Suppose you want to accelerate the safety performance of your organization, but you have limited resources to get started. You can only invest in one of the following strategies to improve safety: You could build a stronger safety culture, improve your safety management systems, build an inherently safer facility, reduce at-risk behavior, or strengthen safety leadership.
Oftentimes, many of us like to discuss safety influence at the supervisory level where much can be accomplished to keep workers safe. But like you, I’ve seen what subtle actions can do when it comes to influence from the top – both good and bad.
We know that “leadership creates culture;” any leader will tell you that. But oddly enough, “knowing” in this case doesn’t reach very far. What is required is finding the connection between what I do as a leader and the kinds of cultural attributes I would like to change. Here is an example from my experience:
We’ve never met a leader who didn’t want a better culture for their organization. Statements like, “we need to change the culture,” are heard every day in the life of a consultant. What is odd is that the leaders who make these statements usually think they are talking about other people, when in reality they are talking about themselves.
Over the past two decades, many leading organizations have achieved consistent improvement in injury prevention. On average, US private companies reduced their injury rates by 62% between 1994 and 2014. But those dramatic reductions in injuries haven’t translated into reductions in workplace fatalities, which dropped by just 34% in the same period.