Many Oklahoma residents remember the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It was a human tragedy of enormous magnitude, killing many and condemning an entire region to decades of cancer diagnoses and birth deformities. However, the Chernobyl accident, which occurred due to a total breakdown in safety awareness and responsibility, helped create the concept of “safety culture.” Employers that embrace this idea can reduce accidents and save lives in their workplace.

Safety culture involves more than just safety management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it involves all aspects of a workplace environment and is reflected in the behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and values of every person in a business or organization. The basic components involve the belief that all people in the workplace have a right to health and safety, that each person is responsible for their safety and that each person is responsible for the safety of others.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers can promote a strong safety culture by encouraging positive workplace attitudes at all levels of employment and emphasizing participation by all workers. This also requires employee training, measurable and meaningful health and safety goals and policies and procedures that are easy to reference. Employee responsibility and accountability should be stressed throughout the organization to encourage systemic workplace safety.

Unfortunately, workplace accidents can and do occur despite all precautions being in place. People who are injured on the job and who are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance might want to have legal assistance in seeking benefits thereunder. These benefits can include, among other things, the furnishing of necessary medical treatment.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Creating a Positive Workplace Health and Safety Culture,” Kiruna Baksh, April 8, 2016