The phrase has been around for over 100 years, at a time where the movement began to reduce workforce hazards. In fact, in 1877, Massachusetts pioneered in the establishment of factory safeguards and, in 1886, in the reporting of accidents.
The beginnings of Safety in the workplace
The first age of safety started with the Industrial Revolution in 1750-1760 and the invention of the steam engine. Most accidents were from the technology failing, injuring workers and the public. The focus of safety management was to ensure the technology was safe to use. By the 1920s, nearly all states in the US had workers’ compensation laws. In response, several large corporations launched safety programs, redesigned their equipment and workplace, sought to change workers’ attitudes, and beefed-up regulations for supervisors and employees.
Safety as a culture and core value
As we know, it all starts with a safety culture that places an elevated level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes—and these are shared by most people within the company or workplace. It can be characterised as “the way we do things around here”. Safety is also a core value. It requires a personal commitment at all levels in the organization. There is a significant difference in how a company thinks and behaves when safety is a value, rather than a program. For a company with safety as a core value, safety has become a way of life.
How the recent pandemic brough Safety to another level
This pandemic has propelled both home and remote working models because telecommuting is now easier to manage, but employers must ensure they are complying with workplace rules even for employees who do not work onsite. This is a growing trend. Keeping remote employees safe can be challenging, mainly because they are not in a controlled workplace environment. There may not be a designated office with smoke detectors, ergonomic workspaces, and security protocols.
As global conditions improve in 2022, (in reference to the global pandemic), ways of working and interacting are continuing to evolve as organisations adapt to the ongoing changes. Remote work or hybrid models are likely here to stay. There is a notion for employers to clearly scope out new remote work policies that include flexibility in hours, office and technology, and health and safety.
How it applies to remote operations
The applications and implications for remote operations such as in a Mining to Oil & Gas camps has also changed dramatically. The continuous adjustments to comply with Government Health Regulators as well as Company Policy has brought change on all levels from worker transportation (Charter Aircraft to Bus) to accommodations (Camp, Canteen or Recreation facilities).
Workforce Logistics Systems to schedule workers on rotations have also added many new features to ensure worker safety and health compliance. At Nomadis, this includes but is not limited to maintaining a confidential database of vaccinations along with the workers updated health records. Contact tracing is also a benefit in addition to a very thorough employee profile.
The Mustering feature has also been enhanced, especially after all the natural disasters like fire, floods, heat waves and earthquakes that are occurring for example in British Columbia, Canada. Robust tracking of remote workers becomes more critical. Innovative systems include the simple key card tracing of workers to safety drills in order to support required Emergency Action Plans. Plus, camp managers need to always report on every person in the camp at the click of a button.
As a conclusion, safety is everyone’s responsibility to take care of themselves and others. Working from home remotely or at a remote job site caries different risks but supporting a safety culture is common in both environments.