The Journey Towards Zero
Industry has achieved significant improvements in safety performance in recent times. In order to reach the next level in performance in which “nobody gets hurt” the development of an effective and sustainable culture which values safety is required. We therefore need to think differently about leadership, at an individual and team level, and the related behaviours that demonstrate personal accountability and responsibility for safety.
Changing the behaviour of people (i.e. employees and contractors at all levels of the organisation) to embrace a safety culture means being able to instil a “nobody gets hurt” culture in the hearts and minds of every person. At a work site, it is a given that people must value it and then action it, or accidents will occur. Strong leadership is the key to an effective safety culture beginning with the very top, and that not only means top management should endorse a safety culture but fully embrace it through sincerity and genuine actions.
Organisations need to create a culture that reflects a belief that good safety behaviour contributes to productivity, and therefore safety improvement strategies need to be seen as an integral and valued part of all business processes. A significant challenge therefore, that has yet to be overcome is the belief that seems to be prevalent in industry that taking risks (including those around safety) is a natural and required part of doing business.
Prosmiden has taken up these challenges, and based on the additional following assumptions, we have developed our service offering:
- Safety is not simply a statistic that can be recorded, but a value that is an integral part of every business goal, system and work process.
- Safety is a journey and not a destination; it is never ‘achieved’, and hence requires constant and visible leadership attention.
The key element in our work with our clients is empowering people to take a leadership role in safety by assisting them to both understand and believe in their role of being a safety leader. We believe that if you have safe behaviour then, by definition, you will have safe systems and processes because employees will demand these. Therefore, compliance with safe systems and the ongoing improvement of these systems is driven by safe behaviours and attitudes.
Leaders need to integrate three interlinking elements critical to developing and sustaining the safety culture. These revolve around the development of people who are empowered to act safely:
At the team level people first need to know and understand the jobs that they are expected to do. There is an entire set of information about job knowledge that is developed through information and sound communication.
Secondly, people need to know, understand and be able to use the safety tools that are central to the drive to create a safety culture. The tools vary across companies and contractors but the common ones are risk assessment, JSA, STOP, Step Back, Pre-Starts, ASA etc.
Beliefs and Values
Third are peoples’ beliefs and values. People can know their jobs and understand the tools, but the extent to which they are committed to using them is directly related to the beliefs and values that they have. Particularly the extent to which they believe the company they work for is committed to the ‘nobody gets hurt’ culture.
Our Service Offering