Originally posted on Caterpillar Safety Service’s Safety Culture WORLD blog http://safetycultureworld.blogspot.com/ and reposted here with Caterpillar’s permission.
Before an organization begins to curse safety, it is probable that one or more of the following have occurred: regulators with a limited knowledge base of safety have caused grief, a condition of supposed danger has led to an operations shutdown, a series of injuries or a severe injury has caused notable concern.
Events like these get management’s attention. When instances like these occur, the organization seems to inevitably enter the safety event reaction cycle, which goes something like: an event occurs, management reacts and demands more safety activities, incidents go down in frequency, the organization breathes a sigh of relief and shortly returns to the predominant production culture. Unsurprisingly, another event occurs a while later and we head back into the safety event reaction cycle.
The real issue is a weak safety culture that puts safety subordinate to a more predominant culture. This is the true precursor to workers’ safety issues. The solution is to develop a strong safety culture -- engagement of personnel throughout the organization in developing and living appropriate safety accountabilities (activities) for all processes. Upper management, middle management, supervision and hourly labor all need to be engaged in this safety culture resolution. It is not about regulations or observations; it is about developing a culture of correct that relentlessly pursues and delivers a culture of appropriate accountabilities at all levels of the organization for all of the at-risk processes, on and off the job.