Your next safety initiative will (probably) fail! That is the unfortunate reality – it is highly likely that your next planned safety initiative will fail to make a meaningful difference in the behaviour and safety of your workforce. This can generally be attributed to the three most common areas of failure:
Lack of accountability
It can be powerful when accountability comes from people in authority, but it can be far more impactful when everyone takes it upon themselves to act as a safety leader. Regardless, if you are the CEO, Project Manager, trade foreman or a tradesperson. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and therefore, we should all be accountable for its delivery.
If you enable your workforce to speak up about unsafe acts by a see something, say something, do something mentality, it will have far more of an effect than any direction from management. You also need to give people time to form new habits, it’s said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so set this into your plan. Announce an amnesty period in the first three weeks of any new initiative, where individuals will be given polite reminders regarding certain violations of procedure then after that, things get serious!
Strategy vs culture
It can be very tempting to delegate a new safety strategy, but by doing so you are undermining the importance of safety within your organisation, and in turn, the results of the process are never going to meet your expectations. Safety has to be embedded into your company culture rather than being a “bolt-on” that employees need to add to their list of tasks.
Not explaining the “Why?”
Everyone involved within the organisation must understand the magnitude and impact of their actions in order to enable greater buy in and chance of sustainability. Anyone acting in an unsafe manner is generally only contemplating the direct impact of that behaviour on themselves. They are not considering the bigger picture, however, when an accident does occur it’s far more than just property damage or an insurance claim. The impact on the company can be severe enough to cause job losses, but more importantly, there is the human impact on family and the wider community to be considered.
At KS Health and Safety Consultancy, we take a different approach to safety, we don’t just look at things from a compliance point of view, and we want safety and risk assessment to become part of your company culture. So to make safety stick follow these simple rules…
Set an expectation baseline of safety.
Set clear expectations for safety and do not waver! When it comes to safety ensure your organisation operates within a just and fair culture.
Communicate expectations to all employees and management.
Communicate clearly to everyone in your organisation what these standards are and back this up by doing the right thing, even when no one is watching!
Appoint everyone as a safety ambassador
Ensure there is a see something, say something, do something expectation, everyone should feel empowered to speak up about unsafe acts. Make a safe environment everyone’s responsibility.
Provide follow up and feedback
Safety should be talked about, and it should be talked about often. Set safety initiatives that are included in your Company safety communication mediums – workforce safety meetings, toolbox talks, town halls etc.
Celebrate the wins, and address losses
Reward consistent safety in the workplace, but be sure to make them part of the safety conversation and address the opportunities for improvement through your own just and fair culture philosophy.
Chase the moving target.
Safety is evolving, and so should your company culture. Review your safety initiatives each year to make sure you are ready for what’s to come.
KS Health & Safety Consultancy offers clients a practical and solution based approach to professional health and safety service on a consultancy or retainer basis. Our business works with associated H&S professionals who have a wealth of heavy industry experience to deliver practical HSE solutions. These HSE solutions enable all our clients to get the cost effective, competent H&S advice they desire, feel free to contact us to discuss your safety needs.