Visual Management System Tools to Increase Employee Safety

Safety professionals spend hundreds of hours developing, training, and implementing safe work procedures. After all, this is a fundamental part of the health and safety programs we develop. Written programs and training sign-off sheets, unfortunately, do little to ensure employees follow the procedures we spend so much time creating. A great way to build employee engagement and adherence to these site procedures is to add visual management system tools to workplace areas. 

These tools supplement training programs by reinforcing safe work practices. They help ensure that we’re all performing tasks the right way each time. These visual tools can range from simple pinch point signs to multi-step instructions on the use of machinery. Also be aware that too much information can create an information overload situation for employees. Clear, concise, and consistent signage are the keys to proper visual management.

Posting safety audit results or metrics is a great teaching tool for managers, supervisors, or other employees. By reviewing examples of safety concerns and how those concerns were mitigated, your team gains knowledge on how to identify and mitigate similar safety issues. Another worthwhile component of the system is employee recognition. Summarizing and posting how an employee or a group of employees corrected a safety issue (and were hopefully rewarded) is a powerful safe-workplace culture building strategy.

Your facility likely utilizes some elements of visual management already. Guards and other safety equipment often come from manufacturers in yellow. Your fire extinguishers are almost always red and installed across your facility. Many eyewash stations come in green or orange. Identifying and standardizing different colors and signage for these commonly found items will help employees easily identify safety critical devices or emergency equipment. Consistent signage aids employees in building familiarity with their workplace. Incidents can often occur when employees are moved to a new location or exposed to a different circumstance that they don’t normally encounter. Visual management tools provide immediate knowledge to employees about workplace hazards in new areas. 

In addition to hazard controls and safe work practice reinforcement, visual management tools can be used to communicate the importance of site safety metrics. The classic “Days since last recordable” sign is found in many workplaces. More information regarding safety and first aid rates, closure of open safety items, and even employee recognition can be prominently displayed in your facility. Interacting with these tools on a regular basis, such as during meetings, can help build employee engagement and participation in site safety and health programs.

Environmental 360 can help your site develop a comprehensive visual management system to encourage a cultural shift by providing clear direction and communication of site safety targets and goals. These tools can also directly impact the safety of your site by identifying hazards and standardizing step-texts or other written process procedures. 

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