10 Focus Necessities for Successful Safety Strategy

This article explains 10 focus necessities and provides a guide on gathering perspectives from key stakeholders to prioritize an improvement plan or create a more robust safety improvement strategy.

People industry or construction employees.
Source: Anna Semenchenko/Getty Images

To achieve success in safety, there are 10 areas in which organizations must focus energy and resources. However, few organizations have the bandwidth to excel in each area simultaneously.

Operational and safety leadership must evaluate the current state of these focus areas, then prioritize when to focus on each over the course of a multiyear strategy. This article explains these focus necessities and provides a guide on gathering perspectives from key stakeholders to prioritize an improvement plan or create a more robust safety improvement strategy.

Strategy is a framework of choices, trade-offs, and small bets that an organization makes to determine how to capture and deliver sustainable value. Whenever employee engagement is lacking or leaders apply insufficient time, cost, resources, and energy to improve safety, it typically stems from not recognizing the value in doing more than what is currently in place. Perceived value is the most significant factor in success or failure when working to improve performance and culture. For this reason, operational leadership input and education are vital to success. Some organizations appropriately recognize the importance of input from other key stakeholders such as employees, supervisors, and managers, which is the preferred method for developing plans or overall strategy.

10 Focus Necessities

  1. Conditions—Workplace conditions are managed effectively through a continuous proactive effort to identify and mitigate identified hazards and risks.
  2. Compliance—Local, federal, and company workplace safety requirements are regularly reviewed and audited to assure adherence.
  3. Capital—Money and other resources, including personnel, are appropriately allocated for oversight and improvement, allowing the organization to strategically and tactically invest in continuous improvement.
  4. Culture—There is cultural capacity to support and reinforce the health, environment, and safety (HSE) systems. The desired beliefs, behaviors, and experiences exist, and the shared mindset is that continuous improvement will always be possible. HSE is viewed as the way business objectives are met.
  5. Complete Person—The organization has systems to support the complete person, including mental health and psychological safety. It also provides education on nutrition and offers healthy food options in company cafeterias or break rooms.
  6. Captured Insight—Data collected and analyzed provides insight and allows safety and operational leadership to focus on strategic and tactical improvement in the other nine areas.
  7. Confidence in System Capacity—Capacity exists within the safety management system (hierarchy of controls) to prevent incidents and injuries. However, because human error is normal in complex environments and deviations from expectations will occur, the system also has recovery mechanisms to reduce the severity of unwanted events and bring the individual or operations back to the pre-event state. There is confidence in the system's capacity to prevent deviations from expectations and recovery systems to recover when deviations occur.
  8. Contractor Safety Management—There is auditable proof that the approach is robust and effective across the five main phases of contractor safety management: prequalification, pre-job task and risk assessment, contractor training and orientation, monitoring of the job, and post-job evaluations.
  9. Competency Safety Technical Acumen—All personnel in the organization maintain the necessary safety technical acumen to understand regulatory requirements and the safety expectations of the organization and how to achieve them. Everyone possesses the knowledge and competencies to perform their tasks in a way that supports the work as planned and contribute to an incident-free outcome.
  10. Competency Leadership Acumen—All people leaders and influencers understand their role in supporting the safety strategy. These individuals work continuously to create a motivational environment that yields discretionary effort with safety activities. They know their people, understand how to get the best out of them, and recognize excellent performance and results.

Read the full story here.