“Sending people home safe” has become an all too familiar phrase. It has become that thing people say when they used to say "safety first." It's a phrase that rolls off your tongue in an effort to prove that you have a commitment to safety. But there's a problem with it.
Sending people home safely is actually the least you can do. It’s what employees expect you to do. They show up at work expecting to go home safely. But truthfully, anyone simply enforcing rules can get people home safely.
A safety leader is someone who influences good decisions and positive behaviors.
Safety leadership has nothing to do with being a manager or supervisor. You don’t have to hold a safety management position to be a safety leader. A safety leader is someone who influences good decisions and positive behaviors. Anyone can do it if they are willing to put the work in. And the benefits are huge: to you and the people you lead.
Here are five ways that you can start to improve your own safety leadership skills right away.
If they don’t believe in safety in the first place, then all of the safety training in the world isn’t going to help.
Challenges with workplace incidents can be traced right back to Day 1 - safety training. Training is the basics that workers need to do the job today. There is no personalization or customization of the training based on either aptitude, attitude or comprehension. Basically, people are trained in safety on a schedule, and it is expected that they will all “get” it at the same time. Training’s fatal flaw is an assumption that everyone starts from the same place.
Don't worry that senior management is not supporting your Safety Culture initiative. Truthfully, you don’t need their help.
Corporate Culture is the glue that holds your organization together - how you do things, how you hire, how you even handle meetings. Safety Culture is the way your people do safety. But as I wrote in an earlier Blog post, the Unspoken Code of peers is one of the largest contributors to Culture. Companies who attempt to shift Culture without taking into account The Code, run a real risk.
The 80/20 Rule, The Pareto Principle, may be the exact reason you can't seem to hit Zero in safety and consistently hold it there. What you might think is the problem, is not actually the problem.
Safety is not something you do or manage; it is the result of five things done right. Unfortunately, the focus for achieving Zero has historically been solely on the OH&S part. But it is only one-fifth, or twenty percent, of what needs to be addressed.
Senior managers who only want to put in an appearance at safety meetings should just stay away. Senior managers can't just show up halfway through a safety meeting, glad-hand a bit and then leave in favour of a meeting that is supposedly "more important." If safety is not the most important meeting for senior managers, then it sends a terrible message to employees.
Engagement is the biggest problem in the workplace today. The surveys tell us that 71% of employees are NOT fully engaged. And it's not just Gen Y - they only account for 15% of the workforce forcing you to explain the other 56% to make it add up to 71. Stop kidding yourself. The problem is not just young workers.
In PeopleWork, Kevin Burns presents his M4 Method of people-centered management for safety. Practical, how-to steps that frontline supervisors and safety people can master to promote a relationship-based culture focused on mentoring, coaching, and inspiring teams.