One of my principles to establishing and maintaining a good safety culture among the crew members is to acknowledge and respond to their concerns in a timely manner. Some instances I can provide a resolution on the spot and other times it may require consulting with others and getting approvals (such as ideas for hard hat stickers or new incentive programs).
The key to this is to always respond and apologize profusely if the response isn’t timely. Even if the response is a denial, let them know. They will at least feel like they were taken seriously. One of our chief complaints as safety people is how difficult it is to get the workers to approach and interact with us. We are there to serve them after all. When they finally do break that barrier it is critical to respond or else that barrier will be put back in place and reinforced.
Now, this also goes beyond the safety realm. If you are claiming to be dedicated to something and don’t respond to a request (even if the response is “Sorry I can’t help right now”), then you are destroying your own brand and trustworthiness. You have to verb your nouns, which is to say you have to put actions to your subject.
*previously posted on LinkedIn