One of the challenges in managing safety is getting all individuals on board and committed to developing a safer workplace. Usually there is some non-compliance or a re-buff of the safety initiatives.
Empowerment is a management strategy that embraces a change in the mindset. It is when there is openness and a collaborative effort, with worker involvement in developing initiatives and participation in the decision-making and problem-solving processes of their work procedures and safety management.
When workers are enabled to contribute and influence their work and safety processes, they feel valued and are more likely to take ownership, resulting in improved productivity and a safer environment.
With a feeling of ownership, comes commitment as individuals experience a sense of belonging.
This is in contrast to following a directive from the top, which may be resisted as it can be seen as management being out of touch or giving orders with no clue or understanding of work activities.
By fostering ownership, individuals are most likely to follow through and participate with a successful outcome.
The plan is that worker are provided with the necessary resources and, based on their competency and support given, they are held responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions.
Frontline management become the facilitators, supporter and guides, which are fundamental to the success of worker empowerment.
By empowering workers, companies can harness the years of experience and knowledge of their workforce, leading to higher morale, increased productivity, reduced incident and injury, with less absenteeism and low staff turn-over – all of which impact profitability and safety performance.