Want Safety Conscious Employees? Start Young

Safety Monkey

Yes! That's a stuffed monkey in a fall protection harness! I got this picture from a friend over the Thanksgiving holiday and it got me thinking that the best way to help create safety conscious employees is to emphasize safety from a young age.

Believe me, I'm not suggesting that we start installing harnesses on playground equipment or get crazy about the fact that kids climb trees, but I am saying that some simple reinforcement at a young age can reap great rewards for creating a safer work environment.

Here are a few thoughts about emphasizing work safety with children:

  • Model it! This is really the most important thing isn't it? Practice what your preach. Monkey see, monkey do. If kids see parents and other role models with blatant disregard for their own safety, will they be led to to practice safety themselves? Maybe, but not likely!
  • Integrate Work Safety into Play - Kids love dress up. Make sure to pick up some extra personal protection equipment for your kids. They'll love wearing hard hats, safety goggles, you name it! My kids have little log cabin that they climb on in the back yard. Sometimes they play roofer and tie themselves off while banging on the plastic roof!
  • Observe and Comment - When you pass a work site or read a kids book, ask you kids to tell you if they are working safe or not. This will emphasize the importance of working safely as a part of how they view the environment.
  • Practice - This is right up there with modeling. When building a project with your kids make sure they are wearing the proper safety gear. Kid sized work gloves and safety goggles are not always easy to find a the local home store, but the Internet is your friend. Remember to buy in bulk...they'll go through them faster than you do!
  • Encourage Leadership - By leadership I mean the ability to "go against the flow." I am sure that a lot of unsafe working conditions are caused by the simple fact that people just do what others are doing instead of thinking "what should I be doing?" This kind of leadership has nothing to do with personality, it has everything to do with "making sure that your kids don't jump off a bridge just because their friends do."

These are just a few ideas to emphasize a safe work environment with children. Please share your own thoughts and comments below.

Safety Monkey

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