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.
In recent days, I’ve been thinking a great deal about humility. Oftentimes humility seems to become more prominently displayed when one is hurt, challenged, or broken in some way. On the other hand, I can’t help but think of the very best leaders I work with on a regular basis. Most are curious and open to learn. Where did that start? Where did it begin?
Organizational leaders are always in the process of seeking out and developing talented people who can take on responsibilities and attain objectives. The higher up you get the more important this becomes. If you could just find five people who could do what you can do, or what your top leader is doing, life would be great.
I've heard many safety professionals proudly declare that - "I'm not the Safety Police!" But what's wrong with being the Safety Police? • Police's mere presence on the road is a visual reminder to follow safe driving rules. People never drive more safely than they are near a patrol car. What's wrong with that?
The medical profession is concerned that the overuse of antibiotics is causing strains of bacteria to become resistant and patients to be less receptive to the most-used medications. The same thing can happen to safety when training is overused or misused.