Is safety culture driven from the top down or the bottom up, asks Patrick Karol, CSP, ARM, of Karol Safety Consulting. Karol explained key factors to successfully sell safety to front line employees on Tuesday afternoon.

Safety can be a tough sell. Even the word “safety” has negative connotations when we connect safety to terms like investigation, audit and disciplinary action, Karol said. Yet, safety professionals, supervisors and operations managers must be able to sell safety up and down the organization. What if leadership is already on board, but your employees still don't seem to get it? Tactics used to sell safety to leadership are somewhat different than those we use for front line employees. Effectively selling safety has to do with creating an environment where employees are buying safety and not being sold safety.

Karol said you should display your vision; define it in operational terms; and share a success story to motivate. He said to make sure accomplishments don’t go unrecognized. Celebrate every success, whether it was an individual or team effort. Also treat incidents as an opportunity to improve, Karol said.

One of the keys, he said, is to make safety personal, and not about the numbers.