The idea of sending your employees home is not enough to guarantee safety. In fact, most employers use it as a way to show their employees that they have a commitment to safety; you would rather let the person spend the afternoon relaxing than risk an accident in an unsafe work environment. In reality, this is the least an employer can do for their employees—it’s what your workers will expect. Stating that you are committed to sending people home safe is a guarantee that does not warrant explicit mentioning. It doesn’t make you a safe leader, and it shows that you are only committed to the minimum expectations of workplace safety.
Sending people home safe is, literally, the least you can do for your employees—by law. No employee expects to get hurt on a specific day. When you tell people that all you care about is getting them home safely, you’re merely reiterating an expectation they already have. Rather than using empty words, put your ideas into effect by actually enforcing safety standards. Do what is beyond the minimum to ensure a safe work environment.
Rather than sending your employees home safely, think about what you could be doing. You could be sending them home better—with an understanding of workplace safety codes and the promise that they will not be hurt on the job. Send them home with a sense of pride in the quality of work they do, the employer they work for, and the team they work with. Inspire them to be better employees, to look out for their co-workers, and to extend the safety leadership you’ve already displayed.
Rather than emphasizing that you want to send people home safely, focus on the educational tools your employees need to do their jobs correctly. Sure, if an accident happens, send the employee home. But don’t make this the most important aspect of your approach to safety. Understand that there are steps you can take to improve the workplace for everyone.