Do You Want To Lower Safety Numbers or Improve Safety Culture?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Dec 4, 2019 11:15:00 AM

You know that you want to improve your safety culture. You just may not be going about it the right way. So, let’s give you a tip on where to start to improve safety culture the more effective way.

When I am consulting with senior managers or presenting to supervisors, I ask this question: are you trying to lower numbers or improve safety culture?

"Both" is usually the answer. And you already know that when you improve the culture, you will get long-term better performance in the numbers. But here’s the problem: you’re not actively working to improve the culture. You're spending more time on numbers-related issues.

Read More

Safety needs a script to follow

Posted by Kevin Burns on Nov 27, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Think about the last time your company expanded or the last time you had a big round of hiring. Think about the times you’ve spent in management meetings discussing new initiatives being rolled-out or a new direction being taken. None of that happens by accident. It is all part of a large vision and executing a plan.

Read More

Safety Only Needs Ten Percent Buy-in

Posted by Kevin Burns on Nov 20, 2019 11:15:00 AM

You don’t need more rules and procedures in safety. You need more people to buy-in to what you are trying to do in safety. That is a very different issue. And it requires a different set of skills to capture hearts and minds of employees in safety.

If you’ve adopted a leadership mindset, then you will have already spent time envisioning what needs fixing in your safety program. Without spending time to assess what’s wrong, you can’t possibly improve your program. Without a vision of where you would like to end up, you’ll stay stuck right where you are.

Read More

Safety keeps employees loyal

Posted by Kevin Burns on Nov 13, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Sending people home safe is the least you are allowed to do by law. You’re not allowed to do less than that. So, when you celebrate sending your people home safe, you are undermining your own safety program. You send the wrong message to your people. You are suggesting that you have to work hard to be safe. But, safety isn’t supposed to be hard. So when you celebrate sending people home safe, it feels to them like you had to work hard to accomplish that.

Your people show up to work expecting that you have taken every reasonable precaution to provide them a safe place to work. When you celebrate that you’re sending them home safe, you’re celebrating the basic minimum and it contradicts your people’s expectations.

Read More

What is your intent for safety?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Nov 6, 2019 11:15:00 AM

You look for the members of your team to deliver their best performance each day. Or at least something near to their best performance. Despite their best intentions to do that, your people can be pulled off-task by something or someone new in their workspace. Or a sudden change in the workflow. Interruption is the quickest way to mess with the flow of someone’s excellent performance.

Read More

Want safety buy-in? Stop using numbers. Do these 3 things.

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 30, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Safety numbers don’t matter … to front-line employees. They matter to you and your senior management team. Maybe to the finance department and of course to your sales and marketing department, but that’s where numbers stop mattering. 

Read More

How to Improve Safety Engagement

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 23, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Can you seriously call it “employee engagement” if the employee has little to do with it? Safety engagement needs to connect better.

Read More

An Alternative to Safety Departments

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 16, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Twenty years ago, most of the safety jobs that exist today, weren’t around. In another ten years, most of the safety jobs as you know them will have disappeared. New ideas make way for new approaches. And for anyone who thinks that safety will be the same in ten years from now is not paying attention. Everything cycles, including safety.

Companies are already realigning how they do safety, how they integrate safety into everything they do and every person they hire. And companies are starting to question why, if safety is everyone’s responsibility, why do they need so many safety people on the ground? The better that companies train their supervisors and their front-line employees, the more likely that safety will simply become integrated with every part of the organization. And the need for advisors waiting to be asked a question will likely disappear. As it should.

A true safety person should be approaching their work with the mindset of making their positions irrelevant and redundant. Safety will eventually become fully integrated into the way you work – which is really what you are trying to do isn’t it? So, how is this leading toward creating an alternative to safety departments? Well, read on and watch the video below for an example of where you can see it in action daily.

Read More

3 Strategies to Improve Safety Buy-in

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 9, 2019 11:07:00 AM

We don’t need more safety rules. We need more buy-in to safety.

It feels like safety is in a transition place – where the compliance and punitive consequential measures of the past are giving way to more of a sense of community and teamwork. Where rules-based safety programs are giving way to higher levels of engagement, awareness and participation. Where safety managers are acting more in a consultative role instead of the clipboard carrying, looking-over-shoulder types of the past. There seems to be greater acceptance by employees of the role of safety in the workplace even though that role is still in flux. But there is still resistance to safety by some employees (there is certainly no widespread and universal acceptance of safety) largely due to how safety has been positioned in the workplace.

We’ve never had better safety processes and procedures than what we have today in our workplaces. But workplace disengagement numbers are still disappointing. Only a third of our people feel actively engaged, satisfied and taking an active interest in the work they do. Two-thirds do not. Based on those numbers, which group do you think is at risk of experiencing a workplace incident more? The one-third who feel actively engaged, satisfied and take an active interest in the work they do? Or the two-thirds who don’t feel connected to their work?

If you are trying to connect people to safety before you are connecting them to their work, you are skipping a step. You cannot effectively communicate with someone who is not engaged in the conversation. But you try anyway. You hold safety meetings where, by the very numbers above, two-thirds of the group in the meetings aren’t fully engaged. No one takes notes or writes anything down in meetings or briefings. No one commits anything to paper. Essentially, you rely on their memory. Ever lost your keys or forgot someone’s name? Mm hmm. But you will remember everything from the safety briefing though, right? Forgive my sarcasm.

People who are not engaged in their work are certainly not going to be engaged in safely doing the very work they’re not engaged in, are they? So how can the engagement problem get fixed and build better buy-in to safety? Read on below and watch the video about a unique way of rallying your people around a common cause.

Read More

Safety Is A Marketing Problem

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 2, 2019 11:07:00 AM

Safety is not a process problem. It's a marketing problem.

For fifty years, since the creation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, we have been trying to get our people to embrace safety through mechanical means and clumsy attempts to scare them into safety (gruesome stories, gut-wrenching videos, fear and scolding). We’ve tried punitive rules enforcement, checkbox processes and procedures, and endless streams of paperwork. We create mind-numbing, PowerPoint-laden safety meetings and still get exasperated that we can’t seem to create employee buy-in. Had any of the above been the answer, surely something would have been successful by now. But these are all mechanical means and mechanical means don't create employee buy-in.

Read More