What safety leadership strategies should you adopt

Here is a nice summary written by Dominic Cooper   www.behavioral-safety.com  Let us know what you think…

The common Safety Leadership strategies appear to be:

[1] Encouraging people to take personal responsibility for safety by setting expectations for each layer (Senior, Middle, Front-line management, and employees) linked to clear goals. These should be created at a dedicated session where the CEO outlines his/her vision and senior managers determine how to translate that into concrete actions. It is important to ensure the strategies and interventions adopted are aligned to their strategic intent and do not just boil down to a simple signing of the safety policy. A reinforcement strategy is for all board members to hold a weekly conference call where plant managers are required to discuss incidents occurring in the previous week, root cause analysis results, corrective actions, best practices, etc. At plant/operation levels, morning meetings should be held to discuss any and all pressing safety issues. Effectiveness assessments are held with 360 reviews of managers, an organizational wide safety climate survey and further diagnostics around organizational systems.

[2] Putting a robust Risk or Safety management system in place encompassing (but not limited to) preventive maintenance, operation procedures, inspections, permit to work systems, safety talks, Safety committees, risk assessments, near miss reporting, training, management of change, risk management plans, etc. In terms of effectiveness, the monitoring focus is primarily on incident rates (lagging indicators), safety surveys, and Gap Analyses via Internal Audit functions (leading Indicators).

[3] Education & Awareness: Providing safety leadership training so that safety leadership becomes a corporate value. Effectiveness assessment of the training strategy revolves around employees visibly observing the leadership commitment to a safe workplace, and leaders in the organization being more knowledgeable on safety with line management accepting safety responsibilities. However, a comment was made that realistically education is not effective for more than a few days post course. This implies that some type of monitoring system is required to ensure attendees are held accountable for demonstrating the behaviors taught (leading Indicator).

[4] Encouraging the management team (from the most senior down) to exhibit visible leadership commitment to a safe workplace. This visible demonstration appears to take the form of chairing of safety meetings, ownership of the SMS (i.e. conducting risk assessments, investigating accidents), involvement in quarterly reviews & training, two-way dialogues about safety, going around site, looking around and talking with people. Effectiveness is assessed by monitoring the number and quality of managerial observations / conversations (leading Indicator). Again, this implies that some type of robust, but easily accessible tracking system is required to monitor the outcomes of the observations and discussions.

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4 thoughts on “What safety leadership strategies should you adopt

  1. Planning, planning, planning.

    One of the most imporant elements not sufficiently covered by this blog is planning.

    Strategically planning safety just as leaders would plan any other aspect of the business. Planning objectives and targets, planning risk management, planning the methods to monitor the system and all programs. Possibly the most crucial part, planning management review to ensure continuous improvement.

  2. Good to see an article that recognises that an OHS Management System is crucial to safety leadership.

    Many organisations fail to implement their health & safety management system and so turn to behavioural based safety thinking it will be the solution. Behavioural based safety and/or leadership are important but not only do they rely upon a management system, they are meerly programs within the system.

  3. Being able to demonstrate a decision for safety that negatively effected your production outcome is a sign of good safety leadership. If safety leadership is good, the staff will feel comfortable to follow the guideline – if it is not safe dont do it! Also, not making the assumption that everyone knows what they need to do.

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