empowers employees to come up with creative strategies for enhancing safety, health, and wellness.

Ready to improve the odds at your organization? Here are five strategies to try:

Identify safety champions1. Identify safety champions.

In 2015, Oregon Lottery’s executive team identified the need for a position dedicated solely to employee safety and health. Because of her passion and background in safety, former employee relations consultant, Laura Trevizo was named to the job of safety, health, and wellness officer.

Recognizing the connection between safety and health, the agency went beyond regulatory requirements and also created a safety leadership team and wellness committee to work with the existing safety committee.

Empower and engage employees2. Empower and engage employees.

Laura quickly realized that safety can’t be managed from a desk. Although it was a big change for the organization, leadership supported her desire to get out on the floor to talk with employees, learn about their job duties and challenges, and observe the work environment and behaviors first-hand.

The agency also asked employees what health and safety topics they were interested in, and responded by providing resources and training. Now employees are invited to share what they know with co-workers at monthly safety and wellness talks. Topics may range from ergonomics to a healthy recipe they tried over the weekend.

Recognize and reward3. Recognize and reward safe behaviors.

In an agency-wide contest, lottery employees submitted and voted on ideas for a safety vision statement. The winning entry—“All lottery employees go home from work without injury or illness”—is prominently displayed on the agency’s intranet site. The winning employee received a gift card.

Employees also are encouraged to go online and take the Safety Pledge, which is a commitment to acknowledge safe practices, and to communicate openly and respectfully about unsafe behaviors. To further emphasize the importance of identifying and correcting hazards, the lottery is filming short videos highlighting what constitutes a “near miss” and how to report them.

Hold everyone accountable4. Hold everyone accountable.

Following the lead of his predecessor, Lottery Director Barry Pack actively communicated his commitment to safety through a safety culture training that was viewed by all employees. Participation in safety, health, and wellness activities is now part of every employee's performance review.

Go above and beyond5. Go above and beyond.

In 2016, the Oregon State Lottery sought and achieved certification through Oregon OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Certification requires a comprehensive workplace safety and health assessment, significant employee involvement, correction of hazards, and safety and health management system improvements.

But the lottery isn’t about to cash in its chips. The agency is reinvesting in employee wellbeing with new programs, such as Safety-in-Motion™ training for field employees. Leadership continues to communicate its commitment to safety while recognizing employees who are doing a great job of keeping themselves—and each other—safe.

Ready to learn more?

The Ansbro Safety Culture Spectrum can help your organization identify where you are on your health and safety journey, and develop a plan for getting to the next level. Ask your safety consultant for information.

Find more tools for developing safety and health leadership on our website.

From saif.com

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