We occasionally hear there was a “poor safety culture” in part of the business, and this contributed to a problem. These comments come from; judges, coroners, executives, directors and even workers.
If this is true we need to be able to measure the status of our safety culture prior to adverse events, in order for this knowledge to be of any benefit.
So what should we measure now to know with confidence that we have a healthy safety culture in the business now, and not have to wait for a serious incident to find out we don’t?
Attitude & Commitment
Some executives believe attitude and commitment is the key and I have seen many safety programs driven by little more than “good will and hope”.
However, if you fall off a roof without a safety harness, or breath toxic vapour, or get caught in an unguarded machine your attitude and commitment is of no relevance or assistance. So clearly we need more than enthusiasm.
The first thing that comes to mind is identification of all risks associated with our work, clear simple procedures to control those risks, and workers trained in those procedures.
Understand the Risks & Rules
Every reader probably recall a time when they broke a rule e.g. over-stayed the time limit in a street-side parking space, exceeded the speed limit, drove off before you connected the seat belt, or didn’t wait for a pedestrian crossing walk sign to go green and so on. Clearly, knowledge of the risks and the rules on their own won’t get us there either, so once again we need something else?
Supervision & Monitoring Performance
Every competent business has supervisors, so maybe this will ensure safe operation? Unfortunately, accidents still occur where supervisors are provided, even when they are active.
Next Month we explore solutions and provide some tips on what we should be measuring and driving in order to build a strong, positive safety culture.