It Takes a Team to Win at Safety

Gold, Silver, Bronze Medals on ribbonsThroughout time, many of us have looked to athletes for lessons on reaching goals and achieving success, and this year’s Olympics are giving us plenty of opportunities to do so. All eyes may be on Rio during primetime, but when you go back into work the next morning after watching Michael Phelps or Simone Biles break world records, there’s one important lesson you can carry with you: it takes a team to win – whether in Rio or when it comes to workplace safety.

During these Olympic Games we’ve all seen the entourages that trail behind Team USA and help them prepare to compete. From trainers to coaches to specialists who are there on game day, to sponsors and supportive fans who cheer them on to success, they don’t win on their own. In the workplace, it takes a support system to win at safety as well. It starts with buy-in from company leadership and trickles down to nearly every area of the business. Each individual plays a part in making safety a priority, from those purchasing PPE to safety trainers to the employees on the floor.

Here are three workplace safety lessons we can learn from the success we’ve seen in Rio:

Players will follow their coach’s lead

A good team starts with a good leader. When it comes to safety, employees will follow the lead of their supervisor. If that individual makes safety a priority and requires that employees follow safe practices, workers are likely to comply and possibly even go the extra mile to ensure safety. But if a leader puts productivity or convenience before safety, workers will follow suit. This also extends to leaders who tell employees to work safely but don’t work safely themselves. Employees are watching and will adopt those habits.

Having the right people on the team is essential  

While a good team starts with a good leader, the individuals on the team are the ones who have to choose to work safely day in and day out, which means it’s important to carefully consider the workers you hire. They should be safety-minded, care about the safety of the entire team and be bold enough to speak up when they identify a dangerous situation. Following best practices during the hiring process, such as checking references and requiring drug testing, will help ensure these are the types of people that end up on your team.

No one steps on the court until they’re ready to win

Across the world, there are a lot of athletes who didn’t make it to the Olympics this time around because they weren’t quite ready. In the workplace, this call isn’t made as often as it should be. All too often workers step on the floor or head out in the field before they’re ready to do the job safely. Whether it’s an employee who is new to the industry or a worker who has years under their belt but is new to the company, every individual should be trained, evaluated and qualified before they start work.

Athletes never stop training

The more than 11,000 athletes competing in Rio have spent their entire lives getting ready to perform on the global stage. But they didn’t stop training once they qualified for the Games earlier this summer, or even once they got to Rio. For them, and for your workers, training is not a one-and-done, temporary activity. Safety training for all employees should be ongoing and consistent. Scheduling training sessions ahead of time and informing everyone of when they’ll be held can help keep you on track. Our monthly Policyholder Safety Alerts found in CompNews can also be a monthly tool to help start safety conversations with your team.

For more resources to keep your team safe, login to our Safety Resource Center on our website or visit


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