Humans tend to overcomplicate things, and one of the areas where this can be disastrous is workplace safety. It might seem like the most specific, detailed, and comprehensive policies will be the most effective ones, but the results often say otherwise. Excessively complicated safety rules can easily end up doing more harm than good.
Therefore, experts observe that there is an increasing trend towards making safety much simpler. Most workplaces that actively attempt this enjoy the following benefits.
1. Workers learn quicker –Teaching the safety guidelines is an important part of any new employee’s training, but the way many companies currently go about it is counterproductive. Inductions are often several hours long, gruelling, and unnecessarily complicated. By simplifying it to the most basic concepts, the company saves resources and workers will learn much more effectively.
2. People forget less often – When there’s an entire rule book the size of someone’s head just to operate one machine, it’s natural for someone to accidentally skip one or two steps. When this happens, they might miss a crucial sign that something is wrong with the equipment. A well-designed Take 5 Hazard Assessment Tool does the job fine, without any of the fuss or headaches.
3. Employees become more eager – Making things simple is also an excellent way to encourage a more safety conscious culture in the workplace. One of the biggest causes of safety resistance among workers is the restrictive, bureaucratic feel of many safety policies, so summarizing it into a few practical and relevant rules greatly help.
4. Easier communication – Obviously, the simpler the message it is, the easier it is to communicate to others. There is a far lower risk of misunderstandings, improving the effectiveness of the safety policy as a whole. Workers know exactly what they have to do in any given situation, and there is less confusion during times of trouble.
Still, there’s a risk of taking it too far in the opposite direction. Make things too simple, and you could end up skipping something important. Finding the right balance between simplicity and comprehensiveness should be the aim of every company.