Career based experience on “10 Excellent Ways Leaders that can Immediately Improve Safety Performance” within your organisation.

“Well Sonni, thanks for that review. Now, what shall we do to improve our safety performance?”

Over my 30 years in the industry, having visited companies all over the world and in different sectors, the question I get asked the most is “what shall we do to improve safety?  The second question is then “where do we start?“.

At the end of nearly every project, review or assessment I have to present my findings to Senior Level Leaders and/or Board of Directors.  This is more commonly known as a close-out meeting.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, some important aspects to acknowledge:

  • Leaders are busy people hence their time is precious. Not specifically a good trait some might say.
  • Leaders have lots of things to do, manage and think about. They like info in manageable “bite-sized” chunks. In other words substance and not waffle.
  • Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and flavours of personality (so to speak).
  • Leaders care about the “bottom line”,  but in this modern world, the vast majority of them also recognise that workforce safety and performance is a key contributor to the bottom line. It’s a given….otherwise, they will either be out of business or in front of a judge.

My 10 excellent ways leaders can immediately improve safety performance include the following:

  1. Leadership Commitment – avoid shallow commitment and “walk the talk”. Check out this video cameo on Safety Leadership.
  2. Competency – Make sure you have the “Right Person for the Right Job”.
  3. Gap Analysis – this is the self-discovery process because “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
  4. Toolkit – use and implement tools that are “fit for purpose” and don’t waste time and resources with “hidden factories”.
  5. Transparency – share the vision and mission. Make it a common goal and team effort.
  6. Assumptions – don’t assume that people know what to do. You know what they say about “assume”?  It will make an “Ass” of “u” and “Me”.  Training, Culture and Awareness play a critical role towards safety performance improvement.
  7. Changes – Manage changes before they manage your business and risk profile.
  8. Reflection – Learn from experience and mistakes. Put into practice lessons learnt and make sure they are followed.
  9. Measurement – progress can only be made if progress is measured. Set some Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
  10. Complacency – they say “money is the root of all evil”.  I would add that “complacency” is the “evil” in safety. It’s one letter away from being the “devil”.  Eliminate complacency and foster a positive working environment.
With the above 10 ways:
  • You may be familiar with some of them, if not all of them? They fit into the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” model for Management Systems. However, I prefer the expression “Plan-Do-Analysis-Refocus“.
  • Yes, they may be fairly obvious. But, more often than not the obvious ones are the ones that are overlooked (Ref: #10 – Complacency).

As I said at the beginning of the post. The above 10 Excellent Ways Leaders Can Immediately Improve Safety Performance are based on my experiences.

If I had a $1 everytime I had to repeat the above in closeout meetings, I would have in excess of $1000 (and maybe even more).

Thoughts and comments welcomed.

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