Everyone agrees we have made great strides in safety. You only need to at look at the numerous charts and graphs to see the significant declines in serious and fatal injuries over the last several decades. However when taking the shorter view the picture looks like more of a plateau. So the big question is where do we go from here and how do we continue to drive the trends downward.
Safety Management to Safety Leadership – Have you ever heard that all safety regulations are written in blood? If so, you know that most occupational health and safety regulations were put in place after one or more people died. Too much of our safety efforts are reactive. Too much time is spent managing systems and documentation which distracts from the human factor. In the end the success of our safety programs will come from effectively engaging and motivating people.
Safety Culture to Safety Community – Yes, it is important for an organization to establish and maintain a culture which strongly values the wellbeing of their employees. However the new safety paradigm should also recognize the community within the culture. Who are the people in the workplace? How to best communicate safety to all the different community constituents? What is the right message, format and media? And how do you engage the entire community in the ongoing safety conversation?
Safety Behaviors to Safety Beliefs – Actions (behaviors) are motivated by beliefs. In order to influence a certain behavior you must first change the underlying belief. Beliefs are built on experiences. We can have all the right words and even have an intellectual understanding of something but we only truly know what we have lived.
Safety leaders within Safety communities will create the experiences to allow us all to believe that zero incidents is possible. In turn everyone at all levels will to take actions aligned to that belief.