Culture of safety and coronavirus?

Coronavirus Phase 2 is finally happening: shops, companies and organisations are re-opening and everyone is trying to navigate their way through the new protocols to create and maintain a safe environment for workers and customers. This blog is not about the content of those protocols but instead how to build a culture of safety which helps every staff member to get into the habit of following these procedures  every time with every colleague and customer.

The consequences of not following protocols or procedures means staff and customers might get sick, the business might be closed or far worse. As anyone could be asymptomatic (colleagues or customers) every interaction needs to be treated as if the virus could be transferred.

The only way to make safety procedures the normal and default way of doing things is to build them into the culture and “the way we do things here!”.

 Culture is sometimes described as what people do when the boss isn’t there!


These are our practical TIPS for leaders and teams to successfully build a Culture of Safety against coronavirus:

  1. Communicate frequently, widely, consistently and using different modes of communication. Beware of complacent behaviours after the first week!
  2. Model safe actions: all leaders make the effort to always follow protocols and lead by example. Also be prepared to admit when they get it wrong!
  3. Notice and praise staff when they are following protocols not just notice and criticise when they are not.
  4. Encourage colleagues to team up to help each other to adhere to the procedures – let them choose their own buddy teams with the aim of keeping each other safe!
  5. Create WhatsApp safety groups where colleagues have a place to share, remind and have fun.
  6. Ask for volunteers in each physical location to be the safety champion. Different locations will have different challenges and it also helps to spread good practice across the organisation.
  7. Celebrate all successes and celebrate the efforts being made as well as the results achieved.
  8. If you see non- compliance, take action with positive corrective feedback rather than letting it slide.
  9. Measure, track and communicate progress.
  10. Doing all the above consistently is difficult: team up with a colleague or a coach, somebody who can support and challenge you in the implementation

Good luck and keep safe!